God made us Sisters

Hearts made us friends – as the little saying goes.

My sister is almost nine years older than me. Have you ever heard that song Heros, by Mariah Carey? When I hear that song, I always think of her. From taking care of three younger siblings, to leaving home at eighteen, to marriage and college, to having two children in her early twenties, then later having two infant sons that made their way to heaven way, way too soon.

Not letting that beat her and sap the life from her, she battled the pains with nursing school while working as an aide in the ER at Houston Childrens hospital until she graduated with her RN license. Today, she cares for children with more compassion and love than any nurse I’ve ever known. Why? Because that was her calling and she listened. It took her 15 hard years to get there.

My dearest friend, that I am so blessed to have related to me. May I offer this tribute to you to acknowledge your touching grace upon my life.

I am so proud to call you my sister. Every picture I have, you are holding me. Every one.

What I remember most about growing up with you is the nights when we lived in Pickett. The rut town off a two-lane Oklahoma highway, in the middle of nowhere. Our house at the end of the road, located next to the woods, and in front of a big field terrified you. A secluded place filled with shadows. I have a feeling Ghost Hunters would have recorded some data. Eeek!

You would drag me stumbling from my brass twin bed to sleep with you in your room, in your bed – every night. You put up with a six-year old having restless leg syndrome when you hated feet on you. I guess little kid feet on your head seemed preferable to being haunted. Worse than that were my nightly accidents in the wee form. Oops.

It was your room I began to read novels from your desk shelf. My first book, Little Women, then Island of the Blue Dolphins. I can honestly say, reading in your room ignited the treasure trove of stories that call to my heart.

The other great love, your big doll house. Oh I coveted it. I wanted it for my own, I’ll admit. It was a dream when I got to play with it. The magnificent colonial house with real furniture, a velvet clad staircase, and an attic that opened up. A child’s dream home.

Listening to Barry Manilow crone from the record player in your room, or maybe it was Neil Diamond, John Denver, or all the above. They just don’t sound the same anywhere else. And why you put up with a little brat always around asking questions when you were surely a busy teenager, I’ll never know. You probably don’t either, except to say it was a long eight years of wishing for me. I treasure those days in your room.

Taking me to your Cougann practice when they had the mini camp. Being your side kick (or lo-kick), in your big drill team performance during the Friday night High School football game. What an exciting adventure. Such a privilege for a little sister who wanted to be just like you.

My big sister.

My friend.

My hero.

I watched you hold Baby Will in your arms, desperate to keep him, his loss the greatest our family has ever known, such a precious soul. Seven days of sweet song touching his fingers, kissing his head. Nothing was more heartbreaking.

Then, for that pain to pale in comparison to the sacrifices made for Baby Cody. Born after Will, strong, yet still fragile. The 24/7 quest to eradicate germs as much as possible with a toddler in tow, and another child in public school. Four and half years doing things no mother could comprehend with tubes, wires, medicines and shots only to lose him anyway. I think I would have lost my faith. No, I would have, but not you.

Instead of cowering in grief you firmly stood up for all mothers of exceptionally essential children that lived most of their life from a hospital bed. You spoke in front of hundreds of mothers, doctors, and nurses – despite your fear of public speaking – so they could better serve families of children like Will and like Cody. So they could make compassion and service a first for families of the chronically ill. A place of warmth and care for their long stays. A place for direction when they did go home armed with the confidence to care for them. All because of you giving yourself to the cause and sharing your sad story. People listened. People learned. People cared.

Your selfless service to the needy is astounding. Next, you will marry a man who has an exceptionally essential daughter. Beautiful Chelsea, a hospital bed buddy to Cody. A miracle that lived long past what the experts predicted. She will walk down the aisle, unable to speak clearly due to her trach opening, unable to walk steady with her weakened muscles. Her twisted hands will hold a bouquet of flowers while her princess dress billows around her. She will have a big smile lighting up her face. It will be as if it’s her wedding. A forever child unable to experience one of her own. It’s only through your desire, that she will. She will feel just as loved, and just as honored as any bride would be.

You amaze me.

May the love you pour out, always return to you. Thank you for being the best big sister a little girl could ever have.

Happy Birthday my friend!

Miracle Digest: The Sydney Story

Let me tell you about a miracle named Sydney Elizabeth. This tiny miracle occurred August 1993…………………………………

Ah! But not so fast. See I had to get married first. I married Sydney’s Dad October of 1992. I was 21 & he was 24 and he was my best friend in the whole world. Not to mention he made me laugh all the time(still does). Sonny couldn’t have been a better Dad for her.

We were very young but wanted to start a family right away. My older sister already had two children. My older brother had two children as well. It seemed natural to go ahead & try since we loved each other & wanted a child from that union. Our families supported us 100%. So finding out I was pregnant for the 1st time we were ecstatic!!! Best of all my sister was pregnant too!!! It was amazing! We were 8yrs apart & never imagined we would have children the same age. My due date was in September. A WHOLE SUMMER pregnant in Texas!!! Woo!! HA! But that was OK I was fine with that. I couldn’t WAIT to hold my angel in my arms. We had so many plans that formed in our heads so quickly. My sister & I lugging our babies around & having play dates. Sonny buying baseball gloves & bats to play ball with his boy. The FIRST grandchild his mother would have. The first GREAT grandchild for his grandmother. I can still remember every moment we planned. Every moment we anticipated with that little baby. Every second we dreamed of what it would look like, smell like, feel like. I can remember distinctly the glow inside of knowing I was going to have a BABY. My first baby! It was spectacular & unique & I would NEVER feel that way again. It wasn’t long before our dreams crashed down around us. This baby did not turn out how we hoped.

My pregnancy quickly went from the most wonderful time of my life to one of the worst nightmares of my life. I did not have a normal healthy pregnancy. I had a tubal pregnancy which means the baby travelled through the fallopian tubes to get to the uterus and got stuck (or stopped for whatever reason)and decided to grow there. It wasn’t in the right place & would quickly die from not getting the nourishment it needed. Worst than that it was not something that could be surgically moved & put in the right place. EVEN worse than that it put my life in great danger because the tube could burst & rupture inside and I could die too(tubal pregnancies are the #2 killer of pregnancy deaths). This was a very serious situation. The seriousness & the devastation seemed to battle inside me. I wanted NOT to die but I didn’t want to lose my baby either. And back and forth I would go between fearful & heartbroken. Fearful & heartbroken. Over & over until the doctor chose to do surgery & remove the pregnancy from my fallopian tube where it was lodged.
This meant I would go under anesthesia & be operated on. I would have a laproscope through my belly button & another incision by my bikini line. It was even possible that I would lose one of my fallopian tubes if he could not surgically remove the pregnancy without damaging it. If he had to he would remove the tube completely. So my fertility chances would drop in half and I was only 21yrs old.

I’ll not go into blow by blow here about the surgery & recovery. All I can say is that it was just as painful physically as it was emotionally. Me, my husband, my parents & siblings & his family GRIEVED for this loss. It was so devastating it seemed so unfair. I never thought I would stop crying over the loss of my baby. I truly felt like I was living in a never ending nightmare. They had saved my tube but the risk was even higher of having ANOTHER tubal on the next pregnancy. I never thought I could be brave enough to try again. All I could think of was I’ll hold my baby in heaven & that was the ONLY thing that got me through it.

Continue reading “Miracle Digest: The Sydney Story”