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Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Tricia

This post is written by a dear friend and nearly-next-door neighbor whom I terribly miss. Tricia and I met when MG was just Bea’s age and she had two girls at the time (now three, Emaline joined last year around Christmas).  The oldest (Liesel) is MG’s senior by 6 months and the youngest (Moira) was just a little over a year younger.  What a blessing it was to meet her at this exact time in my life!

Tricia is one of those people that you just can’t help but love.  She is the kind of neighbor you definitely want in your proximity because she will do ANYTHING for you (including go to the drugstore for you to fill an Rx  for Zofran because you are keeling under morning sickness…or take your daughter to the library for story time so you can go to the doctor solo, etc. etc..).

She is also a very inspiring hands-on mama.  She creates these elaborate “Liesel school” lesson plans that are so wonderful and so much fun.  I have totally stolen some of her ideas before (you can find quite a few on her blog, like this fun “germs” one)

On top of that, she is very, very talented in the kitchen.  All of her food has that homemade quality to it that you just can’t make without putting lots of time, energy and love into.  She writes a wonderful blog called Going Homemade where she catalogs some of her tried and true recipes. I’ve never had one fail me…go check it out!

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My day decided to begin at 5:45 am when I heard Moira yell, “Momma, Mommy!”  Racing in to see what was wrong she sleepily said, ” I have to go potty.”  I realized, at that moment, my day was starting.  We have a strict rule of not going downstairs until 7.  Usually if the girls wake before then, we let them play or talk in their room. This morning, because of the time, and the fact that Liesel was still asleep, I decided to bring MJ in bed with us.  Amazingly, she fell back to sleep.  I, however, did not.  I laid there thinking of the day ahead-my do to list- until Eric got up to get ready.  It was then I heard Emaline stirring and I went to nurse and change her.  Eric had to leave early so he quietly came and kissed me goodbye. At 7:30 Moira woke for good and the three of us made our way downstairs.  Liesel joined us around 8 and the day officially began!

For breakfast the girls requested ” The Grandpa Special” a staple these days: oatmeal with berries, almonds, cashews, applesauce and cinnamon.  While they ate, I unloaded the dishwasher and began the espresso machine.  Today was a caffeine morning.

The girls went upstairs to pick out outfits and play.  Emaline stayed down with me, enjoying some Cheerios and I wiped the counters and vacuumed the floor.

Although not a dyson, this little vacuum is amazing for life with littles!

Emaline and I then make our way upstairs.  After teeth are brushed and clothes are on, we have our devotional time.  I love the days we can fit this in!

Em soon begins rubbing her eyes, signaling morning naptime. While she is napping Liesel and Moira are busy playing in their room.  This is my time to complete morning tasks.  Sometimes they play nicely for 10 minutes other mornings it can be for over an hour!  I just do as much as I can until I am needed.  Today the girls played wonderfully.  Here is Moira singing Liesel to sleep 🙂 and apparently we are undressed-again.

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I throw a load in the laundry, make beds,  get myself ready and even have time to start on the ironing I am extremely behind on-

 

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After about the 10th time the girls ask, if it is snack yet?? I decide “alone playtime” is over. Only three shirts were completed. It is 10:05 and an adequate time for a snack.  Since we have been learning about spiders this week, the girls make their own spiders out of apples and marshmallows.

Emaline wakes around 10:30 and after a quick feeding we head out for a few errands.  This morning we have three: post office (actually needing to go in), library and a TJ Maxx return.  I am doubtful we will accomplish all since it is 11 when we actually pull out of the house. Darn you jacket season for lengthening our getting out of the house time.

The girls are rock stars at the post office, smiling and staying near, even though the line is somewhat long.  Once back in the car and on our way to stop #2 Moira points, “look Hobby Lobby!” Tempted to stop, I know this cannot be on the to do list today.

