This is a follow up post from my recent piece titled, “You Don’t Remember”. Please read that first.
These months were the hardest months I would ever have to survive as a mother. Since the moment Cassidy was born, she had one medical crisis after another. My greatest fear with having another baby was Cassidy getting sick as much as she had while I was nursing and tending to my newborn. I was terrified to face it all, wondering how on earth I would manage. I could barely make it through these terrifying months with just Cass, and now I would be adding another precious dependent newborn. I prayed incessantly about this, and just weeks after giving birth to Cade- something far worse than my greatest fears transpired. It wasn’t just Cassidy sick, but Cade too. And the nightmare unfolded…
How could God allow this to happen?
I have been going through photo albums searching for pictures of Cassidy to share, and I came across this.
(Look at those sick eyes.)
The day Cade was born. Cass was so sick leading up to this very moment. Then weeks after Cade’s birth, my sweet boy had bronchiolitis. And sure enough, Cass then came down with another horrible virus… the one that ended her up in the hospital.
My first five weeks with a newborn.
Were the hardest weeks of my life...
Hours before she was admitted, I felt an intense urge to write my home church friends and ask for prayers. They had been bringing us meals and that was such a blessing. I had never reached out to the group in this way, but I felt the need to do it immediately after I got out of the shower. I ran downstairs and got on the computer to write this:
“Hello everyone- I am writing to you all first and foremost to thank you…I can’t tell you how much your meals and prayers and love and support have helped us this past month. We are so grateful to all of you for your amazing meals and all the time, effort and money you put into nourishing our family with food and comfort. I just received one of my bills that would include all our groceries/food needs for the month and it was HALF of what it usually is! I am crying just thinking of how amazing it is to think of the saving you gave us this month! As you all know, I am not working right now and I usually am in charge of paying for all our family’s food/nonfood items. Do you know what a difference this is for us? I can’t thank you ENOUGH for your total generosity in your giving and serving our family…
Through you, God has blessed us with this much-needed relief.
The next part of this letter is to ask for more prayers to come our way…
As you all know, weeks leading up to Cade’s birth- Cass was very ill. Since Cade has been born, we have since dealt with Cassidy being very sick for another two weeks and just as she recovered, Cade got sick. Well, this week- Cassidy became terribly ill again with fevers of 103 and horrific coughing and breathing problems again. She is so sick. It kills me to see her so ill, and I’m trying to cope with Cade still getting over his bronchiolitis at the same time. Cassidy is back on steroids and breathing treatments and antibiotics. She is truly a mess. I desperately need your prayers for my children’s health and for strength in their immunity. I feel like we are in this dark hole and can’t get out of it. Derek and I are stretched to our capacity. Quality time with God seems to be quick desperate pleas and thank yous for each passing day we manage to pull through.
I know this will pass. I know it will get better and that God’s Hand is on our family. I know that he is growing me in strength and faith with each trial. I also know that these children are HIS. And I place them in His Hands daily as I struggle to care for them. I simply ask you, to lift our family up in prayer in ways that I cannot right now. Thank you so much.
All my love to you and know how much I miss seeing you all and I miss my involvement in home group. I know that this distance will pass too. For now I’m grateful for you all filling in the ‘gaps’ for me.
Derek was watching Cassidy, who had finally fallen asleep on the couch. Although her breathing was laborious, and her coughing ensued- I was thanking God she was finally asleep after days of trauma and pain.
As I came up the stairs, Cassidy awoke in gasps and crying and I don’t believe I have ever seen her so sick. I picked her up as Derek grabbed the thermometer, took her temperature and looked at me with terror in his eyes as he said with an intensity I will never forget, “We are going to the hospital.” He wouldn’t tell me how high it was, for fear of me breaking down. My man is rarely affected by asthmatic trauma, because he lived it his entire life. But this time? The fever scared the hell out of him…
As we raced to the car and drove to the hospital, I started bawling. From the back seat came this whispery, raspy angelic voice…
“It’s okay mommy.”
How did she have the strength and maturity and sensitivity to reach out and comfort me? She was 2. And very very sick. This moment still baffles me. And blesses me.
It turns out the fever wasn’t the biggest scare after all. But it was the fever that got us to the hospital in time… to pump much needed oxygen into my sweet baby.
After transitioning her to the respiratory isolation unit and having the nurses hook her up to several machines and tuck her into her hospital gown and place her in a crib, I didn’t know how I would be able to leave her. I was terrified she would cling to me crying and I would have to peel her little hands off of me and turn and walk away. I was horrified at this very idea, and I truly believe God knew I wouldn’t be able to survive the separation I was faced to make. I could not put my baby through more trauma when she was already so fragile.
Somehow I managed to create this new excitement for a ‘sleepover with daddy’ as I put on the greatest act I have yet to surpass. I talked about the videos they would get to watch… “Dora! and “Blues Clues!!” I squealed with delight at the fancy bed she got to sleep in. I told her I would be back in the morning to hear all about her fun night’s stay! Absolutely terrified to walk away, I slowly stepped back toward the door, inching ever so slightly away from the crib…lingering too long, before I turned from her gaze.
