Friday, April 11, 2014

An exercise in love and faith.

*This is lengthy, but I don't want to sum this experience up in a few sentences.  I'm sure many don't care about the details, but some have asked- and I needed to write to process some of this.

I was pretty content with my four children.  Four sounded like a good number and it didn't feel as though we were missing anyone.  Without realizing it, life had gotten easy.  Stella no longer needed bottles or formula and was sleeping great through the night.  She could walk and had a personality that left my days anything but dull.  The older kids were self-sufficient enough that they helped put together lunches in the morning and tied their own shoes.  Denten average arrival time each evening was still around 8:30, but somehow I managed it fine and enjoyed the time we had together.  It's a dangerous thing, that comfort zone.  Especially when it sneaks up on you and you have to be kicked out of it to realize it was there in the first place.

Wednesday morning I had dropped Stella off at Holly's and was on my way to the dentist.  Pulling in the parking lot, Denten calls.  I had a few minutes.  And they rocked my little comfortable world.  Joann had called.  There is a baby.  What??  We had our baby, remember?  We chose not to renew our adoption certification.  Is this for real?  So I took some deep breaths and went in to get my bite adjusted.  Through the morning thoughts of a new baby in our home floated in and out of my mind.  On one hand, I wanted to.  Really wanted to.  On the other, things were so good right now.  Would I be messing with a good thing?  Was saying no even an option?  Well, yes.  There are so many families out there who are waiting for that call.  The one saying there is a baby.  Some of these families don't even have any children yet.  Is it fair for me to take another one?  Why did they call us out of all the families they had waiting?  So many questions and not one single answer.  When Denten and I met for lunch we talked through it all and left without any clarification.  I continued to struggle with it through the afternoon and that evening D gave me a blessing that my answer would be clear and that I could feel the peace one way or another that I so desperately wanted.  The priesthood worked as it usually does and peace and calm took over the jumbled mess my head had been all day.  All of the things that pointed toward taking this baby clicked into place and it all made sense.  I slept well and felt great about it the next morning.

I had the best day Thursday.  I felt happy and peaceful and excited.  I rolled easily with things that might have normally rattled me.  It was a good day. I knew this was right and I was anxious to meet her.  We thought we'd be heading to New Mexico to pick her up Friday, so I began making arrangements for the kids, none of whom were coming with us.  I was disappointed when we learned we'd have to wait until Monday to pick her up- don't social workers know how long a weekend is?!  Friends helping with our kids were flexible and so willing to help.  So we pulled out what we had kept for babies (I had given a lot away) and made a run to Target for the essentials and let our children join our anticipation for a new little sister.

Monday came early and we flew to New Mexico.  We had time for breakfast, over which we talked through what we would name this little girl, and Denten took a work call.  I was tired of stalling and wanted our appointed time to meet to come already.  The longer we waited, the greater the butterflies in my stomach grew.  We arrived outside the birth parents home and waited for Joann, who was 30 minutes late.  I was dying.  When she arrived, we waited again outside their home a long time until they  came out to open the gate.  They had the baby strapped in her carseat and bags ready to just hand off to us but we needed to go in and sit down and visit a bit.  I don't think they were prepared for that.  The social worker had questions for them, we had a few questions and we wanted to share a little about our family with them.  Her birth father was very open to answering questions and sharing information about her.  Her birth mother was quiet and reserved and maybe a little teary, but didn't show much emotion.  We took a few pictures and then said good-bye.  Her birth father was so emotional- it broke my heart to see him cry when we were walking away.

Our drive back to Mesa took about seven hours.  This sweet baby was a champ when it came to feeding time- she had been nursing but took to the bottle smoothly and drank eagerly, like she was so hungry.  Between feedings, she slept and travelled so well.  We talked about her name.  We talked about whether we needed to think about a different vehicle for our family.  We talked about schedules and logistics and couldn't believe this was really happening.  We arrived home about 8 pm.  The kids had just gotten to bed and came out quickly to meet her.  They were immediately enamored.  She was so small, what was her name, can I hold her, can I give her a kiss?  When we let them hold her, Cooper started crying softly.  This little baby brought such a sweet spirit into our home immediately.  We were so grateful she was welcomed with so much love and excitement from her older siblings.

