Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Foot Surgery, Moving and Open Heart surgery...

I mean the title has gotta be some kind of joke right?

Nope this is our world right now. Since Labor day weekend we have been cleaning, packing, Hosting beautiful friends, rearranging rooms and planning towards a restful end that was to begin mid October. Here I am the other side of most of the frenzy and Clinging to God and his faithfulness to us.

I am sure that each day would take me under outside of Him. Three weeks ago, tuesday Phoenix had a foot surgery that went perfect, not an issue to be found. It is rare that I feel thankful for Phoe's inability to feel below his waist, but these past weeks I am. They moved bones around and cut his heel cord to loosen up the tightness and realign his foot to a neutral position. If that lingo is way over your head ( which I understand), it was a surgery to align his feet for standing and sitting correctly in all his equipment and will help with correct posture and a long list of other benefits.

Hospital life is so much a part of who we are that I feel used to the realities of it. Surgery is another world that I forget the realities of, until I am in the midst of it. Mike and I handle Big situations the same way. By that I mean we always struggle with the same things. I get anxious towards the end of waiting and I hate the idea of Phoenix waking up without us there. He stays calm through the surgery and I watch tension overtake him as soon as Phoe's in our presence. So we are always learning to help one another through the bumpy moments. This surgery was basic and short only an 1 1/2 but in reality from start to finish, it's 4 plus hours before we're all settled into our room.

Needless to say I knew that Penelope's heart surgery would be a fierce reality check for me. I was both ready for the inevitable open heart surgery to be over. And the meltdown I anticipated coming after. We have been waiting 6 months for this day and at the same time buying up every ounce of life before surgery. Here we are a week on the other side of it and I am still processing through. Actually wanted to delete and rewrite this post a million times, because there is so much I can say about all the changes we have faced, but instead...

I want to say THANK YOU !! Thank you to all of you who pray, love and encourage us, we know the strength of these prayers and relationships. I have just begun to realize how overwhelming our life can be from the outside looking in and how I can feel the ability and Grace to walk through each day without a breakdown is only because of God's strength and people who walk beside us both physically and afar. We are constantly thankful for the way God has chosen to build our family and for our beautiful children. With all of our lives weighty decisions and the constant state of waiting we live in, I am thankful for an ever present God and a community of the richness of Grace and care! We have been blown away!

We moved into a home about 5 minutes away. Some of our close friends are renting it to us and we are excited to have a New, wide open space. We have had tons of help and continue to have offers for help, thank you everyone. So now we are SLOWLY settling in. Rowan, Phoenix and Penelope are all settling into life and we will hopefully return to life as we know it sooner than later.

In closing, I want to say a couple things that I have grasped and learned through the WIld ride this last month plus has been.

1. LIVE in a place of DEEP THANKFULNESS at all times there is room and so much in this day to day life to be overwhelmingly thankful for.
- I met a family who has lived the entirety of their beautiful son's life in an a hospital (intensive care unit) room. 12 long months with no promise of ever bringing their son home. THAT is not our reality, Thankfulness and compassion overwhelm me!

2. God is always present, always waiting and always listening to those who cry out to him. He loves to pour out his Grace and to break in to our moment to moment life. Prayer works, Trust in it!

3. That Miracles happen everyday in forms we are TOO familar with, like the medical field. BUT let us not overlook the MIRACLE that they are. My daughter has a NEW HEART, because of a Surgeoun's hands, brillant minds and most of all a Sovereign God who gives all ability and wisdom.

4. That we Reuwers are a loved family and graced with so much richness in family and friendship, it can be overwhelming, but I am so THANKFUL.

There is SO SO much more but I'll save it for another post 3 months from now, ha ha!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Penelope Promise is here, it only took me ten weeks to write about her!!

Oh Penelope!! She has taken my heart on a WILD ride, I am so in love! For the first weeks it was painful to put her down, so unnatural feeling actually. I felt with every passing moment of staring, starry eyed at my girl, that something deep was happening within my heart. It was and is!

