Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Greater Understanding.

Well, I've had my first panic attack as a Mommy. I unstrapped little Levi from his carseat and as I held him he felt hot. Really hot. I grabbed my trusty take-with-me-everywhere-I-go-thermometer and took his temperature and it read 100.4. That is when I dropped everything, grasped Levi and panicked. Never in his life has it said anything over 99.2, and I read that anything over 100 in a baby 4 months and younger requires medical attention. I turned into a crying basketcase.

I stripped baby down to his diaper, trying to cool his little body off as best I could, tears streaming down my face. I clutched his little body and rocked him back and forth praying the fever would go away. It may sound a bit dramatic to you, but guys, it's my BABY we are talking about. My precious little sweet, helpless itty bitty 11 week old baby. I was petrified.

After about an hour of him being free from clothes, calmed down with a bottle (I think he sensed my fear) and sound asleep in my arms, I took his temperature again and it read 97.8. Phew. We just had an overheated baby on our hands....which is easy to do in this crazy heat.

I still took it every 15 minutes for the rest of the night. ;)

I got a glimpse into what it's like having a sick baby, and I didn't like it. Nope, not one bit. I dread the days of sickness and hurt. I dread the ouchies and the bruisies and the hurties and the scratchies and the coughies and the sneezies and the feveries. I dread it all, but I know they will come. And just as I know they will come, I know they will go. And just as God heard my prayers for Levi and his faux-fever, He will hear them when his fevers are real. And He will take care of my little guy. I trust that.

I thank God every single day for a healthy baby boy. We are so fortunate and God is so good to bless little Levi with a healthy body. I have had several friends go through such hurt and pain of their not-so-healthy babies, and it ripped my guts out right along with theirs.

One of my dearest friends, Katie, had a baby two years ago born not only with Down Syndrome, but a multitude of other health problems that took her life earlier than we expected. Her name was Karoline and she lived four short, beautiful days. She was a gorgeous, lovely, perfect little baby on the outside, but she was sick. She was absolutely stunning. I thought during the time that I could "feel" with Katie. I cried. I sobbed. I prayed. I poured my heart out on that babies behalf, along with hundreds of other people. I sat at the hospital, staring at that breathtakingly beautiful baby, rejoicing over her little life, and then mourning it only days after. I hurt for Katie. I hurt bad. I thought I understood. I truly thought I understood.

But now....

Now that I have little Levi, I know that I can not fully comprehend what my friend went through. I just can't, because losing him is just an unbearable thought. What I do know, is that I have a greater and deeper understanding now of her pain.....and more overwhelmingly, her strength. When she was going through all of that, I didn't have a child. I thought I knew what it was like to love your child, but now I realize that I had NO IDEA. I couldn't fully grasp that love because I hadn't experienced it. I couldn't fully grasp her pain, because I never knew the love.

I think about her little Karoline more often now, than I did even over the past year. And I think about Katie. And I am astounded. She walked through that deep, dark, valley with such faith....such grace. She never questioned God. She never got angry with Him. Sure, she pleaded for her babies life and cried until there were absolutely zero tears left. And she had hard, dark days of mourning and sadness, but ultimately trusted God's plan and clung to Him with every fiber of her being. Literally.

I watched Him lift her up out of the pit. I watched Him give Katie a new song, a new heart. I watched Him transform her into a girl full of grief to a strong woman full of passion and a new love. I watched she and her husband grow even stronger in their union. I watched Him heal her from pain and bring her to joy.

She wears a necklace with Karoline's picture in it and speaks of her often. She now has a beautiful, healthy bundle of joy named Olivia, who is just as stunning as little Karoline. I love how when she speaks of her children, she always mentions Karoline, her firstborn. So many wonderful things have come from Karoline's life and death, and Katie probably doesn't even know half of them. What a little testimony that baby was. And what an incredible testimony her mommy was, and still is.

My eyes well up and my heart aches all over again when I think of that time, but now, in a whole new way. I feel a deeper connection with Katie and that situation now that I am a Mommy as well, and I often lift Katie up in prayer when I think of sweet Karoline. Her pain will never go away from losing her, but she runs full speed ahead, waiting to meet her in Heaven again one day.

I can't wait to witness that reunion.

It's situations and circumstances like these that I recall as I rock my baby to sleep at night with tears streaming down my face, praising my Savior for a healthy baby. To those of you out there who have experienced heartache and healing from a sick or lost child, I feel for you...and I applaud you.

And Katie, for your strength, your grace, your testimony and your love, I give you a standing ovation. You are truly an inspiration to me.

