18 Months – Pancake Encouragement

pancake encouragementDo you remember THIS POST?

Well, we were eating our traditional meal of pancakes last Saturday morning when suddenly the Happy Buddy burst out saying, “MOMMY!  The Happy Baby is putting his pancake on his fork AND sticking it in his mouth AND he isn’t spitting it out!”

I smiled and nodded at this wonderful bit of news.

Then he turned toward his little brother and said, “Brother, I see God working in your life!”

:-)

I couldn’t agree more!

- Julie

R.I.P.P. – Rest In Peace, Pump

Last Saturday night, I pumped for the very last time.

After 14 months of exclusive pumping for the Happy Baby, it was time to lay that thing to rest.

funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.comfuneral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com2funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com3funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com4funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com5funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com6funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com7funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com10funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com11The Happy Hubby gave a moving eulogy.

Note - We had to bribe the Happy Buddy with a bag of graham crackers in order to get him to participate in this ridiculousness. :-)

*Adorable Boys Tie Shirts from HERE*

funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com8funeral for my pump at happyhomefairy.com9But, let me tell you, that pump didn’t go down without a fight!

I nursed the Happy Buddy until he was 2 years old and I never once touched a pump or a bottle.  When I got pregnant with the Happy Baby I decided to do the same thing because that is what I knew.  Pumping and bottling seemed too complicated for my tiny brain.

I even said, “I will never pump.”

Hahahahaha!

Within a few hours after the Happy Baby’s birth and he was whisked to the NICU in respiratory distress, a nurse rolled a giant Medela pump into my room and told me to get busy.

And boy, did I.

Every 2-3 hours.  20-30 minutes each session.  Pump, wash, sterilize, dry, bottle, label, store, repeat.

Pumping became this precious lifeline between my baby and me.  It made me feel like I was doing something for him even when I couldn’t always be at the hospital.  It gave me mission and purpose to get out of bed when many days I wanted to just pull the covers over my head and give up.

Some of my most memorable and worshipful times with God during our 3 month hospital stay were in the middle of the night, hooked to my pump, Bible open in my lap, tears running down my face while reading through the Psalms.

While my exclusive pumping journey began with pure motives and a sincere hope that one day he’d eventually nurse, somewhere along the way, though, my controlling, perfectionist, fearful nature took over.

Our world puts a huge amount of pressure on us mamas to give our babies breast milk.  Breast is best.  Breast is best.

But is it always best?

I believe with every fiber of my being that God created breast milk to be an incredible source of nutrition for our little bundles, but I do not believe God intended for us to make an idol out of it.

An idol that says, “I can control my child’s health if I give him/her breast milk.”

An idol that makes you fear the alternative – formula.

An idol that has you chained to a Medela 7-8 times a day hindering you from hearing sermons, playing with your other kids, having date nights longer than an hour, your sleep, time with friends, etc.

An idol that makes you feel like less of a mom if you choose not to/can’t nurse.

An idol that makes you think you won’t be able to bond with your baby if you can’t nurse (which is SO not true).

Now I am NOT saying that if you choose to make the commitment to pump exclusively it’s because you’ve made breast milk an idol.

No, no, no.  :-)

And I am also not saying that we should all throw in the towel and give up on breast milk completely.  Good heavens, no!  If you can, nurse, do it!  If you want to pump, do it!  Whichever works!

But what I AM saying is SEEK GOD about your decision.  Put Him first.  Make sure you’re doing it with the right motives and what’s best for your Happy Home.

If I had truly laid my fears before the Lord and surrendered everything at His feet, I probably would have saved myself about 6 months of feeling like a cow prisoner as well as 6 months of stress/sleepless nights trying to force my way instead of listening to God’s.

After all the Happy Baby went through in the hospital – all the unbelievable amounts of antibiotics and heavy drugs – I took it upon myself to be the sole provider of his health once we got him home.  I convinced myself that it was my purpose in life to cleanse his little system.  And by cleanse his little system, I meant to fill it up with the purest of medications – breast milk.

Y’all are so sweet and probably thinking, “There is nothing wrong with that, Julie!”

Yes, I know…  But if you knew how I almost had anxiety attacks every time my milk supply dropped, or my pump malfunctioned, or even just thought about having to give the Happy Baby formula…  There is definitely something wrong with that.

God’s plan for us never involves fear.

