Gallbladerless Gal

*** {Warning, Post Op Photo} ***

So somewhere on the way to the weekend I lost my gallbladder. Okay. Well not somewhere. In operating room 4 at Tacoma General. But that’s sorta how I feel.

Started the week out normally. Breakfast and coffee with some friends. And then BAM.

Gallbladder attack.

I was in the ER by Monday evening being diagnosed with gallstones. Before they diagnosed me I did a whole heck of a lot of puking and crying and writhing in pain. In fact, the pain sent me into a full blown panic attack and I lost sensation in my arms, legs and face. Breathe, Kate. Breathe. I did get to hear a guy doing some sort of illegal drug or money deal on the waiting room public phone, though. That was entertaining.

They sent me home with some pain meds and said it would most likely happen again. {So buckle up?} They were right. The pain persisted.

So we went back in to the ER on Thursday morning at 9:30am. They gave me some pain meds and ordered another ultrasound. The results came back by 11:50 and then we sat. And sat. And sat. Our nurse, who was a little too cool for school {and never even introduced himself}, told us at noon that the results were back. It took two hours to get the doctor to read them and the surgeon was never even contacted until we kept pushing.

We finally saw the surgeon at 5:15. He asked, “Why am I just getting this now?” Great question. We fired our nurse and got a new one. He was great even though he was a WSU fan. He got me meds, dinner, water, and happiness. He even told us a story about his grandpa meeting his grandma at a military dance in Boston in 1940 during the war. When his g-pa went back home to WA he sent his lady love a train ticket and asked her to marry him. She came. And she married him! He musta had some mad skillz on the dance floor! I also got to FaceTime and make piggy faces with this little stud muffin:

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I digress.

During that time I was given toradol for my nausea and headache. It gave me a horrifying panic attack. Suddenly I felt trapped. I wanted to rip my IV out and run. I felt like I was dropped off at a summer camp I didn’t really want to be at and I couldn’t leave. I felt like my surgery was hours and an eternity away and like I was certainly going to die in the morning. No joke. It was awful. I started crying and Jason was trying to understand, but explaining it made me even more panicked so I just had to close my eyes and pray and try to sleep. Holy crapola.

I woke up feeling a little more calm but still anxious. They finally got us a room upstairs and we were transported there by “The Transporter!” Isn’t that a movie title? Surprisingly the transporter just brought us to a plain looking hospital room and not another dimension. I got situated up there and tried to sleep in between tons of interruptions.

It reminded me a lot of our extended stay at the “Hilton General” when I was pregnant with Liam. How I did that for forty-four days is so far beyond my comprehension and so deeply a testament to God’s amazing grace. Because even one night and I was OVER IT! Nothing like someone “knock-knocking” on your door every few hours in the middle of the night. And why do we say “knock-knock” while simultaneously knock-knocking? Oh to be woken up to have IV’s ripped out of one location and jammed into another at 11:30 pm.

My surgery was supposed to be at 8am. 8 came and went and I started to get anxious that we wouldn’t get a spot. But shortly after 8:30 my beautiful and kind surgeon came in and introduced herself and said we would be going back soon. Some nurses came about a half hour later, got me prepped, waited while Jason prayed over me, and then wheeled me to the OR.

That’s a different world, entirely, isn’t it? So stark and bright and white and cold. My nurse was very sweet. And then I met my anesthesiologist. Sneaky ninja was talking to me about the Dolphins and the Seahawks and then he said, you’ll start feeling your medicine about mid-sentence and then drift off to sleep. “Okay doct-” Zzzzzz.

And then I was with Tracy in the recovery room. Getting Vasoline on my lips and ice chips and talking about Baby Liam and counting down the time until they’d bring me back to Jason. The surgery was laparoscopic, they made four small incisions and I was home by 4pm. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’m in some decent pain today so I called the nurses line and they upped my dose. And that’s all she wrote!

Last Saturday I had my gallbladder. This Saturday I am the Gallbladderless Gal. Who knew? Here’s a pic for the not weak of heart {I actually don’t think it’s that bad!}

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Prune Us!

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I got this message today from a friend that loves Jesus. She does not go to my church, but she knows what is going on and took the time to write this to me. It was SUCH an encouragement. It means so much to know there are SO many praying for us and rooting for Jesus to lovingly prune us back so that we can be healthy.