We spent the night trading shifts to feed her, not complaining or trying to negotiate with the other for more sleep.  It wasn't a trial.  We wanted to be with her so much that getting up to feed her every three hours wasn't a big deal.  When she fussed a little before going back to sleep, we just held her and loved her and it wasn't hard.  I was tired, but I was happy.

The next morning the kids cared only about spending time with her.  I had to keep reminding them to get ready for school.  Beckham skipped away saying, "I just wish I could take her with me in my backpack!"  Stella met her for the first time and was fascinated.  She would get excited every time the baby moved or made a sound. She was soft and gentle and while I knew jealousy might kick in eventually, I was glad her initial reaction was positive.  We all knelt around our new baby and said family prayer together before heading out for the day.  It was a sweet prayer and just after we finished, I picked up my phone to take a pic of the kids together and saw the email.

"I am so sorry for the inconvenience but the birth father and I had a change of heart. My family has found out about the birth of my daughter and they are willing to contest. My dad especially was against the decision and is willing to help financially with the needs of (baby). We had time to think about it and it's not in our best interest to let (baby) go. I was wondering when we could meet to get her back we apologize for the last minute decision and inconvenience. Please get back to us ASAP. I lost your number so you can contact me via email or cell number."

I couldn't breathe.  I was holding my chest and trying to breathe.  I held the phone out to denten and could feel my face crumpling.  This is not happening.  We didn't just introduce this little soul to our children and all love her so much to have her go.  No, no, no.  We quickly decided not to say anything to the kids until we knew more, so off they went to school, ready to tell their teachers and friends about their new sister.  Denten drafted an email back to her.

"Your email took us by surprise this morning.  We have only known (baby) for less than 24 hours but instantly we loved her and took her into our family as one of our own.  While we understand your position, and will respect it, we feel a need to express to you how we feel about the situation.  We received that call from (social worker) on Wednesday of last week.  What a surprise to hear from (social worker) with such unexpected news of a baby girl needing a home.  We asked questions about you and (birth father), but she didn't have much information.  (Social worker) reassured us of your decision every time we spoke to her.  We wanted to make sure that before we invested our hearts, time, effort and money that this was a go.  We understand that birth parents change their minds all the time, thus our hesitation of jumping in right away.  However, after such reassurance from (social worker) we jumped all in.  We made plans to bring baby (baby) into our family and home.  We made arrangements in our home and lives to welcome (baby)   We made arrangements to fly to (New Mexico) and drive home at the last minute.  We were all in and we continue to be all in.
Last night when we arrived home, (baby) was introduced and held by each of her new siblings.  It was a tender, emotional moment for all.  They instantly loved her.  (baby) has already been welcomed into our family by hundreds of family members and friends spread throughout the world as they have expressed their joy and love through phone calls, emails, and social media.  Not only does (baby) have us but she will have a team of hundreds of others cheering her on and loving her throughout her life (as she already does). 
We want you to know that we understand this is difficult for you and will respect whatever decision you make, but we also want you to understand that we are a part of this situation now and it is difficult for us.  We will offer her the best that we can provide in life.  We expect nothing less than the best for any of our children, (baby) included.    The opportunities for (baby) are endless and we would love to provide her with all the opportunities she desires. 
We have contacted (social worker), but we understand she is in a meeting all morning.  We will be taking (baby) to the doctor this morning for a 2 week check up.  As stated above, we will respect your decision but also want you to understand that we don't think we met by chance.  We love (baby) and would love to provide her with all that her big heart desires now and in the future.  Please consider your options.  We felt that a higher power led you to your original decision.  We prayed and pondered about (baby)  you and (birth father) and your families and the impact on us and our children before we made our final decision to bring (baby) into our home.  We felt at peace and assumed you did too after having her in your care for two weeks, thus our decision to move forward.  Now that (baby) is here we would love for her to stay. 
We respect your strength and courage to want what is best for (baby)   If you feel it is best for her to come back to you, we will respect your decision."  

She immediately responded that she was sorry, but this was their decision.  I think I was numb after that.  We took her to the doctor and got instructions on how to care for a few issues that were concerning.  We delivered sad news to our families.  We talked about how to tell the kids as they arrived home from school.  What a hard thing to understand and try to explain.  Beckham seemed the least invested but had a few questions.  Cooper quietly fell apart on the couch and that set Seneca off.  "But I don't want anyone to come and take her away!"  Me, neither, sweetheart.  Me, neither.  We combated a feeling of helplessness as Cooper felt we needed to do something and Seneca said, "can't you convince them to let her stay here?"  We tried, sis.  We explained and prayed that whatever Heavenly Father wanted to happen, would and pleaded with Him to watch over her.  

