One year!

My youngest will be one year old on Friday!  I am so amazed by the exponential development that occurs in the first year of life!  All the growth, each milestone is so precious.

We had her first birthday party this past Saturday – here is the birthday girl’s reaction to her cake…

Ally’s cake

Ally spent 6 weeks in intensive care when she was born.  I think it was, emotionally, the most difficult 6 weeks I’ve ever had.  So, in honor of the one-year anniversary of that tough time, I thought I’d make a list of what I learned.  I definitely believe that times of struggle make us stronger in our faith. 

So here’s my list.  Some apply directly to having a child in ICU, but some can be applied in any tough situation:

  • Sometimes you have to keep asking questions to encourage doctors/nurses to keep investigating.  On the other hand, don’t allow other people to make you feel like you aren’t doing enough for your baby!
  • If you have a baby in intensive care and other kids at home, you will probably feel guilty that you’re not with your baby at the hospital every minute.  But remember that ALL your kids need you… and frankly, sometimes you need a break from the sights, sounds, smells, and stress of the ICU.
  • Life does not stop outside the ICU… even though you might want it to!  Other kids go back to school, husbands need to go back to work… you have to realize this and adjust.
  • Pray for your baby.  Sometimes you feel like there’s nothing you can do for your baby… but you can pray!  This applies to your kids regardless of where they are or how old they are.  Sometimes you feel like there’s nothing you can do to help them in a particular situation… but you can pray!
  • Accept offers of help from other people.  You need it.
  • Let God use you in whatever way he sees fit, even when you are struggling.  It may be that you are in just the right place at the right time to help someone else. 
  • Some days I felt hopeless – it seemed like more bad news day after day.  I needed to share these feelings with my husband and pour them out to God.  Don’t run away from God, He is your ultimate source of strength and hope.  We are never without hope because we are never without God!
  • No matter how tough it is, keep believing that though life is hard, God is good.  There is always something to be learned from struggle.

To finish off the story for those of you who might not know… Ally was born without a thyroid gland… a condition called thyroid agenesis, and will be on a medication to replace the thyroid hormone for the rest of her life.  In those first 6 weeks, that condition was complicated by severe reflux, causing her to not eat well.  Once they got all of it figured out, she was sent home and has been doing well ever since.

I thank God every day for her (and my two other children) and the blessing they are to me!

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