Thursday, January 5, 2012

Birthday Reflections

Today my darling baby boy is 2 years old!! Celebrating him and looking at old pictures leads me to reflect on the day Samuel was born and the following 6 days he spent in the NICU.

This is the first picture (and only picture) I have with my third born child, my firstborn son, Samuel on his birthday. There I am fresh out of surgery and wheeled in next to him, only able to touch his foot. I was smiling on the outside but hurting on the inside. I had no idea what was going on or what had happened. Was it something I had done wrong? Was it something about the c-section? Was it something inside his little body?

These are ones Matt took later because I wasn't able to get up and walk down to go see him that first day. To be honest, these are incredibly hard for me to look at. They remind me how close we came to losing him that first day. The doctors said a lot of things, but I remember tuning in (through my post-surgery fog) to the words, "He is a very sick little boy." Whew...even now the tears are close to the surface.

My father-in-law (pictured above) was very wise and suggested we take pictures these early days, even though they would be hard to look at later. He knew having them would help us to process, remember, and even praise the Lord for His faithfulness. So true!

Eventually I did get to hold my boy. Here his nurse is showing me his face right before I got to have him in my arms for the first time!! And as you may imagine, tears flowed freely that day.

He was so responsive to my voice. His little eye contact was heavenly.

Fast forward a few days, and Samuel got to come home from the hospital, a healthy and very loved little boy.

This is the first time the girls saw or met their brother. Needless to say it was a long 6 days of waiting for them as well.

Since then, Samuel has grown and been healthy. He celebrated his first birthday and today will celebrate his second. He is a precious, affectionate, cuddly little boy, and we all love him dearly. I'm so thankful that God chose us as his family and grateful he is alive.

Below is a little something I wrote for a women's event at our church. It gives a few more details and the verse God specifically gave me for this child. It has provided such hope and comfort on so many different occasions.

If you've read this far, thanks!! And if you're one of the ones who prayed for Samuel during those early days, BIG thanks!!! We are so grateful for all of you!!

Happy birthday, my baby. You are a treasure!!



It occurred to me the other day that each of our children's lives has a unique beginning. With Elizabeth, we had no idea there were serious things out there like infertility and miscarriage. We wanted to get pregnant, and two months later we were. It was certainly God's perfect plan.

With Abigail, we became very well acquainted with the idea of infertility, making many trips to various doctors and asking the LORD for many months in a row to create life. Nineteen months later, we were pregnant. Again, it was God's perfect plan.

As we asked the LORD about a third child, my heart felt heavy because I didn't want to go through so many months of waiting and hoping. That cycle can be rough. But through a conversation in the middle of HEB, God challenged me to begin praying a bold prayer. One that He did not promise to answer, but one that He wanted to use to grow me in my faith and TRUST in Him!

So we gathered a group of very dear friends and asked them to pray with us that God, independent of all the doctors and medicine, would create life inside of me. That He would accomplish it this time so that His name could be made great!

Imagine then how hypocritical I felt when later that month we were once again sitting in the doctor's office preparing to start all the routine tests you do before you begin the actual treatments. While we were waiting, God's word came off the page. My reading for that morning came from the book of Acts, specifically Acts 17: 26b-27, "[God] determined the times set for all men to live and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us."

From Paul's great speech in Athens, God spoke comfort, peace, and trust over me. He quieted me.

Well, the results of all the medical tests indicated that I would not be getting pregnant that month. I was crushed. We went home and began the wait for my monthly cycle. (Some of the initial treatments are dependent on that.) And we kept waiting and waiting and waiting. It finally got to the point where I broke down and bought a pregnancy test, even though the doctors told us it was impossible this month. And would you believe, when I took that test at home in the early, early morning hours, it came up positive!! In God's perfect timing, He HAD created life inside of me AND increased my faith in Him at the same time!! Our praying friends and family rejoiced with us.

As the baby grew, it was a joy to feel him move and kick inside of me. When we found out we were having a boy, Matt beamed. We began thinking of names and preparing the room.

Then he was born! We were so excited to see his face and count his fingers and toes. But there were complications, and Samuel wasn't breathing very well. I could see Matt out of the corner of my eye, and I could tell he had stopped taking pictures. The look on his face told me so much. The NICU doctor was called "STAT" to the delivery room, and then they whisked Samuel away to the NICU.