The social worker told them that they would have to come to Mesa to pick her up.  We set the meeting for the following day.  I wanted to judge.  I wanted to be mad.  They struggled to find a ride to work- they cancelled her dr. appt. because they couldn't get a ride, but now they can get all the way to Arizona?  I wanted them to know what a great life she would have here and that I would love her so, so much. But what I felt was the possibility that this baby needed to be gone, out of their home, for them to fully commit to her.  That she had to leave for them to realize that they could do this, they could make it work, they could figure it out and that she was worth it.  Why we had to be the ones to help them come to that conclusion I still don't know, but somewhere there was a greater plan at work.  

Denten gave her a sweet blessing before she left us.  He blessed her that she would be healthy and strong and that she would be happy.  He blessed her with a strong desire to find her Savior and understand His role in her life.  He blessed her that she would be a light to others and I have no doubt she will fulfill that mission.  Of all the things we were sending her away with, this seemed to be the most important and gave me a measure of peace.

They were late.  Late enough I had time to give her one more bath before she had to leave us.  I was putting on her little socks when they came in and her father was in her face immediately.  "Hi, baby!  Hi!  I missed you so much, did you miss daddy? Oh, Hi Honey!"  He was too close to me and I shook trying to get her little socks on and he just kept talking and I was trying so hard not to fall apart with him standing right there in her face.  I am glad he loves her, and I can appreciate his enthusiasm, but it seemed a little insensitive with Denten sitting right there, having believed that he was her dad.  I handed her to him and showed her mother some of the things we were sending home with them and instructions from the doctor.  Her mother seemed uncomfortable answering the social workers questions about what had changed and how she was going to take care of the baby.  Denten and her father loaded their car- we sent home the clothes they had given us as well as all of the diaper, bottles, and formula we had for her.  Denten had purchased more diapers, toys, books and a stroller for her.  He said that she should have everything we could give her.  If she had to go, at least she would have what she needed.  He was very, very close to letting them take our car.  For real.  Then he would know that she could at least get to the doctor and get what she needed.  We sent home the gifts that friends had left for her.  One of them said that it didn't matter now where she lived, she should have these things.  None of this is her fault.  So true.

Her mother let me hold the carseat she was strapped in before they left.  I started crying and asked her mother, "will she be okay?"  She just looked at me like she didn't understand.  I told her I just wanted to know that she would be okay, that she would be taken care of and have a great life.  "Yeah, she'll be ok."  She said they had support now.  She apologized again for the inconvenience.  I told her that it wasn't inconvenient.  It wasn't inconvenient at all.  I would do anything for this baby.  It was heartbreak.  It was the fact that we had fallen in love with her and were prepared to give her everything.  Inconvenience wasn't the issue.  They left and my heart broke.  The social worker apologized and I told her of my concerns about her being well-taken-care of.  She said she would follow up.  

This should be the end, but then we went through the motions of our day with stones strapped to our chests.  I have had so many thoughts the past few days, while at the same time trying not to think about it.  If I had known the situation would be temporary, I still would have done it, but I think I could have taken very good care of her without getting my heart so invested.  Because we believed she was our own, we loved her that way.  And then she was gone.  If it was temporary, we could have handled it differently with our kids, not introduced her as a new sister that was here to stay, a new member of our family.  But we didn't know better.  We didn't make a mistake and couldn't have done it differently.   We thought she needed our whole hearts and that's what we gave.  But that meant that when she left, there was a huge hole in our hearts, and it literally felt that way.  

I think after a few days I can say that I'm okay if she wasn't supposed to be mine.  It hurts like crazy, because I want her to be, but it's ok if she's not.  The hard part is that we aren't comfortable about the situation she is going back to.  It is too easy to let my mind wander and get carried away.  I believe her parents love each other and I believe they love her, and for that I am incredibly grateful.  I do not, however, believe they know how to be parents.  But if I'm honest, sometimes, neither do I.  She came with a few issues that were concerning and sending her back makes me scared, but I know that every first-time parent has to figure it out, they have to learn how to take care of another little human and I know they will figure things out- I just hope she isn't hurt in the process.  I can easily feel very helpless and let my emotions get the best of me but the fact is that I can't do anything else. I can't bring her back.  I can't provide for her.  So I exercise my faith and trust that Heavenly Father has her in His arms and is loving her for me.  