Studies show that breast milk has a ton of antibodies that protect babies from illness, so I went about striving and striving to protect my weakened-immune-system boy’s health.  What is interesting, though, is that my precious boy still got sick about every 4 weeks.  It was almost as if the Lord was saying, “I am Lord over the Happy Baby.  Not your breast milk.  Trust me.”

I also had it in my head that formula was a very scary thing.  Which is so ridiculous because I know SO MANY babies on formula who are perfect and thriving and FINE.  I was on formula, for pete’s sake!  My counselor even told me that their firstborn, who was the only one out of 5 kids to receive formula, is their smartest kid. :-)  It’s even more ironic because if you read THIS POST, you know that the Happy Baby was getting lots and lots of supplemented formula when we were in the hospital – when things were so completely out of my control.  But, like I said, as soon as he came home, I made it my mission to be in control.  And formula did not fit into my idea of what was best for the Happy Baby.

Then there’s just plain ole’ pride and perfectionism.  Everyone says to nurse for at least a year.  So I had to pump for a year – at least.

And if you are wondering why I would still be thinking of formula now when the Happy Baby is a year old, it is because he has not yet transitioned fully to solids.  His reflux, sensitive gag, and feeding issues (puts everything in his mouth, chews, chews, chews, then spits out) make him dependent on liquids for nutrition until he gets a little stronger.

Yes, I gave the Happy Baby a beautiful thing for 14 months that I don’t doubt God used to help the Happy Baby grow.

But at what cost?  It pains me to think of all the opportunities I missed because I had to pump.

And it pains me to think that I might make some of you feel pressured to pump for as long as stubborn me!

Ultimately, after the last year of pumping and washing and sterilizing and storing and sacrificing, I can say with confidence that what it really boils down to is this - It doesn’t matter what your baby eats (breast milk or formula) because God is in control of your baby’s life/health.

God doesn’t want you walking around all anxious and stressed.  God wants you to live in freedom.

I finally, FINALLY faced my fears last weekend.  I finally believed that no matter what, God would be with me (and the Happy Baby).  I went out and bought some formula.  I gave it to the Happy Baby.  And then I put my pump away.

And you know what?  My skinny little, often-malnourished-looking Happy Baby gained like 2 pounds almost instantly and was suddenly all like, “Take THAT, Hypotonia!” and started standing up (with support, but without his legs buckling underneath him).  I am not even kidding.  It’s like the Lord wanted to prove to me just how wrong I have been!!!

No, He wouldn’t do that – He is far too loving and gracious and so, so patient.  But what He would do is bring a whole lot of glory to Himself out of my finally learning to fully trust in His goodness and ability to care for my son – breast milk or no breast milk.

So, be free, sweet mama who knows exactly what I am talking about!  If you are pumping like a mad woman and you are tired and afraid of letting go…  Seriously.  Let it go.  Put your pump away (or bury it in the ground – ha!).  Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy watching So You Think You Can Dance with your Happy Hubby without the obnoxious woh-woh-woh of your pump drowning everything out but Mary’s Hot Tamale Train screams. :-)

Dear Pump, may you rest in peace.

I know I am!

:-)

“Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in His commands.  Their children will be mighty in the land…”

Psalm 112:1-2

*If you’ve read this post and you still want to/feel called to pump, check out THIS POST for all my extreme pumping tips and tricks!*

Therapy

therapy

To Whom It May Concern:

We were told that our son, the Happy Baby, would never lift his head, sit up, crawl, or walk.

At the beginning of this year, several people encouraged us to get connected with your program so that the Happy Baby could receive free therapy services.  It sounded too good to be true!  FREE?!?

Then our wonderful coordinator, Simone, gave us a call to tell us that she had placed the Happy Baby under the care of Miss Stacey.

The first day Miss Stacey arrived at our house (which was another incredible blessing in itself!  After months of driving 40 minutes to the hospital for all of the Happy Baby’s health issues, I could not believe that she was coming to US!), the Happy Baby and I were just beyond thrilled.  Miss Stacey was so warm and encouraging.  She immediately made a connection with the Happy Baby and announced that she was going to do everything she could to see him twice a week instead of the one day we had originally agreed upon.

Most of the Happy Baby’s life we’ve had doctors tell us his limitations.  That first day we met Miss Stacey, she looked me in the eye and said confidently, “This little guy has great potential.”

I have clung to these words ever since!

Our twice-a-week sessions are the highlight of the week!  We can’t wait to see what color scrubs she is wearing that day or what new things she has brought for him to play with.  Most of all, I love how knowledgeable Stacey is about her field.  She will be working with the Happy Baby and she will say, “Julie, he is so close to sitting up. I’ll bet he’ll be sitting on his own by next week.”