This is the first time in 4 years that we took our baby home from the hospital. Hearing our baby cry and picking her up at the first sound, is a gift. It brings with it so many emotions to watch her move her legs wildly, to kiss her face with no tubes, to hold her close without monitors whispering or blaring at me, to nurse her whenever I want, not because someone told me too, to snuggle her with no interference, to kiss her, love her without fear or anticipation of the hard road ahead and to be me without someone watching over my shoulder in a curtained off area.

This is a small list of the beauty of her life and the restoring power it has had to my heart. I knew that having Phoenix in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was hard on my heart and a crazy 3 months, but Penelope has been a vivid reminder of that painful time. Such a stark contrast and I am savoring every moment and allowing myself to feel at the deepest levels, the loss of those days at home with Phoenix. Moving forward in Joy and resoration! I love it.

Penelope Promise is so sweet,lovely,cuddly and chubbing up good. We are attached, she goes everywhere with me and not just cause she's nursing, I am just enamored and enjo having her by my side. Looking forward to all that is to come for her life and the Promises it holds.

Don't worry I still ADORE my boys, they are precious in everyway and adjusting in their own ways.Phoenix is growing stronger each day and I am amazed by his progress and his determination. He inspires me daily with his strength and desire to work hard at reaching new milestones. He just started smiling at me instead of screaming everytime I looked his direction. He became very attached to Mike while I was pregnant for many reasons, but mainly because physically i couldn't tote him around all day. Papa willingly did and does always. He's so committed to him not feeling left out, just the other day he was playing football with him in one arm while throwing with the other. Superman indeed, with a Super heart, love him so.

Rowan, is showing his need for attention in totally different ways, he loves me and follows me closely if I am available. I love who he's growing into as a brother and son. He often asks to hold Penelope and makes Phoenix laugh consistently. I love his compassionate nature. He wants me to look and watch every new thing he does (this might be a 4yr.old thing), which is helpful for me to stop and give him my attention.Discovering that he is cute, we've caught him making faces in the mirror and smiling often. As well as discovering what he is capable of doing!

Life has only picked up the pace in most ways. Hard to believe we've been back in Wisconsin for 9 mo. and I am continuing to smile at the craziness of our lives, always changing! Phoenix therapy schedule and the additional daily routines added to us. We are so grateful to be a part of life here and to continue watching our lives unfold as they will!

Mike and I are doing well and are getting away for an overnight this weekend for our 6 yr. anniversary.Been thinking back on the highlights of each year, so thankful for Mike and how perfect he is for me! WOW, it has been an extraordinary 6 years and I have loved all that God has done in us through the trials and blessings!! I am more ecstatic today than I was the day I married him, to spend the rest of our lives together. He is my best friend and we make a GREAT team, most days =}

We love you all and thank you for reading, loving and praying for us.
Monday, February 14, 2011

Waiting on life unfolding!!

Some weeks blow me away with the stories I hear about friends of friends or even the very interaction I have with friends and family here.

Stories of an Aunt being a surrogate for her niece, what a gift and honor. A father who lost his wife and daughter in a car wreck and his unshakeaable Fatih. Two friends in the last months and days of pregnancy, whom lost their baby girls moments too soon. A dear friend who has grown children taking on fostering a toddler and a preemie and all the heartache and hardship of that season of life all over again. A precious friend who is fighting for a "new job/ path", but loves deeply and gives all that she is to others without limits.

Seriously, I could go on and on. I am in awe and wrestling heartache with all of them. I love the generosity of these people and their stories make me so thankful and honored to be a part of there journeys. I have found great encouragement from talking and walking with them and it has seriously brought forth Gratitude and Prayers for the blessing of each moment.

I would love to expound on all these stories, but know that most of you are here to read about us and all that we have been upto, since I am totally slacking on the writing end of life. Days fly by, ok Months fly by in our house!

I could sum up this last few months as Waiting on the process! Since I am pregnant it is an obvious parallel, but it has been the theme and seems to transcend into all areas of our family. So my tip and what I am learning is... Trust God and Enjoy the process, cause time always provides growth in us. Growth of Trust, Character, Hope and deeper understanding that the process has GREAT purpose!