A few weeks ago we had a family home evening lesson on faith and broke down the principle to make it easy for our children to understand.  The equation we came up with is this: 

Belief + Action = Faith

I believe that my Father in Heaven will handle all the things that I physically can not.  I must believe this or I will go out of my mind.  I acted when I handed this sweet little child of God back to her parents.  One of our many supporters reminded me that she may not be my child, but she is His child and He will not forget about her.  As I was having one of a few breakdowns this week, I felt, through my sobs, that my Savior had felt this before.  I saw in my mind Him kneeling in the Garden and His body shaking with sobs as mine was.  I asked How on earth He got through this pain because that compiled with all of the other heartaches and sin in the world is simply too much.  I know that time is part of the answer.  Time heals most things of the heart and so I keep busy in the meantime.  

Life can't just stop.  I want it to sometimes, but I have responsibilities.  I have other children and they require that life keep moving, and therefore I will keep healing.  If I can be grateful that we were chosen to go through this, it is because an alternative might have been that one of the many families out there who have no children and have been waiting for one could have gotten that call.  Can you imagine the elation to know you finally had a baby?  The one you'd been praying and hoping and preparing for for so long?  I wondered about those families when we agreed to take this baby, feeling a little bit selfish, but now I'm so glad it wasn't them.  I'm so glad it was us because as devastating as this has been, I imagine it would be worse for them.  Shattering.  I understand why they say we "exercise" our faith.  It is exhausting.  I feel wiped out.  Faith is not something you just do in your head.  You do it with your whole soul.

Our support system is wide and strong and we have felt it.  Prayers, kind comments and notes, loved ones crying right along with us… while we wish none of them had to feel this pain with us, we're sure glad we have them.   I haven't used her name here because it hurts.  And because she is once again called what her parents intended.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Today my right eye is ready for a change in seasons.  It's itchy without relief.

Today I have friends helping me figure out what to do with my house.  That's kinda fun.

Today I did not get a nap.

Today I am not allowed to clean her bottom, wipe her nose or clean her ears.  You'd think I was being invasive or something.

Today my dining room table, aka air hockey table, is covered with awesome auction baskets for the school carnival.

Today my kitchen table and living room are covered with supplies to put more baskets together.

Today I was reminded of people who are constant sources of light when I was visiting teaching.  You know the kind.. always uplifting, happy to serve.  I'm grateful for their kind.

Today I chauffeured to music class, baseball and ballet.

Today I kissed Stellie's biceps 57 times.  This short-sleeve weather has a lot of perks.

Today I threw lots of vegetables and chicken together for dinner, added brown rice and quinoa and you can imagine that my children were thrilled.  A side of fruit and at least they didn't starve.  It was yum.

Today I listened to Divergent while driving, cleaning and getting ready for the day.  I'm trying to catch up to Dent.

Today Denten returned from San Francisco.

Today I am tired but today was filled with good things.  And the day is not done.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Right now

Right now Stella is twirling in the family room with Beckham.

Right now Seneca is trying to negotiate her way through dinner.  She doesn't appreciate pulled pork but will finish 3/4 of her sandwich.  Beckham is happy to eat the rest.

Right now Cooper is at baseball practice.  He's not happy to be there, but has agreed to complete the season without complaining.

Right now I have a picture in my head of what my new flooring will look like.  I wish I knew what to call it.

Right now the school Carnival is 23 days away.  A lot of work has gone into it and I am hopeful that it will be a roaring success.

Right now I am looking forward to my weekend.  An overnight with girlfriends and then an anniversary date with my husband.  Both will be so good for me.

Right now I have laundry to do.

Right now I wish I could call my sister and talk about nothing.

Right now the orange blossoms outside smell just like heaven.  and 75 degrees isn't bad either.

Right now my neck is stiff from thrusters, burpees, and pull-ups.  I'm getting stronger.  I keep telling myself that's the important part.