Each day we visited him in the NICU, God would remind me of Acts 17:26-27. I could trust God because HE had determined the times set for all men to live and the exact places where they should live. He had already given Samuel his initial life and would sustain it if it pleased Him to do so. Either way, God is good.

After six days in the NICU, Samuel had made enough progress to safely come home. And his homecoming was a celebration. His sisters, who had not gotten to see him while he was in the hospital, greeted him with homemade art, lots of hugs and kisses, and offers to hold him...all the time! It is a memory I'll cherish forever.

We thank God again and again for the gift of Samuel's life. His story is one that still brings me to tears and reminds me of God's lovingkindness and abundant mercy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, SamSam

My baby turned one year old this week, and in lieu of a big party, we opted for two smaller family parties. The first one we celebrated on his actual birthday; the second one we did this weekend with our extended family.

I dressed Samuel as a fireman for his birthday because I thought it was very manly and because I like this shirt! :)

Here's the back of his shirt...too cute, right? It looks like suspenders. Precious!!

After dinner, SamSam got to open his presents. He needed a little assistance, but once they were out of the bag, he was real excited to look at them.

Just doing a little light reading...

True to form with most one year olds, SamSam liked his presents, but he equally liked the gift bags and wrapping paper. So funny!!

The family party was wonderful,too! Here are some highlights:
  • We ate dinner at a Mexican food restaurant the night before the cake. The strolling mariachi band came to our table and sang a "Happy Birthday" song to SamSam. He was mesmerized, and I had tears of joy. So fun!!

  • We ate at Chick-fil-A right before the cake, and they had a face painter and a balloon artist there. The girls left with some beautiful detailing and two crazy big balloon things. It really was like a party!

  • We sang "Happy Birthday" to SamSam right before the cake, and he just beamed the whole time. He knew exactly what the cupcake was and was eager to pounce on it. So cute!!

Now for the pictures!!

I know there are times when you only have a few minutes to look at a blog, so I have the skinny version of Samuel eating his first cupcake right below. For those with a few extra minutes, feel free to read on to the detailed version.

The skinny version...



The detailed version...

We sang "Happy Birthday" to SamSam, and he loved it. He looked around at each face and kept smiling and smiling. I was holding the cupcake close enough so he could see but not close enough so he could touch. I will confess that concept only came to me seconds after I lit the candle. Previously I was thinking of putting the lit candle on the tray. (Bad idea, right?)

First BITE! Chomp...Squish!!

I have affectionately dubbed this one "cupcake beard." Love him!

He really loved his first cake! All that remained is what you see here. He more or less ate it all. But he didn't cry at the end (Elizabeth did.), and afterwards he took a pretty good nap, even with a sugar rush!

Some of the partygoers...

Can you see that the girls' faces are painted?

My heart is so full of joy when I think about the past year and the events of this week. We really love Samuel and pray for him to become a godly man, whose life is used as an arrow for the LORD. We love him and are so thankful for him.

Can't believe it's been a year...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!

This Christmas season, we wish you
the hope, peace, and joy that Christ alone can give!

With love, Matt, Shannon, Elizabeth, Abigail, and Samuel

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten!

My baby is officially a Kindergartner!!! She has now been to two days of class and is SO excited for more. She loves her teacher and plays well with her classmates. She even sent this email to her Siti and Ghido(pronounced sit-TEE and zhi-DOE) about her first day:

dear siti and ghido i had fun at kindergarden miss marshall is a good teacher the names of my friends are davis grant and chayan emma fulton anna joy asher joshaua and daniel i can t remember any more names

So fun!!

Now on to the pics, which is probably why you're reading this post at all...I mean, I know I would!! :)

Elizabeth and her teacher. E is in the "frogs" Kindergarten class. Ribbit!


Updated pics of the other two little Morties on Sissy's first day of school. So fun!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

6 Months Old!

Little Man is officially six months old. He's been to the doctor, and he's had his photo shoot.

The doctor says he is a healthy 18 lbs., which leaves him at about 75% for weight. (he is also 75% for height.) He got three shots and something injectable into his mouth. Hmmmm...

He's rolling all over the place, which reminds us of Elizabeth; that was her mode of transportation. He's making more sound effect and getting louder. In fact, the other night in the car, I was driving home with all three of them, and they were all talking/humming/making sound effects. Whew! I do believe SamSam is going to hold his own with his very vocal sisters. Probably a good thing. :)

As for his photo shoot, well...feast your eyes on this!