Walking hand in hand the girls and I make our way in to the library

This stop takes longer as we run into some old storytime friends.  The girls enjoy playing and looking at books while I catch up with a friend. I glance at the time and it’s past noon!  We quickly checkout our  books and DVDs (paying one small fine) then head out.  I realize three stops was a stretch and I put TJ Maxx on hold for another day.

For lunch we have egg salad- so glad my girls love this as much as I do!

After lunch it’s time to pick up and take naps.  The two little ones go in around 1:30 and Liesel sets up camp in our room for quiet time.  She spends this time looking at books and working on her workbook while I finish up a few chores.   Around 2:45 I allow Liesel some iPad time and I lay down next to her. This is my time to rest.  I complete my bible study homework for a woman’s study at church. Currently doing Beth Moore’s study on 1&2 Thessolonians, my first woman’s bible study since kids! I then give myself time to mindlessly scroll through FB and Instagram.

A little after 3pm, Liesel and I head downstairs for reading time.  This time is precious.  Time alone with my big 4 year old is rare especially since L goes to preschool three days a week. We get through one book and Em wakes.  She joins us for our second book.  Liesel loves reading to her sisters and sometimes Emaline is her best audience!

It’s now 3:30 and MJ is still asleep!  Liesel helps me get our afternoon smoothie together: Spinach, banana, frozen berries, homemade yogurt and almond milk. Bonus points for days our smoothie turns out PINK

The blender wakes Moira (success) and we all head up to get sister!   While the girls are having their smoothies, I set up our afternoon activity.  I make a web for the girls to work on balance and also letter sounds, f for “fly”.

 

Eric calls to check in and says he’ll be home for dinner tonight by 6.  Looking outside, it’s gorgeous.  So the girls and I head to our neighborhood park.

I’m starting to get sad thinking about how our days where walks and parks are included are fading.  Trying to enjoy every beautiful day!  The girls have the park to themselves.  They spend most of the time at the swings (makes it much easier on me)!

 

At 5:05 we head home.  Dinner is going to be leftovers and we still have time before Eric gets home, so I decide it’s a bath before dinner night!  The girls love the idea. Bath nights are crazy, since all three go in together.  In the midst of giggling, the girls get a surprise when daddy walks in! Squeals and hugs abound! And kisses for me! Then it’s cuddles with a towel baby, while the bigs go crazy behind the curtain.

Eric stays up with L and MJ.  Emaline and I head down to heat up dinner.  Chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans for all! I call up to the bigs and we eat dinner a little after 6. I glance at the clock and its 6:20.  The girls help me clear the table and I clean up the best I can.  Tonight I have a meeting at Starbucks about Sunday School at our church.  I give Emaline a good nursing session and then hand her off.  Quick kisses for the girls and I am out the door!

Once in the car, I exhale.  A quiet car, is there anything more enjoyable to a parent? I drive for about 10 minutes in silence.  I don’t think I was even really thinking of anything in particular, just enjoying my time alone.  After a great meeting with some fabulous people (and a complimentary PSL to boot), I make the trek home. It’s a little after 8. Eric and I chat on the drive.  Girls went in perfectly, slight cry from emaline, but not a peep from the older two. We talk briefly about my meeting and within minutes I’m home.

Before allowing myself to completely  unwind, I always clean downstairs.  It’s the way I keep sane.  Floors are cleaned, counters wiped, dishwasher on, toys and books out of sight.  It is then, and only then that I can relax.  This is my favorite time of day.  Tonight is especially great because it is Thursday.  Which means Eric went to Trader Joes!  Wine, a baguette and their, to die for, harvarti cheese!  Need I say more? Oh and Eric decided to make one of our first fires of the season.  This, friends, is my slice of heaven on earth.

Snuggling we watch two Madmen episodes and head upstairs. It’s 11.  We climb into bed and talk until one or both of us drifts, who knows which. It’s late and I’m next to the man I love.  This is real life, this is my life, and I love it!

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Thank you so much, Tricia, for sharing your day with us!  Reading this definitely makes me excited for what life will look like in just a few short months with MG & Bea…morning play time, reading alone time, girls getting dressed all by themselves, and going for walks without chasing someone down-haha!