Sure enough, her prediction came true – pretty much to the day!  She went on to predict his pulling up on things and even crawling.  She diligently works with the Happy Baby and gives him the tools he needs to be successful.  Her professionalism and expertise have brought great comfort to my soul as I have watched her help our son overcome so many of the things other doctors claimed would be impossible.  And I have learned so many valuable tips and techniques along the way to partner in her work with the Happy Baby on the other 5 days of the week.

Perhaps, though, one of the most amazing things about Stacey is that she is a mom herself.  As a young, hard-working single woman, she felt called to adopt a little girl from Guatemala.  Being married with 2 kids and feeling overwhelmed most of the time, I cannot express enough how much I admire this woman for making such a beautiful, selfless, sacrificial decision to give a precious little girl such a fun, incredible, love-filled life.  I so enjoy hearing stories about her daughter, their love for the beach, and their generosity and service to others.  Stacey’s strength and confidence have helped me to grow in my own strength and confidence as a mom of a child with special needs.

I seriously could not have imagined a more amazing therapist for our son.  Thank you so much for bringing Miss Stacey to our door.

Sincerely,

The Happy Baby’s mom :-)

A Baptism

Our little boy has had quite the last couple of weeks!

He turned 1, we celebrated with family and friends at a party, and then today, the Happy Baby was baptized.

Most people who observe infant baptism make sure that they do it when their baby is…well, a baby.

The Happy Baby’s life has been such a journey… and to be honest, I didn’t want to have him baptized until we all felt more of a peace about his well being.

I had a vision that his baptism – his welcoming into the covenant family and body of Christ – would be feeding tube and illness free.

I also had a vision that the pastor would hold the Happy Baby up like Simba in The Lion King and they would play The Circle of Life through the sound system and it would be the most glorious moment ever. :-)

The latter did not happen (as some thought it might be a bit irreverent :-)), but the first vision did.

And there was not a dry eye in the place.

baptism1The Happy Hubby spoke for a few minutes – giving a brief overview of the Happy Baby’s life.baptism2

While he was sharing, the Happy Baby started to get squirmy and decided that he no longer needed his socks.

Everyone started laughing and the Happy Hubby got distracted and forgot all the carefully planned out things he was going to say.

baptism3

Then the second sock came off {more laughter} and he decided to give up and just pass the mic to me.baptism4baptism5

One of the beautiful aspects of infant baptism is that the Church promises to assist us in the job of raising our children in the faith, so I had a quick minute to offer our gratitude to the Church for the ways in which they have already done that – carrying us through one of our most trying seasons as a Happy Home.

But then the Happy Buddy started to pull my skirt up and I flubbed the rest of my little speech in an effort to keep everyone from seeing my undergarments.baptism6

Our pastors took over at that point and I began praying that the Happy Baby wouldn’t get upset when we handed him over for the baptizing.

Ever since he turned one, my content, easy-going Happy Baby has suddenly decided that no one but the Happy Hubby, my mom, or myself are allowed to hold him.baptism7baptism8baptism9baptism10baptism11Ah, well. :-)

baptism12

Today’s ceremony once again reminded me of the incredible calling that the Happy Hubby and I have as Christian parents.

May we raise our Happy Buddies so that they never know a day where they have not experienced Christ’s love.

baptism13Now, you might be thinking, we have done a lot of celebrating the Happy Baby lately – how is the Happy Buddy handling all that attention going to his baby bro?

Well, a precious little someone didn’t want to leave the stage after it was all over.

baptism14I think he was hoping to do a drum solo.

Maybe next Sunday. :-)

Happy Baptize-ing!

Slow and Steady – A Turtle Birthday Party

The last couple of birthday parties I planned were for the Happy Buddy and by ‘planned’ I mean I pinned a bunch of amazing ideas and then emailed them to my mom who made it all happen.  My mom is awesome and can do anything.

 You  can see the Happy Buddy’s incredible Monkey Party HERE and Train Party HERE.

For the Happy Baby, I didn’t want to have a big fussy party (plus, we couldn’t afford it), so just a few simple things came together for a really sweet turtle-themed ‘shell’-abration.

bday party cakeI made a turtle cake.

The phrase ‘valiant effort’ kept running through my noggin’ as I looked at my handiwork and then at the beautiful turtle cakes I had pinned HERE. :-)

bday party cupcakeI did ask my mom to make the cupcakes.