Right now I'm pretty content.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


forgive if you thought this was a real post.  I'm experimenting… I need to get insta pics on a interest board.  Any ideas on how to do that without a million steps??

Friday, November 22, 2013

It has become somewhat of a tradition for our children to run the 1-mile kids race the day before any full IM event.  Even if D isn't competing, they love that they get their own number, a new shirt, a chance to beat their time from last year and their very own medal to add to the ever-growing collection around here.  Coop couldn't find his shoes as we were walking out the door and resorted to Vans.  Ridiculous, but didn't seem to slow him down much.  Seneca and her dad are convinced she won her grade-division.  I suppose it's possible, she did shoot out of the starting gate like a bullet.  Beckham ran his little heart out and barely acknowledged me as I was cheering for him down the finish chute.  And bless little Stella's heart, she was happy as a clam keeping passers-by entertained from her stroller while I kept my eyes peeled for the little racers.  Success.  Another one in the books.  

Race Report: by D

Ironman Arizona 2013 race report as given to his training group post-race:

The 11th hour eludes me again.  Two, of the many, goals I had going into this race were to finish with 11 something next to my name (even if 11:59) and to run a sub 5 hour marathon (which I had yet to accomplish in an Ironman).  The first will be for another race, the second I obtained.  However, I did PR by 9 seconds.  Prior PR was set at Arizona two years ago.

I went into the race calmer than any other.  Probably due to my past experience, knowing that I could finish the race even if I hit an insurmountable wall like what happened at St. George last year.  I did a few things different for pre race day preparation.  I made sure to focus on hydration last week and to taper off with the protein and fat and focus more on high carbs like rice and potatoes.  I never made this a big priority in the past.  I also ate a good breakfast about 4 am which consisted of an ensure, white rice and one scrambled egg.  Surprisingly, my stomach was calm all morning.

There is nothing like race morning at transition.  Getting all the necessities in place and making sure all transition and special needs bags are set.  I had the standard trip to the restroom, wetsuit on (by the way, you may all know this but I learned it last week, putting on a wetsuit with a plastic grocery bag is miraculous), goggles checked and ready to rock and roll.  We were herded into the water.  Water was 64 degrees.  Perfect.

Tory and I decided to stay together during the swim.  The plan was that I was going to draft off of him for as long as I could.  I lost him as soon as we jumped into the water and started swimming to the start.  Seemed like there were more participants at the starting line this year.  That plan was abandoned, but it didn't really matter because it was an "everyone for themselves type of swim".  Like Tory, I couldn't seem to get into a rhythm.  Bodies, arms and legs in every direction.  It remained like this for the first half of the swim for me.  I did have moments of clear water but they quickly vanished.  I cramped in both hamstrings before the Scottsdale Road Bridge.  Which was unusual because I normally cramp in the calves and feet.  I slowed the pace to try and relax the muscles.  Luckily it worked.  After the turnaround the water seemed to open up more, but the cramps in the my lower legs hit.  I tried to work them out the best I could and then I tried to swim motionless with my legs with the hopes that little movement would keep them relaxed.  I made it without any hard cramps hitting.  I exited the water with a time of1:29.  I was happy, given my swim training was severely lacking due to my bike crashes this summer and fall.  This is the best I have ever felt getting out of the water.

First loop on the bike was fast.  I was able to keep a level power output and was able to draft off of all the bikers I was passing.  I also thought I better try and push it a bit and get as many miles in before the wind hit.  And hit it did.  I disagree with Tory's report of the wind.  I felt it hit on the second loop and it slowed my speed considerably.  I was able to get into a group of similarly conditioned cyclist and we paced off each other until the turn around.

Because I know you are all triathletes I will share this next "first experience."  I was well hydrated going into the race and kept drinking on the first loop.  I had to urinate and each aid station I passed there was a line of bikers waiting to get into the porta pot.  I wasn't going to stop and wait in line.  I had that 11th hour finish on my mind.  So, I hit the turn around at Shea, grabbed a water bottle and coasted down the hill.  I grabbed my shorts to create a little air pocket with the hope there would be enough space to relieve the pressure.  I had stage fright for about 2 seconds then it began to flow.  I didn't care.  I followed up with spraying the entire water bottle on my shorts and down my leg.  Nothing to it.  Well worth it.  The bad thing about slowing to urinate was that I lost my pace group.