Reading this also makes me a little sad that we aren’t neighbors anymore–but–it does inspire me to be a better neighbor to those around me right now.  Thanks, Tricia!

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Nicole

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Today I have another guest post for you in our Daily Rhythms series.  This one comes from Nicole who harkens back to my Taylor days.  She just had an adorable baby boy a few months ago and I was anxious to hear what it was like.  I find it so interesting that each mom’s experience and remembrance of the early days is so different from mom to mom.  Enjoy!

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Hi everyone! I want to thank Kate for inviting me to share on her Thursday series. Kate and I know each other from Taylor where we lived together with 10 other women our senior year – yes we are still all friends and it actually worked out pretty greatJ I have loved getting to read Kate’s blog and feel a bit inadequate to share during this series as I am a first time mom but here goes.

My husband and I live in Portland, Oregon and moved here from the Midwest over 4 years ago. We had our son, Cameron, in July and it has been an adventure. Lets just say we were prepared but not prepared and this kid has rocked our world in an amazingly awesome way. The day I am going to share will change soon as I go back to work as a high school teacher in a couple of weeks but we won’t dwell on that sad news.

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I would love to tell you that as a 4 month old that Cameron had slept through the night and that our wake –up at 7am was the first time he was up but that is not the truth. For some reason Cameron got up 3 times which is very unusual. Babies.  Every time I try and predict them my type A self is gently reminded. We get up, he greets me with a smile, we change his diaper, and we are off to take my husband to work. We live in the city so having 1 car and good public transit is awesome. We rush back home to do another one of our favorite activities – pumping.

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Cameron was a bottle refuser but due to two of my best friends having the same problem I was able to figure out he likes them warm and he has a bottle preference. Of course it’s not my glass Dr. Browns – kids they keep you guessing. We pump and he takes the bottle and we are off for a jog. Running is hands down one of my favorite activities and while it looks a lot different than before I had a kid, gone are my marathon runs, I am still getting out there which is awesome.

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We get back and Cameron goes down for a nap while I finally eat breakfast and sit down after a crazy busy morning.

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Amazingly I am able to eat breakfast and then get ready while Cameron chills in his bouncer seat. Yes it’s pink – that’s all they had at the children’s consignment shop. You will notice his cute outfit and then this is where our day goes a little haywire.

Shower Time

Oh and this is also in my bathroom because while I have started showering before 3, some days, I never get to shower alone or go to the bathroom or do anything…what they don’t tell you when you have a kid. This is also the time that Cameron decided to not only have a blowout on his cute outfit but also all over me while I was feeding him and after I had showered. On to outfit number two for both of us. I quickly eat lunch and we go off to the doctors. We stop for a few errands and Cameron decides that he needs to eat now – while we are driving.

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Why is it that when the baby is crying and you finally know why that nothing is quick enough i.e. I can’t find a parking spot and then I can’t check in quickly. Thankfully he finally got his food and the appointment goes mostly smooth aside from me having to change him during the appointment. BabiesJ We come home and I enjoy a nice cup of chai tea while I think Cameron is sleeping but he’s not.

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He does though surprise me and sleeps the whole time we are gone when we pick up my husband and stop at the grocery store, which is a rarity because everything is amazing to look at for him.

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We come home and Cameron plays with his dad while I rush to make parsnip and leek soup while all is calm. Some nights dinner goes great other nights, well you know.

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Cameron starts to get sleepy and we read a book together. We make it through one page in our children’s bible and he eats and goes to sleep. Thankfully this night was much better with only two quick wake ups.