Here's the updates:

Mike: He started school in January, full time with the goal of getting the credits he needs to apply for PA (Physician Assistant)school. That is the long term goal as it will be about 2 years from now at least. We will know more as the process progresses. The decision to do this was a process that began at boot camp and concluded with him breaking his wrist in the military. Through the waiting game we really saw the Wisdom of God in him moving forward in this desire of his and the benefits to our family even today. He is loving school, he is a really great student and enjoying the outlet of learning. He ends up being at school two days a week (7am-7pm) and then is able to be home with me and the boys the other days. Well not that we are all actually ever home that much together, with all the appointments and therapies. But I love having him around, I am so thankful.

As far as his wrist goes. It is currently showing a cyst and 2 tendon tears, which they are hoping to repair through a surgery this summer. The Dr. believes they will not heal on their own and he is still experiencing pain. Again, we are waiting to make any decisions until the summer is here!! Oh the process.

Rowan also started school in January. Mon-Fri 830- 1130. He loves it while he's there, but has really been struggling with the transition emotionally. He is such a joy, we are constantly laughing at his growing vocabulary and facial expressions. Oh my does he know how to work his cuteness, including his Dimples, WOW!! He has been coming into who he is more and more. I love watching him interact in different settings. He takes a long time to warm up to new people and environments, is not a big group person, he is a definite people watcher, content to play by himself, and confident of his likes and dislikes. Aww, I so love him and our relationship, he still loves to cuddle me and tells me that my belly is so cushy, he is not ever laying on my belly, but on my chest, which is definetly more "cushy" than usual. ha ha! He loves to wrestle and build towers out of the couch cushions... Super hereos are the BEST in his eyes and he loves to dress up in his costumes as them!

Phoenix is Amazing us daily in all his changes. Both Physically and Mentally. For a long time it has challenging and discouraging for me as a parent. Mike and I have cried many nights at this stage of life. We are learning to allow ourselve these moments. Grieving for Phoenix's challenges in this life allows us to see the BEAUTY, Gift and Strength of his life and the honor of caring and encouraging him to not dwell in his differences.

He is a toddler, he's suppossed to be toddling, playing with other kids, all up in the cupboards and everything else that can drive us crazy as Mom's. But most days he is confined to one of his four different seating arrangements. And of late the one that is my hip has been semi out of service.

Leading to so much frustration on his end, but we have seen him grow in strength from all the sitting and learning to play independently. His Core strength is a Major issue for him, and we have been working 21 months now on him sitting strongly and independently, which he is doing!! There is celebrating in our hearts here!! The beginning of many new strides for him, next will be rolling over, which will increase his upper chest, shoulder and arm muscles. So that in due time he can learn to army crawl. All this work towards a milestone that most children reach at 6-9 months. These are the daily waiting challenges for both Phoenix and us.

Officially we have gotten his wheelchair all fitted and Phoenix is in LOVE with the independence it brings. Rowan likes to push him around in it. It gives them both new roles and the ability to interact. At this point we use it mainly within the house and we will slowly begin to take it with s outside the house in months to come.

Phoe is making lots of crazy noises(we've been doing Speech Therapy 1x a wk.), loves to wrestle with Papa and Rowan,finally has gotten more teeth, smiles all the time and has a determination that causes so much admiration in my heart!! He loves to flirt and loves all attention, such a little ham. Currently prefers Mike, thinks he's the BEST PAPA there is, which is true!!

As you can see we are always changing and growing as a family. Thankful for the blessings of this season. Waiting to see our lives unfold as they will and learning to Trust that life is BEAUTIFUL no matter how challenging. These trials for Phoenix make us appreciate the ease of many things we take for granted.

Such as our healthy Baby girl coming in just a month or so!!! Mike and I can not even fathom how in LOVE we are gonna be.

Thank you for all your love, prayers and support!! We are thankful!!