“Have a fun night sweetie! Mama will see you tomorrow!”
And as I took a deep breath to go, she simply said…
I opened the door, closed it behind me and fell completely apart.
In that moment? God raised His Mighty Hand and gave me a miracle. For my little babe to allow me to depart from her and leave her in this hospital room so sick? For Cassidy to have said goodbye with such a peaceful cheer?
That was God’s sweet grace.
I think if she had been distraught over my leaving, I would have never been able to survive. God knew it. He carried me away from her… with that Divine moment.
I still look back in utter amazement.
This was the baby that never left my side. She constantly followed me out in the middle of the night to nurse Cade. She always desperately needed my attention, my comfort, and my presence. But in a cold, dark hospital room- having been through hell for six hours… sick with pain and debilitating asthma…
She said goodbye with not one hint of sadness.
Only God could do that. Only God.
After two nights in the isolation respiratory unit, my baby came home. Still very sick, but at least her oxygen was at a normal level now, so that scare was over. I was now faced with more nights of this horrible sickness as I also had sweet Cade in my arms to tend to as well. Apparently, God still held me in His Hands and gave me enough strength and insight to manage this letter to my church home group:
“Hello all my dear friends. I just wanted to send a quick note to let everyone know that Cassidy was discharged today from the hospital. Her oxygen level stabilized over night and fever lowered. She’s home now, and still very sick. For some reason, I had this fantasy that she would be all healed… Now we have piles of prescriptions to fill and we need to start where the hospital left off in caring and treating her. It looks like I will be a very busy mom with all her medication needs. My biggest fear is that Cade may have been exposed to something during all this time in the extremely infected areas of the hospital. The nurse was horrified to see that he did not have a mask on at all times. No one offered this until it was too late. Cade seems fine for now, and I can’t believe how God blessed us with Cade being an ANGEL during this entire trauma with Cassidy! I think he is finally over his sickness because his temperament as changed significantly! I can actually put him down without him screaming!! My prayer is that he continues to be okay… I just can’t even imagine all the things that he could have been exposed to at the hospital… pray for protection! I am confident that God has answered this prayer, but my human side still worries!
(Cade did not pick up any illnesses from the isolation unit!)
I am just blown away that you guys are thinking of still feeding us!! Unbelievable!!!!! You have served us in just the most abundant way- I can’t find the words to express my endless overwhelming gratitude for each and every one of you. Thank you…
From the bottom of my heart.
(Not only were we fed for two months, but also that saved us financially. Hospital bills are not small.)
I have to just share how incredible God is-
I felt this overwhelming necessity to write you all to not only express my gratitude, but more importantly I felt an intense need to ask for prayer. It was at this time that Cassidy’s temp was rising during her restless sleep and within minutes of sending my email, she awoke with 105.9 temp, listless and unable to breath. The timing of His Spirit awakening my need to pray for my baby literally as she was growing so ill during her sleep- is something I cannot humanly conceive. A truly Divine call. What a comfort to know that my Father in Heaven knew just what my baby needed and prepared me in so many ways for this intense experience as we headed for the hospital just minutes later. I truly believe her fever may have saved her from any damage the low oxygen could have had on her weak body. We had no idea her oxygen level had been so low! I thank GOD for getting us to the hospital. Had she not been fevering so high, we would have never thought to take her.
(I’ve always wondered what would have happened to Cassidy, had we never sought treatment with her oxygen level so low.)
Leaving Cassidy in the hospital was the hardest thing I have ever done. And God gave me great comfort in trusting her to His care, when I was forced to leave. He had prepared me for this big event when Cassidy had to go without me recently when she was sick— and Derek had to take her so I could stay home with Cade. That was the first urgent care visit, I had not been with my baby. I paced and cried for three hours not knowing if my baby was okay. I had to trust in Derek and God to take care of her. I got through that experience only to have a more intense one two weeks later. But God slowly prepared me for the hospital through the initial trial two weeks ago. He knew I needed a “step program”!
I know I am rambling…forgive me having to take you through so many words! I just keep processing all of this and seeing how God has been so real throughout all this messy, messy month. I am so blessed by His Love!
It’s in God I must trust to carry us through…
As I relive those frightful agonizing weeks, turned into months, turned into years- I realize I need to piece it all together in posts to come. There is so much about this little girl’s life, and my sweet boy’s journey that I must share the details of it all. I will dive into more of our story this summer, as I delve into the past with a bit of a quivering lip.
I am amazed at the strength and perseverance God gave me… This is a dab into the relentless season of parenting that engulfed my life for years, forcing me to grasp God’s mighty Hand with the fierce force of survival and surrender.
I lived on my knees.
And now I rise stretching with the angst of the memories.
Knowing full well, we have overcome.
And lingering still, it will always be.
As that song unveiled it all again