Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Little Boy and A Broken Leg

Today marks three weeks since we left Akron Children's Hospital after treatment for Gabe's leg. It has been a long and stress-filled three weeks, but it has also been a three weeks that I have learned even more about being a mother and a wife. A three weeks that has put my priorities back where they belong, and has shown me how important it is to spend time at home. I believe through every experience, God reveals to us more of His will for our lives. In short- I have learned a lot.

I have heard this quite a few times, and from many different people over the course of these three weeks.. "Crystal, I don't know how you are doing this..", "Crystal, I bet you are ready to throw this year out the window", or "I hope you can figure out what God is trying to teach you with all of this..". Now, don't get me wrong, all of these comments are completely valid and appropriate given our circumstances. What I can say is, after some thought, I do know how I'm doing it. We have an army of people praying for us (thank you!), and we rely on the promises God has given us that He will not leave us or put more on us than we are able to handle. This year has been, well, interesting. But instead of loathe our misfortunes, I have decided to celebrate our experiences. The truth of it is, while we did have some very unfortunate circumstances come our way, we also had some amazing things happen to us, and received some awesome blessings. Gabe made it through his first year of pre-school (and started his second!) and is learning so much. We were able to take an amazing vacation and we woke up one morning at the ocean and saw the beauty of the mountains that same evening. We saw dolphins and manatees in their natural habitat. Gabe and Jeremy created a great memory when they flew Gabe's kite on the beach. I got to take my first trip alone and experience the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. I met some awesome people (especially those at my "table"), and had a great time keeping Mike in check ;) and convincing him to get Gooey Butter Cake room service! I sang the Doxology a'capella with hundreds of other people and learned how to open my heart even more to the presence of God. Jeremy and I celebrated five years of marriage, and celebrated by doing something on my bucket list- Hillsong! We planted a garden and things actually grew! We canned jam and pickles, and picked blueberries off of a bush. We rode in the summer with the windows down and the radio up, praising God and lifting our voice to bring glory to Him. We put up a pool in our yard and Gabe SO enjoyed it! We are looking forward to a Christmas that Gabe will truly understand what is going on, and is excited for "presents, trees, and snow!" (his own words!).

So, while I do sometimes wish a few things this year would have turned out differently, I wouldn't want to change these awesome blessings at all. Life isn't always easy, but it is always blessed. Even in the difficulty and the hardship, the pain and the grief, the anxiety and the stress, there is always something so much better and brighter than the tough circumstance. Something that God gives us to hang on to until things calm down and the ground feels more stable. Something that allows us to see Him, and focus on Him instead of on our circumstance. So, for this year, for all years, I choose Him. I choose to let Him lead me instead of let my circumstance lead me. 

These last few weeks, I have spent more time at home than I have probably since Gabe was a newborn. If you know me, you know that I am always on the go. It is a part of my life that just kind of ended up being that way. We are always going somewhere or to visit someone. God has used this experience with Gabe to show me how important it is to spend time at home. I have cooked every day, which honestly, has been a joy. I have tried new recipes (thank you Pinterest!), caught up on homework, clipped coupons, and snuggled a LOT with Gabe. That aspect of his recovery really has been such a life lesson, and a true blessing. Of course, there have been some very, very difficult- heart wrenching aspects of it all as well. But again, God has shown to me the importance of something that was truly lacking in our life, and that home really is where the heart is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Day At A Time.

Well, my friends, this week has brought on so many emotions and lessons, grief and hope, moments of gratefulness, and also ones of deep sadness. There are a million words I could say, but not one that I can think of that really says how I feel. I know so many of you are concerned for us, and have been praying for us, and for that we absolutely can not thank you enough. We have received cards and messages of condolences from people we don't even know offering their love and support to our family. We know that our Lord has surrounded us with such loving and caring people so that we can hold onto them, and pull from their love and strength at a time when we need it most. For that, we are so grateful. 

As we went through this week, Jeremy and I learned about a few things that we were never aware of, and I feel like it's important that we share. 
We spent most of the day on Thursday at Aultman Hospital while I was prepped to have a D&C performed. Like most hospital stays, it was a revolving door of nurses and doctors all with the same questions for me. They were extremely nice to me, and all offered their sympathies, and a few even shared their own stories of loss. All the questions seemed pretty routine.. except for one.
"What would you like to do with the remains of your baby after the D&C is done today Crystal?", the nurse asked me. "....Oh..umm..I'm very sorry, I hadn't thought about that...we didn't make arrangements..we didn't talk about this...I didn't know..", I responded. Jeremy and I were beyond overwhelmed by that question. It all happened so quickly that we hadn't even thought about where our baby's resting place would be. 

The nurse went on to tell us about our options. Options we didn't know we had. Options we didn't know we needed to make decisions about. Options that were free to us. Options that made it easier, and made the load lighter. Options that I am so grateful that someone at Aultman stepped up and realized that the babies that leave us too soon deserve to have a special place to be as well. 
Aultman hospital has a program where they will pay for the cremation of the baby, and will give the baby a final resting place at Forest Hill Cemetery on a plot that they have purchased especially for the babies that have left us too soon. They have a ceremony every year to remember these precious little ones, and all the parents (and families) are welcome to attend. All of this, at no cost to the family. While our minds were eased to know that something like this is in place for families that need it, Jeremy and I were able to have our baby cremated at Reed Funeral Home (Reed also does this for free), and we will be able to put our baby at our church cemetery. 

So, why am I telling you this? A few reasons actually. I have to think that many of you are unaware that there are even programs that provide these types of things for families. I hope by sharing, maybe one of you may be able to help someone you know sometime along the way. Also, so many of you have asked what you can do for us. The truth of the matter is that there is really not anything you can do except pray. However, if you feel like you need to do something, Aultman Hospital runs this program that they provide for families just like ours widely based on donations from the community. We were overwhelmed by the option they were able to provide for us in the plot that they have, and really having all of the work already done for us. If you are ever so inclined to donate to this cause, I can tell you that there are so many families just like ours who would be so grateful. 
To make a donation, you can go to:
You can target your donation to: Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Many blessings to you all, we love you so much, and we could not have gotten through this week (or the weeks to come) without you. <3