I will say our days have some predictability but other days they are not which is something I am slowly embracing. Overall being a mom is one of the most challenging yet most amazing thing I have ever done. It has also stretched me to depend on God more than I ever have which to be honest I wasn’t really expecting. I also knew I would be filled with joy with having him but never to the amount I am experiencing. He literally is one of the most incredible things that has ever happened to my husband and myself.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Nickie

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Thanks so much for sharing your day with us, Nickie! Oh how I remember those early newborn days.  It is so hard to be type A when you have a…well…Baby :). So glad you are finding some normalcy throughout it all 🙂

-smk

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Abby

In case you’re new here, I’m doing a series called Daily Rhythms where I showcase snippets of both myself and others’ lives. You can catch up here.
This Daily Rhythms post comes from a suburban mom, living in a Victorian style mansion (it’s dreamy), in the Midwest.  Abby is another friend I met at Taylor and I have been following closely to her story since then.  She is a gifted writer and curates a blog filled with delicious recipes, artistic snippets, and daily musings.   She is a mom of four, with ages spanning from 1mo to seven years old. Yes, she is well-rounded and inspiring in all the right ways
Abby’s artistic vision extends beyond her blog and she has created many beautiful things with her hands. This fall I purchased one of her handmade cowls and have been so pleased with it;  (Check out her Etsy shop here) These cowls are so affordable and less fussy than a scarf (which I love!).
I was especially interested to hear what Abby’s days entail with 4 little ones, especially with the youngest being a newborn.  It’s rare to find someone that still faithfully blogs after having four children and for her insights I am extremely grateful 🙂
Follow her story along with me:
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(P.S. When I asked people to participate in this little exchange, I gave them very little boundaries or rules.  I just told them to make it their own.  It’s been fun to see how people took that charge and each added to it their own writing style)
5:30 am finish the last round of night nursing my 3 week old baby girl and fall back asleep with her on my chest.
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7:20 am-Greeted by Isabelle and Vera as they climb into my bed to say good morning. Vera plays with her current collection of “toys”, today they are a baby bottle, red potatoes and a coffee carafe. Isabelle snuggles under the covers next to me to chat while I nurse Eliza.
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8:00am-I roll out of bed and leave the girls talking with Eliza while I get ready. First, I run to the kitchen downstairs and pour myself a cup of coffee. Most nights I prep it all so when Nate gets up for work he brews it and fills up his thermos and leaves the rest for me to enjoy when I wake up. It is a great system! Then upstairs I go to the bathroom to check if my hair needs tweaking (read: spray with water bottle and re-dry) or if I can get away with it as is. I put on some makeup. (yes I do this every day and yes I do have four children one of which is a newborn…it can be done ladies

Daily Rhythms: Guest Post Erica

This summer I started a blog series called Daily Rhythms (you can catch up here).  One of these Daily Rhythms posts chronicled 24 hours with me.  A few weeks later I received an invitation to “swap” 24 hours stories and I shared with you my friend Kacey’s account.  The readers loved it.  So I decided I would ask a few ladies (that also blog) if they would be willing to contribute an entire day’s post to my blog.  How interesting is it to read how other people (especially those with different circumstances…ie number of kids, location, life circumstances, etc.) live?  So here is a day in the life of Erica, as seen on The View From Africa Erica

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Erica and I met quite a few years ago at our alma mater, Taylor University.  I met her through some mutual friends and have enjoyed watching her family grow over the past few years.  She is married to Dr. Matt and has two little boys:  Bo who is 3, Max who is 13 months.  (notice that her boys are almost the exact same ages/spreads of my girls)

At the time of her 24 hour writing, Max, who was adopted from Ethiopia, had been home only 5 weeks.  FIVE WEEKS and her life already seems so….normal 🙂  I followed their journey of first announcing their plans to adopt and then what felt like forever months later they were headed to Africa to first meet him (and pass court) and then a few weeks later a second time (to bring him HOME)

Erica works from home for her husband Matt’s dental anesthesia practice. They live in the south in a beautifully restored older home (holla!).  You have to check out her blog and read about them acquiring it!

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Daily Rhythms – Thursday, October 16, 2014

Today I struggle awake to the sounds of my husband getting ready for his day.  I’m thankful that he’s up first and I can stay snuggled in darkness for ten more minutes.  As he gets ready to walk out the door, we discuss a decision that is looming. 5:55 AM isn’t an ideal time for these conversations but Matt is a morning person so he humors me, and in this stage of life we have to grab the moments when we can.  He’s out the door, I shower and then I unload the dishwasher as my coffee brews.

