Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Josie

Dear Josie,

It has been 20 days since you were born and I have to tell you that it has been the longest twenty days of our lives.  There are really no words to describe the emotions that we have been through as a family.  Nor are there words to explain to you what you have done to our hearts.  You, my sweet girl, consume us.  So much so that I fear it is unfair to your sweet sisters that only want you to come home. 

In twenty days you have shown us how much we can take.  How much we can love.  How much we can trust.   How tired we can be, yet still moving.  How many things we can do without actually thinking about doing them.  How blessed we are by the people that love us and the people that love them.  How incredible our God truly is. In twenty days you have changed our lives and as we love you more and more each day, it is hard to believe that we have ever been without you. 

Josie, you are amazing. You are the strongest person I have ever met and a perfect picture of a miracle.  We are blown away by your strength, your courage and the way the Lord is using you to change lives.  Mama and daddy love you more than words can say.  We are literally begging Jesus to keep you healthy so that you can come home and be with us.  We are praying with every breath that we will have the opportunity to raise you with these two precious people that already fill our home.  The three of you are our whole lives, our everything.

Jesus loves you Josie Hope, He has great plans for you. He will protect you and heal you and carry you until you are ready to come home.  Mama knows in her heart that He is there holding you everyday.  So you rest my sweet Josie.  Rest in Him and He will do the work. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Perfect Plan

I was talking to a friend today, one of my closest friends that lives 2200 miles away.  She was calling to check on us.  We talked only briefly but long enough for she and I both to realize that there are really no words to explain what has happened to our world and that words like okay and fine don't work anymore.  Our lives, our home, our hearts have experienced a great shift.  It's like an earthquake came right through the middle of 116 Golden Meadow Lane and we are all standing on the same side looking into the giant hole and wondering if we will ever get across again.  The stuff on the other side that we can see but cannot touch are things like restful sleep, fearless moments, peace, certainty, "normal life".  All of those things and many more that we haven't even realized we miss yet are on the other side of that giant hole and we know, we know that it will be months before the hole is small enough for us to jump over and even then it will still be there.  

Today I woke up and realized the date and what hit me so hard about November 25th is that I missed November 22nd.  November 22nd isn't a big date for me in my world, but it is a HUGE date for someone that I love very much and I missed it.  I realized it and I cried.  Not because she will be mad or upset with me but because I realized that this is what my life will be like for a long time. A life where we are just trying to get to the next day unaware of what day it really is or what it may mean to someone outside of our little world and it made me feel selfish.  I hate feeling selfish.  I hate being the person that needs everyone to make her life easier.  I hate being the one that has to say no to the people I love, not because I want too but because I have too for my own sanity.  I hate missing holidays and knowing that Christmas is coming up and it is not going to be the way everyone else wants it to be.  Instead it will be the way we need it to be because that is the only choice we have right now.  And I hate having no choice. 

But this is our world and it is the world that He put us in.  And even though I hate the way some of it makes me feel, I love that He trusted us with such a huge, life changing experience.  I love that He let me be the mom of the tiny girl in the NICU at Centennial Medical.  I love that He made me the wife of the man that makes her healthier every time he holds her.  I love that He brought us Uncle Brett to help and is changing his life as He changes ours.  I love that my girls, one day, will understand what we went through and will be able to say without a doubt that their God is a God of miracles and we have living proof.  I love that our family, our friends, our neighbors, our patients, our community, our world is being touched everyday by our sweet Josie Hope, showing them all what the Lord is made of.  And I love that I know without a doubt in my heart that He is in control and whatever He decides is part of a perfect plan. 

So today I will drive up to see my sweet girl, I will hold her, I will feed her, I will talk to her, and I will pray over her. She will not go a day without knowing how much we love her or how amazing she is.  And as I leave her, and I hate to leave her, I will remember the things that I love. I will thank Him for her again and I will praise Him for making me part of a miracle that is beyond any I could have ever imagined.  Thank you for loving us, for reading, and for praying.  You are all part of our journey and our miracle. 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Josephine

November 16, 2012

Dear Josephine Hope,

Typically I would have a journal for you, just like your sister's. It would be separate from my blog that the world can read.  But my sweet, tiny one, nothing about you is typical.  So I have decided to write and share with those that are praying for you. Oh my sweet girl, there are SO many people praying for you. 