20 comments:

  1. It terrifies me that I love someone so much I feel like I literally could not go on without them. Fortunately we have an amazing God who holds everything we love the most in the palm of his hand! Thats what gets me through the panic moments. :)

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  2. you have such a good heart whitney! i love how you can put the right words together and form such a beautiful piece as this.

    Since I found your blog few months back, I keep coming back to witness how good God is as you unfold your life to us.

    By the way, it's difficult that we experience sickness and death here on earth but we have that blessed hope from Jesus that one day there will be life without the shadow of death lurking nearby. To be a part of that world is simple. In the words of Jesus himself,, "The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live."

    Karoline and all the others who died will rise again if we believe in God. We can let the pain go by surrendering ourselves to the Lord.

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  3. Well, there's no other way to start off your morning than with a healthy dose of sobbing!

    People like Katie must have a Job-like strength that the Lord recognizes. He must have such special plans for her family as He works in such extreme ways to build perseverance and character. Still, it's hard to witness I'm sure.

    And just a little encouragement for you...as Levi gets older, his fevers won't feel so severe to you. But when they're small and so helpless, everything is scary. Good thing you're married to a Doc though :) That must bring some measure of comfort.

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  4. Awesome blog!! It's amazing how God can hold you up when everything around you seems to be falling apart.

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  5. Your faith is beautiful to witness, and I am amazed at Katie. What an uplifting, wondrous testament!

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  6. I can't imagine the feeling of having a sick baby and your story of Katie just made me cry! I can't imagine how she felt and the darkness that surrounded her during that time. It breaks my heart!

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  7. Whitney: You are so right. As bad as we ache over the loss of a newborn (my brother lost 2 boys--one lived 14 hrs and the other lived 1 day & they were 15 months apart). I hurt so bad as I stood behind the bed of our little one---I prayed consistently for him--I was scared for how my brother would react--BUT God was GIGANTIC in the situations. He made my brother even stronger in Him at that time. My brother comforted me just as Katie has brought comfort to hundreds in her situation. I too prayed for her and her mom and dad and the Stokes and everyone involved.
    Once you hold your baby the first times you so realize how FANTASTIC A CREATOR He really is. I'm thankful for your story. It moved me and is so true. I thank God for teaching all who read how great He is and how he does hear our prayers and answers in His way and His timing.
    I love you and your God.
    PS just 15 months after the death of the second son my brother's wife delivered the most beautiful identical twin girls...Isn't HE awesome.

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  8. Whitney, this is so sweet. I can't imagine what poor Katie has gone through. I'm glad she has God to get her through...and blessings like you to be there for her! I'm glad you do too :) So glad Levi isn't sicky!

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  9. The love for your baby is one of those "just wait" comments that I got when I was pregnant ... that was actually true. You really can't explain it.

    Katie IS a remarkable woman and I'm so glad you honored her with this post.

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  10. (And for the record, I am not the Katie of whom Whitney is speaking. I can see how my comment may have looked bizarre to people who don't know me!)

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  11. You have an amazing heart Whitney.... What a beautiful post!

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  12. Whitney, Thank you for that post. I'm sitting hear bawling, but it's a good cry. I'm approaching Karoline's 2nd Birthday and my heart has been aching this past week for her. You have lifted my spirits. Our God is so gracious and I'm honored to have been Karoline's mommy. Thank you friend..I love you

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  13. Beautifully put, Whit! Katie and her strength are an inspiration to us all. I am amazed at how God has brought she & D thru the time, not just "surviving" but "thriving".

    I remember when our D was little and he was so sick, even hospitalized, and we didn't know how he would survive this life. My comfort was knowing that nothing happened to him that didn't first filter thru the hands of Almighty God.

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  14. One more thing ... can you imagine the intense pain L & Jen went thru losing TWO babies at once? My heart still breaks for them! Praise the Lord for a healthy Ashton.

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  15. This is a great post! Very touching.
    I'm so glad Levi is all right. You had me worried yesterday!

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  16. Beautifully spoken, literally brought tears to my eyes. I was so emotional over this and I am not a mother, cannot imagine how I will feel then. Little Levi is very lucky to have you as his momma!

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  17. I'm so sorry to hear about Karoline. Her mother sounds amazing and strong! We truly can never understand.

    I still panic if and when my kids get sick. They do not get sick often, it's actually very rare. But it scares the living daylights out of me. I pretty much don't sleep and hover over them to make sure they're breathing and comfortable during the night.

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  18. Such true words about babies and God and our mutual friend, Katie. She is such a testimony of a life given up to God for His purpose. What a beautiful tribute you have written to Him and Katie.

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  19. Yes, you don't really no what another person is going through until hyou've walked in their shoes.

    I've walked many roads of pain and hurt, even though I'm still a teenager. Even then, God was still there.

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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