 

I take my spot on the couch in the pool of lamplight and pick up the book I’m reading for Bible study. I haven’t always made it a point to wake up early but with two kiddos I need the time more than ever!  As the sky brightens I hear the kids stirring – the baby first, then Bo.  They have started to play a bit in the morning but I never know how long I have. I get breakfast ready for us – a bowl of oatmeal, today with raisins and pumpkin and cinnamon. I dish the kids’ bowls and put them in the fridge to cool.

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When it sounds like Max might need rescuing from his big brother, I enter. Today Bo is actually IN his brother’s crib . . . oh, well, moving on.  I’m grateful that breakfast today is mostly drama-free.  Max eagerly finishes a bowl of oatmeal and then feeds himself for a while and I pause to acknowledge his accomplishments – trying new textures and using a spoon! I make Bo’s lunch, pack it in his Star Wars lunchbox, and get the kids dressed.  Max has done a great job playing on the floor today and letting me get ready. So many times I focus only on the hurdles and I want to practice gratitude and celebrate our achievements!

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We’re out the door around 8:30 to walk Bo to school.  My neighbor-friend is leaving her house at the same time and she does half of the walk with us.  I’m thrilled to have her company. Bo is wearing his rainboots and we stop at every puddle and all the spookiest houses to admire their Halloween decorations.

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At school I kiss my big guy goodbye, and head back home, faster and quieter without my little sidekick, but a bit lonelier.  I love this walk and never tire of the beautiful homes on these streets. Soon we are home and Max is snuggled up with a bottle before his morning nap. I read him a story and place him on his tummy and walk out. He chatters but doesn’t cry – another moment to celebrate! I sit down in our home office to crank out an hour of phone calls and paperwork before I have to wake Max up . . . I hate to do it but he won’t nap well in the afternoon if I don’t. He pops up cheerfully and I encourage him to following me around the house with the walker while I get ready to head out the door.

 

As soon as he sees the car seat, Max starts to cry . . . and keeps at it.  We postpone errands for Barnes and Noble so he can get some time at the train table and a good lunch in.  We go from there to Target to grab diapers and baby food and then to the post office before landing back at home. Max goes down for his nap again and I take my lunch in to the office to deal with the calls I missed while we were out.  When Matt’s case goes long, I ask my sister-in-law to pick up Bo from school for me and I get a double bonus when she takes him to her house for an hour.  I use the time to start dinner and enjoy the quiet as I listen to music and chop veggies for chicken soup. Matt comes home and heads out to the backyard to work on the treehouse he spontaneously started two days before.  At 3:00 my sister-in-law brings Bo home and her three boys. They tumble out of the car and head for the tree fort as the baby wakes up.  I chat with  Courtney and Matt for the next hour as we watch our stairstep boys – ages 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 – climb and slide and swing down the zipline. Soon they are perfect muddy messes from head to toe.

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Bo’s school has reserved the local pumpkin patch for the evening so we head out and bring Bo’s closest-in-age cousin along.  They enjoy the mini maze and Max parks at the corn troughs for some sensory play.  I’m thankful Matt can be there with us, and even though my messy children mean it isn’t a picture perfect pumpkin patch experience, the kids have fun and we enjoy the fall afternoon together.

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We drop my nephew off at his house and race home as the dinnertime hour means meltdowns are on the horizon.  Bo is too dirty to eat so I give him a quick shower and set him down for chicken soup, which is not well received.  Matt heads out for the night to a concert so I keep the baby’s dinner simple and get him bathed while Bo realizes he does like chicken soup after all.  A couple books, a bottle for the baby, and a dozen kisses later, my little men are tucked into their shared room and I coast through our quiet house, picking up toys, unloading Bo’s backpack and admiring the day’s artwork.