She got the recipe from HERE and totally nailed it!!

The rest of the party food was all stuff I pulled out of my pantry at the last second.  Chips and salsa, nuts, pretzels, and random boxes of raisins (turtle turds, I guess??? :-)).

bday favorI picked up these cute tin boxes from the Target Dollar Spot for party favors and filled them with leftover Easter grass and super simple turtle candies (recipe HERE).

All of the cousins worked on a fun paper plate turtle craft (idea from HERE), but I totally forgot to get photos of it.

bday songThe Happy Baby loved having everyone sing to him.

bday party candleBlowing out the candle was great fun.  You can’t see him, but big brother was standing right next to the Happy Hubby and I am pretty sure that 98% of the cake is covered in his saliva.

We got a few good photos of the Happy Baby going for the cake.bday party cake inspection

I like this one – as if he is contemplating whether or not he should go for it.

To smash?  Or not to smash?

Or praying to the Lord that it won’t make him throw up!  No birthday barfs in Jesus’ name! :-)bday cakebday party cake funbday party cake dropbday party cake face3He liked it for the first 3 seconds, then changed his mind.

bday smoochI got a big birthday smooch before we threw him in the bath.

You might be wondering why we did turtles… Whenever anyone asks me about how the Happy Baby is doing, I always respond with, “Slow and steady!”  This sweet little 1-year-old is in no rush.  He does things at his own pace.  He reminds me to slow down – to rest in the little, daily blessings and victories God gives.

And that, my friends, is the recipe for winning the race!

Happy Birthday Party for the Happy Baby-ing! :-)

Happy Birthday, Happy Baby.

Dear Happy Baby,

The day you were born and they whisked you away in respiratory distress, the Lord whispered to my spirit that you would be just fine.

happy babyYes, as much as the doctors gave us gloomy reports and endless tests and ups and downs – in spite of these things, you prospered.

But why has this first year been such a roller coaster?

The obvious is that God has a plan for your life that is going to blow everyone’s minds – already is.

Happy Baby - 1 monthBut I also think that the Lord graciously used your hospital stay, your feeding tube, your weakened immune system, your hypotonia… to teach this mama how to trust.

From Day 1 of my journey as a mommy I have allowed strongholds of fear to rule and reign in my heart, hindering me from truly enjoying the gift of my babies.

2 monthsYour life has caused me to confront these fears.

Your life has shown me that I cannot control what happens to my babies.

But I can control how I choose to trust Him in the daily grind (and even in the toughest, most difficult and darkest of places) - trust that by His sovereign grace, things are going to be just fine.

happy baby3

When you were in my tummy, I prayed 4 things for you.

4 MonthsI prayed that you would be Happy.  I prayed that you would be Hospitable.  I prayed that you would have a sense of Humor.  And I prayed that you would be Healthy.

As we celebrate this day, I have been reflecting on God’s answers to all of these H’s.

5 monthsI love hearing you coo and babble in your crib when you wake up.  I love how you kick your legs like a mad man when someone raises you high in the air.  I love how you give your big brother giant smiles in the car when we get him from preschool.  I love how at 3 in the morning you lean back, look at me, grin, and then burrow that sweet precious face of yours into my shoulder.  I love how I can take you anywhere and you will be so chill.  I’ll never forget that time I drove panicked to the GI doctor early one  morning because I thought your feeding tube site had become infected and we ended up waiting at the office for over 5 hours.  The whole time you never stopped smiling and it helped me remember that even with the craziness that is our life, it’s all good.

Yes, God has made you Happy, indeed.

6 months collageWhen you were in the hospital, I could tell from the very first day, that the nurses knew you were something special.  As time passed, your hospital room became a hang out place.  Nurses who had served you previously would stop by to check in on you.  One nurse even dragged you and your swing into the hall so that everyone walking by could have a brightening.  To this day I get comments on this blog from one of the nurses that was in your delivery room!  Your physical therapist added a whole extra day of therapy for you each week just because she wants to see you more.  Church friends and family can’t wait to spend time with you – have a chance to hold you.  You make people feel warm and invited.

Yes, God has given you a Hospitable spirit.

