Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Twelve Years Ago...

Twelve years ago this week was one of the worst weeks of my life.

I remembered that this morning as I drove my son to school.

Twelve years ago this week, we discovered that our 3 month old son was not going to be able to survive without a tracheotomy. Within a few days' time after we learned that, he was trached and recovering in intensive care for the next several days. I-- who had never left his side since he was born on July 29th-- hid out. I refused to go to intensive care to see him. I was frightened of him, afraid the trach had somehow altered him beyond recognition. I didn't think I could handle the first time I saw him cry with no sound.

So I ran. I told people (because it sounded better than the truth) that I was taking the time that he had bedside nursing care to be with my other children, who were just 2 and 4 and missed their mother. I didn't want to admit that I was scared of an infant with special needs-- afraid that God had somehow made a huge mistake and I couldn't, in fact, do this job He had called me to. I didn't want to have a son with special needs. I didn't want his voice to be gone. I didn't want to have to suction him out and change his trach tube and all those specific care issues I was going to have to learn. I didn't want him to be different. I didn't want people to stare at us when we went out.

In the end, I realized I didn't have much choice. I sucked it up and went back into that hospital. I walked through those doors with my heart in my throat, wishing the floor would swallow me up. I found him in the arms of our favorite nurse as she rocked him in a rocking chair. He had just moved back to the floor from intensive care. It was Halloween day, 1996. A fitting day, as nothing was more terrifying than that.

He had the trach for two years before he outgrew his need for it. By the time he got it out, it was second nature to me. His care no longer intimidated me. I could change a trach and carry on a conversation at the same time. I no longer feared my child, no longer worried about what people thought. In the end, I could have cared less. I changed so much through that journey we walked through, drawing closer to God, becoming a person I never knew I could be. One I never would have chosen but wouldn't trade for anything, now.

This morning as we drove to school, just the two of us, a Bebo Norman song came on. In the seat next to me, that same little boy sang along unselfconsciously. "I will lift my eyes, to the Maker of the mountains I can't climb." In that moment, past and present collided as I listened to him singing. Once upon a time, he was that mountain I thought I couldn't climb. I smiled as I listened to him sing to the One who brought us both to the other side. And then I sang along.
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Anonymous said...

Marybeth, this is one of the most beautiful posts you have written. Thank you for sharing.

K said...

Amen! Your post was like a prayer for me. I know those fears. Thank you.

Debra said...

Thank You for sharing your heart!
A beautiful story..
Love and Blessings,

KelliGirl said...

Thank you for your honesty. This is a beautiful story! I love the Bebo Norman song, too. God is so good.

BTW, I made the apple crisp you shared a week or so ago. It was DELICIOUS!!! The recipe is a keeper.


JottinMama said...

Oh, Marybeth. I was so blessed by your story. Thank you very much for sharing your heart with us.

Have a wonderful week :)

Sweet Blessings,

Jill said...

Thanks for sharing. Think I needed the reminder that sometimes the very mountain we fear and want to avoid is exactly where God wants us. Thanks for the encouragement!

Deb said...

Hi Marybeth,
Your post was just beautiful. As a pediatric nurse, I often see parents in just this situation. Your story let me know once again, that what is sometimes "routine" in my line of work is life altering for someone. I never want to lose touch with that reality. Your feelings of doubt, fear and uncertainty are completely "normal" what is never normal is the hurt you feel when your child is in danger or hurting. Thanks for sharing your heart! You are a good mom, and you're so good to all of us!

Jerralea said...

Thanks for sharing MaryBeth. It reminds me of a struggle we went through with our daughter. At the time, it seemed like a bad thing to go through, because we all want our children to be perfect. But now I see it wasn't that big of a deal. (Your struggle was much more a challenge than ours. My child had crossed eyes and had to wear eye patches in public and then had surgery at age 2.) What was I so worried about? Today, not only does she not have to have glasses but her vision is just fine. She has grown up to become a really attractive woman of God. God took care of us and taught me a lesson also. It's not about what we look like on the outside. I knew that intellectually but inside my mother's heart it was different. I loved my child so much that I wanted perfection and instant acceptance for her wherever she went. But we live in a real world and have to deal with rejection. Sometimes God allows us to go through these challenges to learn to overcome.

Ok, I'm rambling on now, but just wanted to say that I totally understand your feelings.

Melanie said...

Thanks for opening the window to what was a painful time. God truly does make all things beautiful in His time.

Holli Seitz said...

I enjoy reading your blog and thought you might be interested in an upcoming invitation-only webinar for bloggers being held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It will focus on ways you and your family can protect yourself against the flu, and will be held on December 2 from 2-3 p.m. EST. Please save the date and watch for your official invitation e-mail from hseitz at cdc dot gov.

Anonymous said...


Consider this your invite!! Hope you’ll join in with us!

I am looking for as many people as we can find that would like to participate in a bloggy “Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving.” I dreamed this idea up as a way to give thanks to the Lord for His work in each of our lives by sharing our testimonies with the world wide web on Monday, November 24, 2008. That’s the Monday before Thanksgiving guys! Many of you may choose to leave that post up for the entire week and I encourage that. My prayer is that this sharing of our testimonies will not only encourage each other and give Glory to our Lord but also to those who happen upon our blogs.

For more info on how it’ll work go here:
(That reads “The Mouth Behind The Moose”

Hope your testimony will be there too!!

Grace & Peace,
Heather Twitchell
Swallowing A Moose

Anonymous said...


Thank you for opening your heart and sharing. I also live in that special needs world. Sept. 2001 my daughter who was born typical suffered a brain injury and is full care disabled. Her injury is similar to CP. She is a blessing but boy did we go through a transformation. We lived in a Children's hospital for 12 weeks and became very comfortable. WE had to learn all of her care and how to deal with our emotions, fears, and disapointment. WE questioned GOD and what he was doing. The blessing in all of this is that my relationship with CHrist has deepened and grown is such a way that I am not sure it would have. My daughter was 18 months when this occured is now 8.
SHe is such a blessing and joy. She suffers many medical problems but we continue to praise GOD for his many blessings. HE constantly delivers us from our pit!! Don't get me wrong there are days when it is so hard to pray because we have seen many prayer requests go unanswered or heard the answer of "NO" WHOA>>>that is a hard one. There are days when I sit in my shower and weep. Where am I going to get the strengh, patience, and endurance to run this race I have been unvoluntary entered into?? GOD IS GREAT and it is HE who does his glorious works in us. This is such a hard life currcumstance to live out but we do to the best of our ability. I enjoy reading all of the P31 blogs and get the devotions. They are such a blessing to me. Thank you for your ministry and may you be blessed!!

Tricia in KY

Ariel Allison Lawhon said...

I love that song. LOVE it!

Rona said...

Wow. That is so powerful.

Miss Sandy said...

Marybeth, your story gives my buoyancy for the journey our family has been called to with a special needs child. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal yet victorious journey. Bless you.

Brumbemom said...

Those completely honest comments are so refreshing. Thank you for being so open. It is so encouraging.

Laurie Ann said...

What a beautiful post, straight from your heart. I'm so glad he outgrew the need for the trach! That Bebo Norman song is a good one!