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I take my soup to the couch to enjoy with my feet propped up and Hulu cued up on our TV.  I soak up the alone time. I’m dead tired, but content, thankful for the victories and head off for bed.

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It all sounds so deeply familiar, doesn’t it mamas?  Even though…even though it’s boys vs. girls, some biological, some adopted, her south, us north, …. we all share some of our rhythms in common.

Thanks for sharing, Erica!

-smk

Guest Post: The Story of Kade

Today I am sharing the words of a new friend, Shannon.  I met her through MOPS shortly after we moved here last year.  We were having a Mom’s Night out, eating at Panera, and doing some shopping when she told me she was pregnant.  I knew she already had two little girls and I was very excited to hear there was a third one coming (although at the time it was a secret that it was a going to be a boy).

I will let Shannon tell you the rest of the story in her own words but I will warn you that Baby Kade only lived for a short time on earth.  His story, however, is very powerful and very important.  Shannon bravely shared her story with us at MOPS and it touched us all, and especially me, very deeply.  I asked her to share her story here because of the power of her words and the message behind them….where does your hope lie?

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The following is the story of my baby boy, Kade Robert William’s, birth and death. As you read this, maybe you know someone who has experienced the death of an infant or child, or perhaps you’ve gone through this painful experience yourself. Although my story is unique to me, I know that it unfortunately happens to too many families. If you do know someone who has suffered this dreadful loss, please take time today to just reach out to them, even if it’s just a quick text, to let them know their loved one is not forgotten.
I was surprised when I found out last November that I was pregnant. After 15 years of marriage, I thought that my baby-bearing days were over. I’d even just started selling some of our baby items to clear up some much-needed storage space. It took me a couple of days to process the idea, but then I quickly became excited about this third child we would be adding to our family.
Although I was considered high-risk due to my age and history of infertility and pregnancy problems, everything seemed to be going well with this pregnancy. Every ultrasound showed a normal, seemingly healthy baby boy. An ultrasound when I was 29 weeks showed that there was a little extra amniotic fluid than normal, but no one seemed worried about it. We know now that it was because he wasn’t able to swallow properly. Another ultrasound three weeks later showed even more fluid, so my doctor sent me down to Indy for a 4D ultrasound with a specialist. Although the fluid was still high, he too agreed that my baby looked perfect. Everything was growing as it should, including his brain.

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I returned to my doctor the next week on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, where he hooked me up to a fetal monitor. The test strip showed a strong heartbeat, but no accelerations and decelerations, indicating possible fetal distress and neurological problems. He immediately sent me to the local hospital for another ultrasound and more monitoring. After more tests showed the same results, he decided that he wanted to deliver my baby boy that day. However, since my doctor suspected he would need to be in the NICU and may need very specialized care, we decided to have us flown down to Indy for delivery so that we’d have access to a Level 4 NICU, if needed, and it certainly did end up being needed.

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Since the children’s hospital was full, I was flown by helicopter (sounds a lot more fun than it was!) to another excellent hospital in Indianapolis. The doctors there repeated the same tests as my doctor, but didn’t feel the urgency that he did. Over the next two weeks I was pretty much confined to the hospital bed hooked to monitors. I would talk and sing to my precious boy, grateful to have a couple of weeks with just him before I was going to be taking care of three children at home. Two of my favorite songs to listen to while bed-ridden were Oceans by Hillsong United and 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I remember crying as I listened to the lyrics of Oceans.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I truly meant these words as I sang them. Little did I know just how deep into the ocean of trust I would be called over the next few weeks. Every step of the way, though, I was never alone.

The Lord blessed me with the most amazing doctors and nurses who genuinely cared for my baby and me. I saw on their faces the struggles as they made decisions, wanting the best for us both. They would do daily ultrasounds looking for practice breaths, but never saw any, another sign something was wrong. We were all worried and knew he’d probably have some health issues, but no one expected what we would discover after he was born. He was very active, almost constantly moving, so much so that one of the nurses and I jokingly and ironically named him “Baby Chyll”. But then on the morning of Tuesday, June 17th, he was very still. I was 35 weeks at that point, and the doctors decided it was time to meet him.