7 monthsAfter bath time and you’re on the changing table, you like to cover your face with a towel while I frantically repeat, “Where’s the Happy Baby?”  Then you throw the towel off and giggle like a maniac while I say, “There he is!” (Repeat 100 times.)  You get this big goofy grin when you pee in the tub.  You sometimes just laugh to yourself for no reason at all.  You think it’s hilarious to stiffen your legs when I am trying to change you out of feet-y pajamas and can’t because you won’t bend your knees.  I’ll put food on your tray, turn around to do something, and when I’ve turned back the food is gone and I joyfully think you’ve eaten it all, but then later find that you’ve stored it all next to your thighs – sneaky lil’ rascal.  While out on walks you enjoy tossing toys out of the stroller because you get a kick out of me picking them up.  You like to roll under the crib and hide.  I don’t even know why I bother putting socks on you.

Yes, I see that little sense of Humor coming through.

9 monthsSome might think that this last prayer – the prayer for your Health – was not answered.  I mean, you were quite sick when you were born and today you have some serious weak constitution and we’re tracking a serious cold/bronchitis/ear infection thing about every other month.

But let’s just take a look at the facts.

We were told this day of your first birthday would never come.

We were told that our time with you would be short – that we should just take you home and make you comfortable.

We were told you would never crawl or roll over, or sit up, or lift your head.

And here we are, 12 months later, and boy, are you showing them!!!! :-)

10 monthsI am choosing to look at your health as all the things God has spared you from instead of what you’ve lacked.

You do not have a genetic disease.  Your hypotonia is improving.  Your feeding tube didn’t last as long as they expected.  Your barfs are fewer and farther between.  And this last month when you caught another bad cold, you didn’t end up with an ear infection!

Yes, that sounds like Health to me.

11 monthsI am still praying these 4 H’s for you, Happy Baby.

And I’ve even added a fifth H to the list.

12 monthsHandsome.

Thank you, precious boy, for being my constant reminder that God is faithful and that no matter what, because of His great faithfulness, we are all just fine.

Happy Birthday, Happy Baby.

I love you so much.

- Mommy

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

11 Months – Why I Don’t Want to Be a Pillar of Salt

11 monthsThe Happy Buddy is really into fire right now.

Firehouses, firetrucks, firemen, fire…

So you can imagine how he feels about the story of Sodom and Gomorra.

Kind of a gruesome tale, but he asks me to read it to him almost every night when we break out the Bible.

The more we read that story, the more I have felt that gentle nudging of the Spirit – calling me, once again, away from myself and closer to Him.

You see, this month my milk supply has started to dry up.

I have watched in great panic as my pumping sessions have started to get longer and longer.

I have been struggling to keep up with the Happy Baby’s growing appetite.

And I have been spending ENTIRE DAYS freaking out and fretting about the next thing.

So many questions and so many voices in my head.

Do I try to start him on formula to supplement?  If so, where do I even begin on what kind of formula?  What if he hates it?  Will he ever eat solid food or just keep vomiting at the mere touch of a spoon to his lips?  Do I introduce him to cow’s milk?  What if he has a dairy allergy?  Should I go buy a goat and learn how to milk it so that he can drink that since so many people have been telling me lately how amazing goat’s milk is for you?  And what about sippy cups?  I haven’t even tried to introduce those yet…

And then the Happy Hubby reminded me that the church is taking the staff and their spouses on a 5-day retreat at the beginning of May and he reeeeally wants me to come.

My heart wants to honor my hubby first (and God knows some time away would be a blessing for both of us!), but how in the world am I going to wean the Happy Baby so quickly???

11 months1Just typing all these things makes me want to take a nap!

All these thoughts are such evidence that I still wrestle with the stronghold of fear.

When will I ever learn the powerful truth that God loves the Happy Baby more than I do??  That He will protect and preserve him no matter what I do??

And more important, that He wants me to be free of these incessant worries??

And this is where Sodom and Gomorra come in.

God sent some angels to tell Lot that the cities were going to be destroyed because of all the evil that existed there.  Then He also, in His great mercy, said that He would spare Lot and his family – that they should flee to the mountains and not look back.

The first problem here is in Lot’s response.

Instead of believing in faith that God had the very best planned for him in the mountains, Lot argued and asked if he could flee to the nearby town of Zoar instead.

Don’t we do that, friends?  We think we know what’s best for our lives so we compromise and settle for something less than the mountains.

11 months3I think that pumping (the thing that takes SO MUCH of my time, the thing that keeps me from having enough energy to make consistent meals for my family and spend good quality time with my kids, the thing that interrupts date nights and never lets me sleep longer than a few hours at a time, the thing that makes me feel responsible if the Happy Baby has bad gas or digestive issues, the thing that has limited my diet to so few things I feel I am missing some serious nutrition…) is the best thing for the Happy Baby – so even though it is literally driving me into the grave – I am stubbornly pressing on because I am afraid that anything else will compromise my boy’s health.

