A Different Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving began very differently.  It began as a day of dreams dashed, fears realized, and fears of what might be.  It began with bitter tears and crying out to God.

This Thanksgiving four years ago, I had dreams of my 8 month old little boy eating his first Thanksgiving dinner with family in NY.  Instead he lay on a bed, hooked up to numerous tubes, quiet and in a drugged sleep.  It snowed outside.  His first snow.  And instead of showing him the wonder of it, I cried bitter tears.  I don’t remember my journal entry for that day but I know it was one of anger and fear.  The very day of Thanksgiving seemed to mock me. Yes, I still had much to be thankful for but I hurt.

The day before, Wednesday, they took him off of the sedation medication and we waited all. day. long for him to wake up and he barely did.  They said it was the medication but they seemed a bit surprised too.  Wednesday night, the doctor said that they were going to take his breathing tube out anyway and so they did, and I held my child for the first time since Sunday afternoon.  He was heavy and lifeless though, still drugged up, and I felt angry.  I was still all garbed up because they didn’t have the test results back yet to determine if this was viral or bacterial.  As I held him, his leg twitched unnaturally.  I put him back in bed willingly.  This didn’t seem like my child.  I left the hospital that night confused with what happened.

That night, we got a call from the doctor saying that Owen had had a seizure (the leg twitching was part of that) and they had to sedate him again and put the breathing tube back in.  Amazingly, we were able to go back to sleep again but my heart was heavy.  I came back to see my son still hooked up to all those wires, breathing through a tube, sedated, and I still could not touch him because of the contact precautions.  This was the setting of that Thanksgiving morning.

Late that morning, I was calmer and more at peace.  I sat in Owen’s room by myself while Paul sat in the waiting room outside of the PICU with his parents.  The doctor came to the door with her entourage and I listened while they discussed Owen’s situation.  It was then that God once again, in a week that seemed dismal, showed me that he was still there working.  The doctor said that the tests came back that the meningitis was bacterial.  There was no more need for the contact precautions!

I could barely contain my excitement.  I tore off the gloves, gown, mask, and glasses and triumphantly through them in the trash before rushing over and giving my son his first kiss since I had kissed him goodbye before he was life flighted.  I ran out to Paul, giving him a horrible scare that something had gone wrong, and said, “The contact precautions have been lifted!  We can touch him, we can kiss him!  Come quick!” We rejoiced and praised God.  I asked God to forgive me for my lack of trust.  I tear up thinking about this.

That night, our family gathered for cold turkey sandwiches in the hospital cafe.  We rejoiced and thanked God for what he had done.  It was a Thanksgiving to remember.

That night, we began our stay at the Ronald McDonald house across from the hospital.  I didn’t know then that two days later the breathing tube would successfully come out again.  I didn’t know then that in two days, I would hold my little boy again and it would be a different situation, a joy and delight to hold him.  This Thanksgiving day though, I realized that I had hope.  God was still working.  I would still cry in the weeks, months to come.  I would wonder and worry.  But God was working things out, working in my heart to make me see that he did love me and love my family.

This snowy Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for my oldest son, who defied the odds of meningitis and has very little side effects remaining.  I am thankful for his sweetness and tenderness towards his brother and sister.  He is definitely becoming the big brother!  Just this morning, he was trying to comfort Joel, who was afraid of the shadows.  Owen loves it when Charity snuggles him or asks him to kiss her boo boo’s.  He has such a servants heart and is very eager to help clean up…to a fault sometimes.

I’m thankful for my second son, Joel.  I love watching him build things or put together a small puzzle on his own.  He pays attention to the smallest detail and has the most irresistable smile and charm!

I’m thankful for my little girl.  She brings spice into our lives and has us laughing with her antics.  She knows how to make people smile and is the most social of the three at this young age.

I’m thankful for my husband, who has stood by me through so much.  Who is ready to hold me when I cry and who makes me laugh.  I am so glad that God brought us together.  I couldn’t imagine life without him.

I’m thankful for my God and Savior.  I am continually amazed with his goodness and mercy to me.  How deep, indeed, is his love for me.  I would’ve given up long ago and yet, he still shows me his love.

“I thank you Lord for all you have done in our lives and for how you are making me to be more like you.”