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They wheeled me into the operating room. It happened so quickly, that my husband, Brian, didn’t make it in time to see our son’s birth. He was still back at our house with our 2 little girls, almost an hour and a half away. One of the doctors that I’d grown close to over the last couple of weeks asked me if I’d like to hear some music. After I replied “contemporary Christian”, she found a station on her smartphone. The first song to start playing? 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

The first melodious notes were like a salve to my fragile nerves. It was as if God Himself was there in the room with me reminding me that I am never alone. At 10:46 a.m., my son was delivered into this world. I remember not hearing him cry at all, but everyone seemed so upbeat that I didn’t think much about it. Despite all the test results, because he’d been so active, I wasn’t concerned. They cleaned and wrapped him up and showed him to me for about two full seconds before whisking him away to the NICU. He looked perfect and even made a soft little whimper.

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What I didn’t know at the time was that he’d started having seizures about two minutes after birth, so they game him medication. Brian finally arrived a little while after the nurse had wheeled me to the recovery room. I remember asking the nurse how my boy was doing, if there were any red flags. Although she gave me a quick shake of her head to assure me he was fine, this usually friendly woman who’d spent the last few days taking care of me, couldn’t quite look me in the eyes. A few minutes later, an EMT came in the room to explain to us that our son had been having seizures and to let us know they were moving him to the children’s hospital NICU just a couple miles down the road. At this point, I still wasn’t overly worried. I’d dealt with seizures with my oldest daughter, Aubrey, already, so I thought that maybe I’d just have another child with epilepsy. They brought him into the small room in an incubator. I could barely reach him, but was able to hold his tiny hand for five minutes before they transported him down the road. It was there in the recovery room that we decided to name our son Kade Robert William Dewar (after our grandfathers).

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Still unaware of the direness of his health, I chose that evening to rest in my hospital bed while Brian went to see Kade. I knew they’d be running tests on him, so I wouldn’t be able to hold him. I thought I’d have plenty of time to do that later after the meds from my surgery wore off.

The next morning, Brian and I went to the children’s hospital to see our son. It was shocking to see him hooked up to so many machines. He seemed to be sleeping soundly. Kade was big for being 5 weeks early, I thought, 5lb 5oz and 19 inches long. Shortly after we were there, about a half dozen doctors and nurses stepped into our room and closed the door. We knew it wasn’t going to be good, but I never would’ve guessed what they were about to tell us. They proceeded to say that the MRI showed Kade’s brain had stopped growing around 33 weeks. At first I thought that they just meant he’d be behind a little developmentally or mentally for a while until his brain could catch up. Then they explained that it had stopped growing and started dying. The cells were not growing anymore and he was losing more each day. I finally mustered up the courage to ask what his chances of survival were. I’ll never forget the pain and sympathy on the doctor’s face as she replied, “Not very good. I’m so sorry.”
It seemed so surreal, and it took me days to actually accept what they were saying.

My only son was not going to live.

Still the doctors agreed with us to give Kade every chance we could. I knew he was in the hands of a God who could save him if He so chose. The doctors experimented with weaning him from the seizure medicine then adding a different one. I will eternally be so grateful to each nurse and doctor that cared for Kade so lovingly.

Over the weekend it finally hit me that my son was most likely not going to make it, though I still wasn’t ready to give up. We made the most of the short time we had left with our son. I gave him his first and only bath. I dressed him in a soft pair of blue newborn jammies, jammies that I keep near my bed and that still smell like him. We brought Aubrey and Avery in to meet their brother for the first and only time this side of Heaven. We got lots of hand and footprints and even molds. On Monday evening, one of the pastors from our church came down to have a baby dedication for Kade, while his wife took the most beautiful pictures.