Yesterday you turned 25 weeks.  And to say that is a miracle would be a gross understatement.  Your sweet little body and spirit are stronger than anyone I have ever met.  Your fight for life and every breath you take inspires people more than you will ever know.  Your week has been nothing short of a miracle.  Everyday, every minute, every second you have been touched and healed by Jesus in ways that we did not even imagine possible.  You have had test after test after test and the results have blown us away.  You crossed some big hurdles this week.  A blood transfusion, holding your weight, a brain scan.  It was scary, stressful, emotional for those of us that love you.  But you were strong, you fought, and you did so well my precious girl.  Mama is so proud. 

Josie you are changing lives and hearts everyday.  You are a gift that none of us deserve, a true example of God's grace and love.  By far the greatest blessing most of us have ever received.  I have no doubt that the Lord has great plans for you.  That he has gifted you to lead people to Him in a way that we cannot even comprehend. 

Your sisters are ready for you to come home.  We have explained to them that it will be a while, but truthfully you are already here consuming our thoughts and prayers.  Mama and Daddy and Uncle Brett and Janet and Big and Nana and Aunt Sissy and Uncle Robby and Uncle Michael and Cristin and Sam and Aunt Kasey and Grandma Jo and so many others are all going through the motions of our days but consumed by thoughts and prayers for you. Each of us begging, pleading with Jesus to keep you strong and healthy.  Knowing that He is in control, knowing that He will decide and praising Him as we realize the week that we have spent with you will go down as one of the greatest of our lives. 

Fight Josie.  I'll fight, you fight.  That's our deal.  You are so much stronger than I am, oh what our world will be like when you get bigger.  It is hard to imagine but at the same time it makes me giggle knowing what kind of spunk you will have.  Your poor daddy doesn't stand a chance! I am busy healing, making food for you, and reassuring your sisters that everything is going to be okay.  Daddy is working so hard at the practice but every thought he has is of you and every breath he takes is a prayer for you.  Uncle Brett came to take care of us until you are home. There are no words for the blessing he is to our family.  Jesus has changed us all through you my sweet tiny one.

Mama will be there this afternoon and everyday until I get to put you in a car seat and bring you home.  There are people praying for you that we do not even know, we are blown away everyday by the kindness and thoughts and prayers of them all.  So fight Josie.  Show them what Jesus does when we ask. 

We love you Josie Hope.  You are our greatest blessing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Story of Josie

March 4, 2010 the Lord changed our lives with a little boy that never took a breath. At that time and the time since Bennett's birth and death, it has been made clear time and time again that the Lord used Him for the glory of His Kingdom. We have never questioned God, though we have been angry with Him. He never once let us wonder if Bennett's short lived life in the womb was only for loss and sadness. He always made it clear to us that Bennett had a purpose as his story touched the lives of the ones close to us and around us. We watched as hearts were changed, as salvation and the fear and love of God were brought forth to people who may otherwise still be lost. And we rejoiced as our boy brought glory to God as He rocked him to sleep each night. I have talked a lot about Bennett. I have spoken of how God changed our hearts, our faith, our marriage with that sweet tiny person. Never did I once realize that He was preparing us for something else, something greater, something harder, something more miraculous than we ever imagined. His sister.

March 4, 2010 changed my life. It was scary, and sad and traumatic and truthfully there are really no words to describe what it did to my heart. I was certain that the giant hole that was left there would never be matched. That the fear and recovery would always be what I considered "the hardest days of my life". November 8, 2012 I learned otherwise. So today I sit in a bed, tired, more sore than I even knew I could be, emotionally spent as I pump breast milk that is one of many miracles that I have witnessed over the last four days, but not the biggest. I sit here and I try to think of how to tell you all what has happened and I realize it is another story that is hard to tell, hard to believe, hard to grasp. But I am going to try because all of you have loved us through the hardest days of our lives....and they just got harder.