At the start of the first loop I saw Tory.  I started talking to him but quickly figured our that he was on the phone.  What?  Yes, he was talking on the phone telling some person that today was not a good day for him and that tomorrow would be better.  Tory, what was that all about?  During the second loop I started to feel fatigue in my quads.  This is unusual for me.  I felt it a few times this summer training for LOTOJA, but never thought it would hit during the IM.  Not sure what caused it.  I stuck to my nutrition (so I thought).  I decided to slow the pace and conserve for the run rather than fight the wind. 

The third loop was hard.  Wind always seemed to be in my face.  I saw a crash just as we got on the Beeline.  It just happened and people were stopping in front of me.  I was plagued with the question of what to do.  Do I stop or do I keep going?  In that split second I decided to keep riding.  There were about 5-6 other bikers there to help.  To ease my guilt I waved a highway patrolman down less than a quarter of a mile away and he responded to the scene.

I was happy to get off the bike.  I finished the bike in 5:40.  Felt pretty good during transition.  
My plan for the run was different this race.  What I had done in the past didn't work.  I decided to carry my own hydration and calories rather than relying on what was provided on the course.  I never train with the course products.  I was a little anxious to carry my fuel belt and figure out how and when to refill my own bottles.  I also decided to run with my heart rate monitor.  I had been training with it.  I started out with keeping my heart rate under 155.  My pace was steady around 9 to 9:30 for the first few miles.  But I began to slow more and more as the miles passed.  I was all the way up to 13 minutes at one point.  My mind was spinning, trying to figure out what was going on.  I could see my 11th hour finish slipping away as my body just couldn't go any faster.  I was frustrated and it was the lowest point of the race for me.  It was one of those time when I kept asking myself, why do I keep doing this?  The mental game was in full force.  I finished the first loop in about 2:30 minutes.  Right on track for another 5+ hour marathon.  Disappointing.  But I kept moving forward.

At the midway three things happened.  First, I saw my family, second, I drank a redbull from my special needs bag, and third, the sun went down.  I had new life, a new found energy and power in my legs.  I started out running about a 10 minute pace, then I was feeling better and better.  My pace dropped to a 9 minute pace and even 8:30s at times.  My form was back and I was cruising.  I thought to myself, I am going to just keep this pace until I fall apart.  Which to be honest I thought it was going to be a few miles.  I was wrong.  That self doubt quickly vanished as I kept passing people.  After seeing my family at the midway point they missed me 4 miles later because my pace had picked up.  They were planning on about a 12 minute pace.  I ran and the more I ran the energy and power seemed to stay.  My heart rate jumped to 165 and held at that rate for the remainder of the marathon.  Some how I experienced the runner's high the second half of the marathon.  Not really sure how it happened.  Perhaps it was the red bull. 

I fought off cramps in my legs and feet the last 4 miles.  I ran out of my drink mix with about 3.5 miles to the finish.  I took salt stick at every aid station from that point until the finish.  With the miles ticking down my pace and heart rate remained consistent.  I kept thinking to myself - only 2.5 miles to the finish that's like running from adobe home, I do this all the time.  Those small positive mental boosts helped.  I passed Tory when I had about 1.25 miles to finish.  He looked strong and his form looked good.  I knew he was on his way to another IM finish.  I picked up the pace the last mile or so.  Knowing you are that close to the finish brings another boost of adrenalin.  I knew I was running against the clock at that point, but I wasn't sure what time it was.

I rounded the finishing shoot and squinted to see the official clock.  All I needed to see was the 12th hour.  I was disappointed but ran as fast as I could to finish line.  I ended up at 12:05

I had a huge negative split on the second loop of the run.  First loop was 2:30, second loop was about 2:10.  I was happy about that and my sub 5 hour marathon.

Post race I was not feeling well.  I thought I had hydrated enough throughout the day.  But I could feel the effects of the dehydration settling in.  I hugged my family spoke to Ryan and Spencer and then headed to the medical tent.  When I arrived my blood pressure was 80/40 with a heart rate of 97.  They hooked me up to an IV and pumped in 1.5 liters of fluid.  I also learned that I ran my right big toenail off during the second loop.  Bummer.

