Happy. Sad. Joy. Tears. My emotions feel like they are all over the map. I want to celebrate and I want to crawl under the covers just to cry. One year. It’s hard to put into words this one year.
My son Malachi turns one today at 8:32 pm. My Son Cayden would also be turning one at 8:31 pm. I celebrate one year of growth and yet my eyes can’t seem to stop leaking because I wish I was celebrating with both boys. As is my typical thing to do on birthdays, I remember the year that passed. Today especially, I remember the beginning. I have no idea if I shared so many details here so if I’m repeating myself, I apologize. I find that today in order to celebrate one life, I must also celebrate both lives even as it brings me tears.
I remember. I grieve and I will celebrate.
One year ago:
Last night found me having a 3 hour long stress test, monitoring the babies’ heart rates. Baby B at the time (The baby’s names became A & B because I choose not to know the gender.) What usually was a 20 minute stress test became 3 hours because B’s heart rate dropped. I was a wreck. They finally assured me that B probably just moved and the monitor then picked up my heart rate. What looked like a drastic drop in a heart rate was quickly believed to not be something to worry about. I was a wreck. I didn’t sleep well. I wanted to make it to 34 weeks but there was this un-acknowledged thought that I wasn’t going to make it that long. In the back of my brain, I was just waiting. Isn’t that why I went to the hospital at 24 weeks? I was like the bomb just waiting to go off but hoping against all odds that I could make the 34 week mark.
I awoke on Sunday morning a year ago with a heavy heart. I called my parents and asked if they would pray, ask the church to pray over my anxious heart. Nothing was wrong but deep inside fear was making havoc over me. By midmorning, I started having pain in my left leg. This was odd to me since I never knew that labor pain could start in a leg. However, it came and went so I began to wonder. Thinking that Baby A was perhaps on a nerve, I decided to take a nap, skipping lunch to sleep. I woke up I think around the 1ish mark still having a pain in my left leg that would come and go.
What I believe was a God thing, my parents decided to make hour drive to the hospital to cheer me up. Around 2 they walked in and one look at my face told my mom that something was up. I told her about this weird pain I was having. About that time one of my nurses walked in and it was decided to put me on a monitor to know for sure if it was contractions. Within a half hour, things began to move quickly. First it was a liter of fluid pushed into my body in 15 minutes. The hope was to stop labor. Next up was a slower drip of liquid into my body over an hour to again hopefully stop labor. Next up was magnesium. Nothing was stopping my labor pains. From the moment, Mom thought I was in labor until this point, contractions were coming 2 minutes apart and steadily increasing in pain.
Finally around the 7:45ish mark, the doctor came in to inform me that we were going to meet the babies tonight. I chuckle now at my question back to the doctor. “Is this like I’m going to meet them in a few hours or like right now?” I’ll never forget his look to me. “Crystal, we aren’t going to run to the delivery room but we will be there in a half hour.” Oh.
Mom went with me to the delivery room. She was the one to tell me that my babies were boys.
So tiny. So precious. So fragile they were. Cayden was 2 lb. 12 oz. and Malachi was 3 lb. 2 oz. It was unbelievably incredible when I could inspect their tiny fingers, tiny toes, heads of jet black hair. Oh the beauty of new life.
I feel like this journey with the boys continues to be one of joy and sadness all at the same time. Every day I went to the NICU I could walk between the boys’ beds and experience joy as Malachi excelled and sadness as Cayden fought every day. It was a mix of emotions praying for miracles for one boy while seeing the other one thrive. I wanted God to move mountains, to prove to all those that saw us that He is real, that God is good, and He wants to do wonderful things in our lives. I struggled with exhaustion over all the emotions with Cayden and then felt guilty at the happiness Malachi could give. I longed to touch, hold, and caress Cayden as much as I could Malachi. I had a hard time with each surgery, each change in machine figures, each test done to check Cayden’s progress. I wasn’t sure why I was more drawn to sit and hold Malachi more than sit with my son Cayden. Oh how my heart remembers all of this.
So I cry. I cry remembering this year. I remember the joy of bringing Malachi home and crying, feeling so torn with leaving Cayden at the hospital. I remember hoping that the unthinkable would happen. I remember the early morning phone call while feeding Malachi. I remember the voice of the doctor saying I needed to come. It wouldn’t be long. And I remember holding my precious boy, Cayden, as he took his final breaths. I remember the deep sorrow, the sobs escaping my lips, the tears, and the utter grief of handing over this precious boy to the One who has been writing my story from the beginning.
I remember the feeling of empty. Of feeling like it was finished. That the battle was over. If I could paint a picture it would be of me, sitting in ashes unable to put thoughts into words, unable to even think. Desolate. Alone. Empty. I lived like this for months on end, unable to really truly know if I was going to survive everything. Malachi brought joy, oh yes, he did. There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I am not humbled to be called his mother but nothing replaces Cayden.
I have no idea how I would have managed with two babies, but I know I would have loved to have tried.
Today I sit, reflect, cry, smile and wonder. I finally feel like I’m out from underneath that cloud which was hanging over me for the longest time. I know, for sure, that I still have much to contribute to life, to the people in my life. I know that God has a plan for me. While I never dreamed that my life would like this, I won’t change it ever. Boy, have I grown and still learning. I’m learning how to set boundaries that are healthy to me in all relationships. I’m learning how deep God’s love is for me and the depth of mercy given to me. I’m learning what it means to adapt to constant change, to love unconditionally, to sacrifice without complaint like a mother does. Oh yes, so many lessons yet to learn too.
All in all, this year has brought so much. God is so good. He really is good. I choose to embrace this roller coaster ride, the mountains and the valleys, the joy and the tears. Yeah, I’m gunna embrace this day.
It’s snowing outside. I told my cousin that I think Cayden is sending me some snow on his birthday because he knows how much I love it. She responded with “It’s the confetti falling down from his party!” Yeah, I like that a lot. Confetti. Thank you God for today. Thank you for so much. For the influence both boys continue to have in my life. Thank you for writing my life story. I am humbled. I love You!
P.s. Once again, I didn’t read over this. No proof reading done so if I have a typo or didn’t say something correctly, I apologize. I will try to do better next time!