The morning of November 8, 2012 was not fun. We were exhausted from the night before because I had been up all night feeling bad. We were convinced that this was a result of them taking me off the meds that were preventing contractions. We had to come off of those meds because the one side effect that "seldom" happens, had happened and my sweet girl was living in a sac with no amniotic fluid. So as we struggled through the night and the morning Doc called the doctor that had been helping us since our first trip to the Maternal ER, Dr. Dobay. Thankfully he answered and they talked through some symptoms and decided I would stay home and tough it out. Doc called in half a day because the contractions were not ceasing. It only took about ten minutes for me to realize and one look for him to realize that we had to go in. And so we did. The ride was quick, we obviously knew the way, and only at the very end did I realize we were in big trouble.

I'll be honest with you. I had no idea that they would even give her a chance. We were 24 weeks to the day and though her heart was still beating it was low, I was dilating and the placenta had almost fully abrupted. I was checking out into my happy place preparing to deliver another baby that would go straight to Jesus. Only this one would be bigger, stronger, and would have touched my heart in a completely different way. The term emergency c section came up immediately. So immediately in fact, that Doc's truck was still on the curb running when they started prepping me. I asked one question, "will I be okay through the surgery" the answer was yes and there was absolutely no hesitation to try and save her. I looked at my strong, beautiful husband and he nodded. Off we went into a scene out of Grey's Anatomy. Doctors everywhere, running me through the hallway, a neonatal team already scrubbed in and waiting (how they did it that fast is beyond me), people screaming orders at each other and saying "hurry" "now" "faster". It was scary, hard, painful, by far the most physically traumatizing ten minutes of my life. They kept telling me what they were doing and saying they knew it was scary. I was not scared. I was not worried. I was not crying. I was hanging out with Jesus and saying to Josie "you fight, I'll fight. You fight, I'll fight". And then they put me to sleep.

I have never been so happy to be asleep in my entire life and honestly will tell you that the surgery was harder on Josie and her daddy than it was me, I was asleep. She was born at 9:18 am, 24 weeks gestation, eyes wide open, took one small cough. She was born out out a fully abrupted placenta with no blood in her lungs and minimal in her stomach, an absolute miracle. I woke up about an hour later, Doc right by me as usual, and my first words were "is the baby alive", he said yes. I breathed a thank you to Jesus and our world changed forever.

I have spent four days recovering. She has spent four fighting. My family, my husband, my world has spent four days trying to grasp our new normal. I woke up today and I realized Bennett changed our lives, our faith, our marriage, our parenting. And he prepared us for Josie. You see my friends, though this is more than we ever imagined and words like hard and scary don't even touch on it, we are so grateful for that tiny little girl and every breath she takes. We have already buried a tiny person. We have already sent one straight to Jesus that we never saw take a breath, move, that we never touched, that never heard his daddy talking to him or felt his mama stroke his head. And she has. Yesterday, I changed her diaper. Bennett never even wore a diaper.

So Praise be to Jesus for this baby girl. I will not question. I will not be angry or frustrated. I will not complain or cry about how hard it is. I will only worship harder, blown away at what He has done for us and the miracles that have happened to get her here. I eat and I will pump and I will heal and I will pray. We will take care of our girls here and the one that lives at Centennial Hospital everyday praising Him from the rooftops for all three of them.

I ask you, again, to pray for us. You have all been so amazing through our last few years and I am going to have to ask you to stand with us one again. Please pray for our hearts, our family and most of all our tiny girl. Please praise Him as you pray thanking Him for her and everyday she grows stronger. Please put Josephine Hope Hall on every list, in every offering plate, in every prayer box. We love you all and thank you for loving us.

The Halls