I have sensed the Lord calling me to the mountains – a land that is free of the wah-wah-wah sound – for awhile now, but I am scared.

Scared about actually committing to giving the Happy Baby solids because I know we’re going to have to endure some barfing and gagging for a season until he gets the hang of it.

Scared that formula or cow’s milk just won’t be good enough – won’t be good enough to keep healing and bringing strength to the Happy Baby’s hypotonia.

(The pride and glory-from-God-stealing evident in that sentence is a whole ‘nother post in itself!)

So I keep begging God to let me settle in a nearby town – get what I want by continuing to pump.

And you know what?  Just as He did for Lot, God has graciously allowed me to have my way for almost an entire year.

But the mountains… They are calling me.

Now if only I would lay down my fears and obey!

11 months5The second problem in the story of Sodom and Gomorra was when Lot and his family were fleeing the cities.

The angels gave strict orders that no one look back.

But as they ran from the burning scene, Lot’s wife looked back.

I think a part of her was sad to leave the life she knew – a life that was comfortable.

She looked back because she was afraid to look ahead.  She was afraid that what was ahead would not be as good as what was behind her.

And for this seemingly small act of unbelief, Lot’s wife was changed to a pillar of salt.

I feel like that sometimes.  When I know God is calling me to step out in faith with something and all I can do is cling to and long for the comforts of what I know.

While I definitely do not love pumping, there is a certain strange comfort to it.  When you do something long enough it almost becomes a part of you.  And so I am nervous to let go and nervous to introduce new things to the Happy Baby’s somewhat fragile digestive system.

Change is not my favorite, as you can probably tell!

11 months2Plus, climbing up mountains is hard work!  Working with the Happy Baby to get familiar with solids is going to be hard work (this photo reveals pretty clearly how he feels about food).

It’s time, though.

And God promises to give His strength for the climb.

So, friends.  I have no idea what to do or what the next step is, but I know that God’s desire for me is to live in the mountains instead of settling for Zoar.

God’s desire for me is not to be a faithless, fretting, pumping-like-a-mad-woman pile of salt.

But a trusting, non-compromising, fully surrendered mama that can scale the heights with the help of the One who has so faithfully carried us through this last almost-year.

How ’bout you?

Is God calling you to the mountains?

It’s time to gear up, friends.

Let’s climb together!

11 months4“God gives me strength for the battle.
    He makes my way perfect.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.
    He helps me stand on the highest places.”

Psalm 18:32-33

- Julie :-)

10 Months – What I Learned From Dropping My Baby

10 monthsIf you read the title of this post you are either thinking 1 of 2 things.

1.  WHAT?!??!?!?!?!?!?!

2.  I can’t wait to read this because I dropped my baby too.

About 3 weeks ago, I was changing the Happy Baby’s diaper on his changing table.

I saw that we had run out of diapers in the little bin I keep them in, so I turned away for a second to grab a new box.

And that’s when I heard it.

The thud.

Oh my goodness I would not wish the feelings I felt in that moment on anyone.

I scooped up my precious fallen baby and the two of us cried enough tears to fill an Ikea store.

As I clung to the Happy Baby, frantically trying to make sure he could still track my fingers and respond to my voice, I felt a heaviness take residence on my chest.

How in the world could I let something like this happen??

After all he’s been through – did I really just add a major fall to the list??????

The guilt was palpable.

The Happy Hubby and I worked together to make sure our son was okay.  After everyone had cried enough, there was nothing left to do but sleep, so we laid the Happy Baby down in his crib.

As soon as the door to his room was shut, I disappeared into our bedroom, found a corner, got in the fetal position and wept.

Then I sent out a text asking for prayer from a few close friends.

I called the Happy Baby’s chiropractor (a member of our church) and tearfully asked if he would be at church in the morning and would he be willing to fix any problems.  He was so kind to me and said yes, he’d be there.

Finally, I called my pastor’s wife.

By the end of our conversation I learned 3 things.

10 months 31.  When God says fearfully and wonderfully made, He was not kidding around.

My pastor’s wife told me was that God made babies to have softer bones than adults – that they are designed as these incredibly resilient, elastic little beings.

It’s like He knew beforehand (well, obviously, since He is God) that the busyness of being a mom would occasionally allow for accidents, so he went ahead and graciously provided protection for those precious babies in advance.