All in all, it was a great day.  Any IM finish is a feat in and of itself.  Lessons were learned, the complete range of emotions were felt, there were personal wins and losses, and then, like all of you, I think about what race is next.

Thanks for the support.               

Fifth-time Ironman Finisher

His dedicated fans

first run loop

Beckham: the dedicated high-fiver.

beginning second run loop… seconds before the Red Bull...

thank goodness for Grandma!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A week later, fear ceases and faith reigns.

It was a week ago that I received the phone call that allowed me to experience exact opposite emotions within 5 seconds.

It was Dad.  "Your sister had her baby last night."  I immediately felt my face smile. Big.  The things that flew through my mind included feeling so happy for her that she wasn't pregnant anymore, because I know she was feeling quite miserable.  I was so excited that she finally got to see and hold the little guy because that moment makes all the uncomfortable worth it.  I felt a tightness inside as I wished so much that I could be with her and hold the new little man and help with Tessa and Bode.  I was anxious to hear all about it and was ready to jump in with questions when he continued, "and he wasn't breathing."

I froze.  And then turned around and sat down on the chair in the laundry room.  No, no, no.  This whole pregnancy can't have been for nothing.  She didn't survive pregnancy in Saudi and a mega trip through the U.S. and moving to Dubai and everything she has been through for nothing.  She didn't fall in love with this new little boy for the past nine months and allow all of us to do the same to just to have him gone.  No, no, no.  Please don't make her go through that.

Dad's not one for sharing a lot of detail, so all I learned in the next few seconds was that the baby had been incubated and he'd let me know more when he heard anything.  I exhaled and grabbed tight to the hope just offered, grateful that he was alive and knowing that it was time to plead with Heaven that he stayed that way.  I hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out.  Seriously.  Wet face, runny nose, headache... a really good cry for just a minute before I pulled it together to go tell D.

Sunday just wasn't the same after that.  And frankly, it wouldn't have mattered what day it was, the world just took a pause.  I went through the motions of my life for the next few days, but I was not fully invested or present.  I was glued to my phone awaiting any bit of news about little Whitt and Katelyn and Wade and seriously contemplated emptying any available bank account to hop on a plane headed for Dubai, stopping in Iowa to pick up Linny on the way.  I knew realistically there wasn't a thing I could do to make this situation better for Kate, but do you have any idea how far away the other side of the world is when you know your sister is going through a major fire?  Really, really far.

I prayed and I waited and my children did the same.  I grasped onto any updates sent our way and assumed that Katelyn was being optimistic each time she wrote.  And when too much time passed between replies I prayed harder because I knew what that meant.  I was incredibly grateful for Lindsay and our nightly phone calls.  For some reason it made things a little better that Lindsay and Ben were far away too.  And in those moments, Logan, Utah and Des Moines, Iowa seemed a lot closer than they had the week before.

This isn't news to anyone, but Boogs doesn't change regardless of circumstance.  He was still direct, funny and compassionate all at the same time.  One text read, "hopefully he gets all this out now and is an easy child the rest of his days."

News little Whitt was breathing was a huge relief but it came with the news that he was still unresponsive.  The thoughts scrambling in my head included all those that no one wanted to say out loud.  Was he without oxygen too long?  Please be here, Whitt.  Please be all here.  My prayers got very detailed very quickly.  Thank you a million times for saving this little guy, but we're not done yet!

I have a large extended family.  Both my mother and father have several siblings and they all continued to procreate, some a lot.  And when word got around that little Whitt needed help, family and friends showed up.  They came from my childhood and early school years.  They came from high school and mutual years. They came from undergrad and early married years and graduate school.  They came from every walk of life and it wasn't even my baby.  I was amazed and grateful and strengthened as words of encouragement and support came from family and friends in unbelievable abundance.  When asked to pray, they got right to it.  And they did a dang good job.

So today I'm grateful for a support network bigger and stronger than I was aware of.  Technology is an amazing medium for spreading the word and sharing news.  Prayer is an amazing medium for communicating directly with our Father in Heaven and I can assure you that He hears us.  I know this without a doubt.  I know that the combined prayers and faith of concerned and supportive friends world-wide pulled Whittman through his first week.  And what a blessed little boy, to have the whole world pulling for him right from the start.  He's destined for great things and after all the progress he's made in his first short week here, I'm sure he is going to continue to amaze us all.