Month Six sure has been a busy one! Townes is now sitting up really well on his own, although he would much rather be standing assisted then sitting down. He now has 2 bottom teeth that have broken through the surface…who knew a human of his size could also produce enough drool for bath time?
Another new thing – Townes started ISR Infant Survival Swim lessons this last month. Secretly I hope he loves the water and becomes a little fish because I would spend most of my summer days, pre year-round sports, at the pool. I just couldn’t’ get enough of it and frankly, I still love the pool or any body of water for that matter. But most importantly, we have so many friends and grandparents with a pool that it seemed like a no brainer to me that he would enroll as soon as he was older enough….at 6 months.
We had to jump through some extra hoops to get him approved due to his prior medical background. While I was completing the intake questionnaire by question #4, my response was simple, “please see the answer to questions 1-3 because yes, he has been to a hospital, yes he is on medication, yes he has had surgery, etc, etc”
So we got our Transplant doctors stamp of approval and off he goes. If you have ever watched a video of ISR or enrolled your child, you know it’s not easy to watch sometimes. There have definitely been times when my insides were screaming or counting one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi and so on…to 7 seconds. And when you are watching your child learn to roll under water to come up to the surface, 1 second feels like 10.
About 10 days in, our instructor told me ‘I find myself being so careful with him and going a little more delicate than I would normally.’
We do not plan to treat Townes differently than any other child at his age. And while I am sure a day comes when Townes himself will use his “Transplant” to what he believes is his advantage (I imagine at the very mature age of 14 with some girl…I do apologize in advance for that but after all he is Father’s son), we plan to raise him as if he didn’t live in a hospital the first 2 months of his life and receive a transplant, as much as possible.
So my famous last words to our instructor…
“Don’t treat him any differently than you would another baby at his age.”
She flipped him backwards into the water. My stomach rolled over, what was hunger pains from not eating yet quickly became a feeling of never being able to eat again, and internally I was screaming ‘I take it back, I take it back. He is different!’
But you know what…he rolled on his back, floated up, tilted his head back and received the welcomed air. It is amazing what a baby inherently knows to do.
Something I have been mulling over since last week at swim was when our instructor said, ‘Given all you and Scott have been through, it says a lot about you that you would enroll him in ISR.’
I have thought about that statement over and over and over again.
Sure on the surface, maybe, aside from the very practical reasons why I think it’s important. I think what she was saying is, “wouldn’t it be natural to want to shield him from anything hard, or uncomfortable, or tiring. He has been through a lot.. Or maybe she was saying you have been through a lot and this is hard to watch (true) so it would have been easier to wave your white flag and look to next year.
After mulling this over, I believe at the root… who it really says a lot about is our Father in Heaven.
King David – a Man After God’s Own Heart wrote so many of the beautiful Psalms we find in the Bible. What a portrayal of the relationship he had with the God the Father. Now this relationship wasn’t something that just occurred, no, it was something that evolved, deepened and grew over time.
Love was grown, trust was formed, and confidence built.
(side note: isn’t it amazing that we refer to him that way even though we also know he fell short several times – affairs and lies and murders. This is a good reminder to us, so we know we are always welcome in the arms of our Father).
The Lord pursued King David as a child and as an adult – not only did God see something in the youngest son of a family and the smallest brother but during David’s life, God showed him who he was and who he is. God delivered David from the paw of a lion and the paw of the bear (1 Samuel 17:37) and then the Lord was with David as he defeated Goliath without a spear or sword (1 Samuel 17: 40-51).
I believe that as King David faced hard and unknown circumstances, like hiding from King Saul, not once but twice (1 Samuel 21-23), David already knew the character of God. God built a relationship with him and out of that relationship we are blessed with some beautiful, emotional, and awe-inspiring Psalms.
I think there are so many stories in the Bible that teach us this same principle over and over and over again.
Take a look at Jonah, a prophet chosen by God but who chose to do the opposite of his commission, at first. Then the Lord delivered him from a belly of a whale, talk about trust that was created – Jonah cried out to the Lord after he willingly chose opposite and the Lord answered. Relationship. (See the Book of Jonah)
What about Joshua and Caleb – the ones who sought after and entered the Promised Land when the one (Moses) who led them there never entered. I find their story and relationship with God inspiring. Why? These two had something the other spies didn’t…perspective.
(See Numbers 13 & 14)
Joshua and Caleb experienced the same things as the other spies Moses sent: they lived a series of miracles in becoming free as they witnessed God move in Egypt; they crossed the Red Sea, ON DRY LAND (hello, does any else see how this is not possible?) …see Exodus
But the difference: Their perspective on their relationship with God. It was simply: he had moved in the past so he WOULD move now. No Big Deal.
There was a trust and a bond that had been built and it was there that Joshua and Caleb put their focus, their FAITH..
There are repeated stories of relationships being built overtime with God throughout the scripture. I challenge you to think of a bible character and then pull out the scriptures, the living word, to discover more about them from the perspective of the relationship and trust they had with God. And then, think about now, as in today, how can that apply to you?
I would like to believe the same for me, that the Lord is continuing to mold me to be like Joshua and Caleb. As with any relationship it’s not something immediate or solidified overnight; it’s a relationship that has been being built over time.
Sometimes my growth happened overnight and sometimes gradual but all the same it’s been strengthened. As my relationship in the Lord has been strengthened and more depth created, my faith grows. Faith grows even in the valley or in what some may consider suffering. And because of faith in who I know Jesus to be, in any circumstance, I experience the love of my Savior.
So, when people ask me if it’s hard for me to leave Townes with others and trust others with him after all he has been through, my answer is no. (let’s be clear, some days are easier than others…)
While it’s true, I learned very early in becoming a new mamma that I had to leave him, I had no choice but to trust the professionals. I had to trust these doctors and nurses when his condition presented life threatening moments, when the alarm bells rang and the nurse practitioners came running to act quickly, when they wheeled him away for his transplant, when they told us to go home (GO HOME?! Are you serious….Let it be noted, Scott and I disagreed about this) during his open heart surgery to rest for the next day because Townes would need us.
Ultimately, though, it was in the Lord where all my trust lies. Why? We have a relationship and he had proven himself over and over and over to me. He had moved in the past so he would move now.
Townes turned 7 months this past week… I think his top two teeth aren’t’ too far behind. He is loving toys, although you know for only a few minutes each. He is sitting up really well on his own, but would much rather you help him stand. We took our first road trip to Birmingham to see his Grams, Pops, Uncle Jon Jon and Aunt Ashey and he met the oldest member of our family, Snoop. And let’s just say our trip home had some memorable moments of their own and everyone at the Peytonsville Gas Station got a very very good laugh.
At the end of this month, we will be at the 6-month post-transplant mark! Another big milestone and hopefully our doctors’ appointments where he has an Echo, EKG, blood work and all vitals taken each time will move from every other week to once a month! I sing a Hallelujah!
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:24-27