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On Monday afternoon, we met one last time with his doctors. Another MRI showed that his brain had started bleeding, he was having both the visible and non-visible seizures and he was getting sicker by the day. I could see it. Over the weekend, he had some muscle reflexes when the nurses would pick him up. By Monday morning, he was so limp, his arms just dangling when he was picked up.

On Tuesday morning, June 24th, I woke up knowing it was the day we’d be saying goodbye to our son. We spent every second with him that day, and I spent the afternoon just snuggling him close to me, skin-to-skin. When the nurses needed him back in his bed briefly, they carefully lifted him from my arms. As they did, I noticed two perfect little imprints of his feet on my bare belly. It was as if they’d been engraved into my skin. I had Brian take a picture so I’d never forget.

The whole day I’d been praying, begging God not to make me make this choice, to have to decide when to remove his breathing tubes. How is a mother ever supposed to choose when to give up on her child? It was so unfair! I prayed that God would let me know when His timing was right. I knew God had ordained the days and even seconds of Kade’s life before time even began. Realizing that gave me the strength I needed.

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We had chosen to have a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer come to capture the last hours of Kade’s brief life on earth. It has been such a blessing to have those photos of our cherished son. After Jason finished the photos and quietly left, Brian was snuggling with Kade in a big blue chair. I was sitting next to them in a separate chair. I knew that I’d never really be ready to remove his tubes, but I leaned over anyway and whispered to Brian, asking if he was ready. His response was truly heaven-sent.

“I’m not ready, but he is. Kade is ready.”

His words gave me the peace and knowing I’d been begging God for. At 6:30 p.m. on June 24th, we removed Kade’s breathing tubes. Although they warned us what it would be like, I wasn’t prepared. As he struggled to breathe, I started to scream, “I’m so sorry, Kade! I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you!”
I felt so helpless! I wanted to run and get the nurses and beg them to put the tubes back in, tell them I’d made a huge mistake!

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Brian’s gentle words reminding me that Kade needed me helped me calm down so I could sing to my son and whisper words of comfort. At one point, Brian asked me to hold Kade because he needed to get up and walk around the room. As he handed him to me, I immediately felt at peace. For a good part of an hour and a half, as Kade fought to hold on, I rocked and snuggled him. The doctors had turned off all the monitors in his room before removing the tubes so we didn’t have to see or hear his heartbeat slowing. I didn’t need the monitors or the doctors to come back in the room to know when he’d drawn his final breath. I just knew. I looked at the clock and it was exactly 8:00 p.m, the time God had chosen. I kissed my son goodbye and later watched as they placed him in a beautiful little paper casket, placed the lid on top and tied it with a dark green satin ribbon. He was gone… but not really.

The Hands that are holding him right now are holding me, too. Kade and I will always have that connection. And one day, I WILL hold him again and never have to say goodbye! The time I have ahead of me to spend with him in eternity in the presence of our awesome and faithful Creator is far greater than this short amount of time I have to live without him now.

I still struggle with the grief and sorrow every day, but even among that grief, there is Joy! I’m learning surrender, full and absolute surrender. I’m learning that my hope can only be in Christ. Everything else is temporary. If I place my hope in having another healthy baby, as wonderful as that would be, and maybe God will allow me to have that, it cannot be where my hope lies. If it is, I’ll be disappointed. I’d love another baby just as much as Kade, but he could never be replaced. He is unique and as much my child as my others. If my hope is in Christ alone, that can never be taken away, no matter what trials may come.

I challenge you to ask yourself today, honestly, where is your hope? Is it in the temporary: a new baby, a new job, the perfect house, the perfect weight, the perfect husband?

In his book, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times, Henri Nouwen says,

“Hope born of faith becomes matured and purified through difficulty.”

If your hope is honestly in the Eternal, in Christ alone, you will be able to survive when your own difficulties and trials strike. It won’t be easy, and the tears and sorrow will come, but so will the Joy!

Thank you for allowing me to share Kade’s brief but precious life with you.

-Shannon

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A link to the video tribute they made for Kade’s memorial service.

 

In honor of all the precious lives lost and remembered worldwide on October 15.

-smk