I think dropping the Happy Baby was harder on me than it was on him!

2.  God is faithful.

Once again, the Lord showed me that in spite of my many, MANY parenting mistakes/failures/accidents/weaknesses, He is faithful to protect and care for my baby.

Once again, He loves my baby even more than me.

Nothing – no, nothing will hinder His good and perfect plan for my child.

Not even a 2 1/2 foot fall.

It’s stuff like this that further affirms in my spirit that God has big plans for this little boy.

After all he’s been through…yes, this is just one more way God gets the glory for what He is doing in the Happy Baby’s life.

10 months 23.  There is a secret club of moms who have dropped their babies.

This may sound like I am making light of a very serious thing (like please don’t go carelessly smashing your kids into door frames or leaving them unattended on high places), but let me just tell you.  As I spoke to my pastor’s wife and she told me about how her 4 month old had fallen from the kitchen counter in his car seat down to the tiled floor below and how he is totally fine now (although she joked ‘debatable’), I felt better.

Then 5 out of the 5 girls I texted asking for prayer wrote back with their own story.

My baby fell off a 10-foot-high bed, my baby fell off the ottoman, I literally dropped my baby to the floor – straight on her head, my baby nose dived out of the car onto the cement pavement…

And all of them – the babies were fine.

I suddenly did not feel so alone.

Some of the guilt I was carrying began to dissipate.

I wasn’t scum of the earth.

In fact, maybe dropping my baby was some kind of right-of-passage into true motherhood.

Now, this is not something mommies discuss openly.

Had I not asked my friends, I never would have known.

In fact, I am taking a huge risk sharing my own failing so blatantly here on the blog.

But I do it in hopes that maybe, just maybe you might find a little bit of hope if you dropped your baby too.

:-)

What do you think of his spiked hair?

And check out who is sitting up by himself now!

Plus, he has 2 teeth and is gnawing on absolutely everything in sight – including shoes, chair legs, and diapers (among some of his faves).

He even waves and says, “Buh-bye!” when someone leaves a room.

Still haven’t started solids yet, though… He just instantly barfs at the mere presence of non-milk substance in his mouth (which is strange because he can shove an entire shoe in there and keep it down just fine)… But I am confident that we will get there one day (and I do pray that one day is soon because I don’t know how much longer these tatas can stand being tugged by a machine). :-)

Thank you to everyone who prays for the Happy Baby and our family.  When my heart gets tired or I am tempted to be discouraged, I think of all of you and thank God for the sweet community I have here at Happy Home Fairy.

Much love!

-Julie

“The Lord upholds all those who fall…” Psalm 145:14

9 Months and My New Year’s Resolutions

9 months

Dear Happy Baby,

2012 was a crazy one for you!

For starters, you were born on April 3. :-)

Then you spent almost 100 days in the hospital being treated for everything from a fatal genetic disease, to a disabling infectious disease, to a muscle weakness called hypotonia, to a kidney condition called VUR, to a feeding disorder, and surgery for a muscle biopsy and g-tube.

Those 3 months were some of the toughest your mama has ever faced!

It pained me to see you in your hospital crib, being cared for by everyone in the world it seemed, but me.  I had some serious competition with all those nurses!

When we finally got you home in July, things started to change.

I got to really be your mommy – change every diaper, give you a bath every night, and even pick out your outfits each day.

I got to wake with you through the night and be the first one there when you let out a whimper.

I got to give you unlimited snuggles and hugs and kisses without any wires or leads in the way.

You started to eat better and by the time Thanksgiving week arrived, we were able to have a surgery to get your feeding tube removed.

And since then, you have really started to grow.

In fact, I think you had a growth spurt right at the start of the new year!  I am finally noticing some ham hocks on those yummy thighs of yours!

But, even with all the progress you have made, I still battle this awful thing called fear.

Every cold you get, every time you throw up, every funny twitch or out-of-the-ordinary thing you do fills me with a nervousness that your health is still in jeopardy and that maybe, just maybe I had something to do with it when you were growing in my tummy.

But fear is not from God.  And, to be honest, I feel that this fear robs me of truly experiencing the joy He wants me to experience through your precious life.

9 months4So…

My New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 are for you, my boy.

This year I resolve to lay down my anxieties.

“Do not be anxious about anything…” Philippians 4:6

This year I resolve to stop ‘Googling’ things about mitochondrial damage.

