I love reading, and this love for reading has me reading to my girls from birth. When my oldest, Jade, was about 2 I remember coming across this book at the library. Though I was familiar with the book as a child the decision to check it out would be my first experience reading it as a mother. As sat down to read the book to Jade as she fell asleep that night I could not hold back my tears, Dr. Suess is truly talented. The book opened me up to the realization that my daughter will experience a life that a some point I will never be apart of, a life that I can only pray she is on the right path. She will have her own struggles, fears, and triumphs. Life is hard and I pray I prepare her in every way to be sure she survives… life. When my second daughter, Ryan, was born I read the book many time with my two girls and loved it. No matter how many times I read it by the end of the book I would be sobbing. ‘Oh the Places You Will Go’… I honestly had no idea.
This a photograph I took when I hit 36 weeks in my pregnancy with Harper. I bought this book so I would no longer have to borrow it. I bought so I could continue to read it to my girls as they grew. To constantly be a reminder to them that no matter the places they go when they turn around I will be there. To serve as a sweet book to teach them life is a journey and at times difficult there is also a lesson to be learned. I got the book to be sure my unborn baby knows just as much as my older girls, that I will always be their biggest cheerleader.
I had no idea the love that was ‘cooking’ inside of me and… oh the places she would take me. After Harper’s birth I remember sitting in my hospital bed waiting for a nurse a doctor to let me know something, anything. Each concern I bought to their attention they brushed off. I did my own research I was met with fear of the unknown on how my daughter’s life would be effected. Would she be able to walk? Blood clots? Limb overgrowth? It was a place I never thought I would be in.
With Harper’s vascular malformations there are a lot of doctor visits that are needed. Testing and some calls for traveling. Traveling requires that my older girls sometimes miss the end of the school day or a entire school week. Doctor visits also put a strain on my ability to find a job to support my girls and allow me to be sure my baby girl receives the treatment she needs. A job that allows infinite amount of time off. Throughout my pregnancy all my testing and scans assured me my baby was developing healthy in the womb. I was never aware vascular malformations could occur, I was never aware of how greatly it could effect your life. Now that I’m in this place with Harper, all I can think of is how thankful I am aware now.
Harper had her first MRI this week. We traveled to Atlanta which of course meant pulling from resources that probably won’t be available for what is needed later in the month. This also meant my older girls stepping away from school. I was asked to checked in at 6am at the Children’s Hospital. My older girls stayed with my mother and father. Despite being physically, emotionally and financially exhausted I was sure she was there at 5:15am. She was not able to get her MRI done in October and I wanted to be sure she wouldn’t miss it this time. She was required to fast due to going under general anesthesia for the procedure so she was frustrated and irritable with me. Holding back my own tears for hours while we waiting I tried to calm my hungry exhausted baby. In her assigned hospital room we waited until her time came. I kissed her over and over before handing her to her nurse that walked her back to the MRI. How did I get here, why am I here. As I walked back to her empty room, I was met with nurses to ensure I was taken care of: a breast pump, food, bathroom. Though I never expressed my needs they knew, I needed to recharge for her.
Being is a children’s hospital is no fun to say the least. You see not only small humans trying their best to fight and but also parents trying to fight, to the next moment, to the next ray of hope in their heart, to just keep going. Yet being in a children’s hospital has shown me nurses, doctors, care professionals,…people being the hands of feet of Christ. Being who you need them to be at just the right moment. Everything they personally have going on is dropped to pickup someone else they have never met. Often here I ask myself ‘why am I here’ yet in the same moment I thank God I have found my way here.
For the first two months after giving birth I use to pray that I would wake up and things would just be ‘right’. She would just be right. I woke up one day and realized Harper was ‘right’, made perfectly as God intended and what we all needed. I woke up and realized the moments I have spent worrying about the her future was a waste and robbing me of my moments right now which were absolutely perfect.
I took these pictures when I was 36 weeks pregnant. Waiting to see her face, ready for her journey of life to begin and all that she would learn. Little did I know that Harper would take me to places I would never imagine for my girls and show me that I am stronger then I ever thought. How am I still standing, how am I getting to the next moment the next day? But I’m doing it, some how. Oh the places you will go… and lessons you will learn. This little girl has shown me, who I thought I wasis no where near who I really am, and yet this journey has only begun.
I now wait to hear from her doctor’s office for her MRI results to find out what the next place we will go from here.