“Do not fret.  It leads only to evil.” Psalm 37:8b

This year I resolve to run to Jesus whenever I feel afraid about your health or decisions I have to make regarding it.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

This year I resolve to remember that you are going to do things in your own timing and stop worrying why they haven’t happened yet.  You will eventually sit up.  Your teeth will eventually come in.  You will eat solid food.  You will run around with your big brother one day.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

This year I resolve to stop comparing you to fat babies. :-)

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

This year I resolve to remember that God is my strength and my peace each new morning (even the mornings where you wake up with signs of a cold).

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever.  The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Psalm 29:10-11.

This year I resolve to stop snacking on so much granola before bed.

Okay, that one is not about you.  But I do really need to get some self-control over that.

9 months2This year I resolve to remember His truths about who you are and who He created you to be.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well…” Psalm 139:13-14

This year I resolve not to carry guilt or shame as if I had something to do with your health…  God makes no mistakes.

“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered in shame.” Psalm 34:4-5

This year I resolve to live in the moment with you – treasuring each minute of your baby-ness!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” Matthew 6:34

This year I resolve to memorize God’s Word more so that when my flesh is tempted to break all of these resolutions I will have some serious war tactics.

“The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” Psalm 37:31

But ultimately, this year I resolve to be surrendered to God’s will.  To hold you with open hands before the throne – always, always remembering that His ways are best.

“All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful…” Psalm 25:10

Happy 9 months, Happy Baby, and Happy New Year.

:-)9 months3

Raise Your Banners!

Today.

Today we woke up early and drove the Happy Baby to the hospital.

Today the anesthesiologist let me hold the Happy Baby’s hand as he put him to sleep.

Today our doctor removed the Happy Baby’s feeding tube.

Today the Happy Baby woke up after surgery, chugged his milk, and I wondered if he could tell that he didn’t have a plastic disc in his tummy anymore.

Today the Happy Hubby and I let out a whoop and high-fived each other in the car as we drove our tube-free child home.

Today was a victory.

I have been digging deep into the Psalms throughout this whole season with the Happy Baby.

I came across a verse that gave me hope in the darkest moments…

“We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.” Psalm 20:5

I have loved this verse because the people in this psalm, before their king went to battle, felt sure of their victory.  So sure that they began to rejoice beforehand.

It was not if you are victorious, but when.

The Lord impressed on my heart that this is the life for the believer.

The victory is ours through the powerful work of Christ’s death on the cross and His glorious resurrection, ensuring our salvation forever and ever.

We can rejoice over the defeated enemy – raising our banners triumphantly – no matter what.

When the Happy Baby was in the hospital for so long and when he got his little feeding tube, I did not have to be depressed or despairing over the battles we were fighting, because in my heart, I knew that the battle had already been won.

Did I walk in that truth every day?  Oh, friends, I wish I could say a mighty YES!  But my flesh is weak, and there were so sooo many days where I shook my fist at God or cried myself to sleep under the burden of our baby’s health issues.

However, when the morning came, I could always press on.  He always gave me the strength to keep on keeping on, under the umbrella of His marvelous hope.

Hope that, come what may, the Lord would be strong and mighty, mighty in battle (Psalm 24:8).

And then last week I rushed the Happy Baby to the GI doc because I thought the site of his feeding tube had become infected, and instead of leaving with a prescription for yet another round of antibiotics, I left with a date.

A date that would set in stone the victory we knew would come, but were unsure of when.

I raised my victory banner as I pushed the stroller to the parking lot that day, but I also raised my victory banner in the doctor’s office as I waited.

I repeated this verse over the Happy Baby again and again until I felt confident that even if the Happy Baby had an infection (or a genetic disease, or severe bronchitis, or hypotonia…), I could still embrace the victory.

The victory that we have in Christ.

This is a victory to be thankful for.

And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a round-up of banners you can raise in your own Happy Homes this week (quite literally, as they are all FREE Printables). :-)

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Thankful Banner from Shanty 2 Chic.

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Blessed Banner from Sugar Tot Designs.

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Gratitude Banner (you can write what you are thankful for on each little pennant) from Today’s Mama.

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Because victory is sweet, a Mini Happy Thanksgiving Banner for your feast’s dessert from Kara’s Party Ideas.

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Gather Together and Give Thanks Banner from eighteen25 (because we raise our banners together – as The Church).

Now, as a child of the King who has already won the battle, what victory do you celebrate this Thanksgiving?

Happy Raise Your Banner-ing! :-)

“Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power.  Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.” Exodus 15:6

*Check Facebook for photos of our Happy Baby Tube-Removal Victory today!*