“Healthy things grow, growing things change and change will always bring challenge. God’s pruning, though painful at times, is necessary for our growth. You were on my heart as I worked in the garden this morning. If anyone makes man their god they will be shaken when man falls, but those who serve vigorously with a pure heart will stay rooted like a tree planted by the river’s edge shouting: ‘I shall not be moved.’ Do not allow man to move you out of position. God sees you and what is for you will still be. Let the walls crumble around you as you kneel praying, ‘Worthy! God in all you are still worthy!’ I do not like to cut back flowers. They ‘look’ so beautiful but they become overgrown and out of control and the root system can become suffocated. While it appears healthy, if not pruned it will die. Praying for you during this seasons of growth. Love you, my friend.”

In the Valley

To My Mars Hill Family:

Near and far. Past and present. At closing churches and at ones hanging on. To those that have stayed and fight on for Jesus’ legacy through our church…

I love you with my whole heart.

In the valley, Oh God, you’re near
In the quiet, Oh God, you’re near
In the shadow, Oh God, you’re near
At my breaking, Oh God, you’re near

Oh God, you never leave my side
Your love will stand firm for all my life

In my searching, Oh God, you’re near
In my wandering, Oh God, you’re near
When I feel alone, Oh God, you’re near
At my lowest, Oh God, you’re near

Height nor depth nor anything else
Could pull us apart
We are joined as one by your blood
Hope will rise as we become more
Than conquerors through
The one who loved the world

-Citizens

Listen here.

On Comfort and Conviction

“…the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.” {1 Samuel 2:3b}

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” {1 Samuel 16:7}

I find both comfort and conviction in these verses.

Comfort. “A state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. The easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.” {Google Definition}

I am currently in a season where it is comforting to know that the LORD sees the heart of man. That HE is a God of knowledge that weighs all actions, that knows all motivations, that looks straight in on the heart. This is reassuring to me as I wait patiently on the LORD to answer questions that I have. I find peace in knowing that the “Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” And here it is AGAIN: “He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

These two verses close with a third verse. In it is a very certain promise: “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who were called according to his purpose.” {Romans 8:26-28, emphasis mine}

There is comfort in the uncertainty and comfort in the waiting. Comfort is there for me if I look for it and if I ask for it. I am crying out for comfort right now. I want to be comforted by the knowledge that HE knows and that HE sees and that HE helps. He is in CONTROL. Here’s the context of the very first verse that I posted at the beginning:

“My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in the LORD. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There is none holy like the LORD; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and exalts. He raises the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s and on them he has set the world.” {1 Samuel 2:1-8}

Lest I fear, let me be reminded that the earth and everything in it is the LORD’s. {Psalm 24:1}

Lest I doubt, let me be reminded that it is God who sets up and tears down. {Job 12}

Lest I worry, let me be still and know that He is God. {Psalm 46:10}

There is comfort in the midst of fear, doubt and worry.

Here’s the second piece. Conviction. Knowing that the LORD is a God of knowledge that searches hearts brings conviction.

Conviction. “The work of the Holy Spirit that brings godly sorrow over sin.” {my definition based on sermons and Scripture}

This brings me to my knees asking God to “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” {Psalm 139:23-24} If you know me, you know I use WAY too many exclamation points in my posts, emails and messages! I’m aware of it! I really am! And I’m working on it. See? But in all seriousness, when you find three sentences IN A ROW in the Bible with exclamation points, it’s time to pause and ponder. These verses were written with both passion and desperation. To be searched. To be tested. To be tried. To be led away from any and every grievous way of thinking. Search me! Know me! Try me! Know my thoughts! See if there is any grievous way in me! And lead me away from it and after you!

In seasons of pain. In seasons of confusion. In seasons of difficulty. I NEED Him to test and try me. I am convicted to not grow bitter {Hebrews 12:15}. To not lose heart {2 Corinthians 4:16}. To not assign motives to others without first checking my own {Matthew 7:1-5}. To not speak on things of which I have no knowledge {Job 38:1-2}. To not gossip or slander or speak foolishly {Proverbs 10:18}. To be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger {James 1:19}. To weigh my words {Ecclesiastes 5:2}. To test the spirits {1 John 4:1}. To not throw stones {John 8:7}. To rejoice with those that rejoice and to weep with those that weep {Romans 12:15}. It is from this place of both comfort and conviction that I can continue to seek wisdom, discernment, and answers to hard questions asked in love with pure motives.

I am convicted to keep on praying. Lord, let me pray more than I talk! Lord, hear my prayer that we might be ONE striving side by side for the gospel!

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in ONE spirit, with ONE mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” {Philippians 1:27, emphasis mine}

I am convicted to TAKE HEART because He loves us, because He promises peace in tribulation. And because He has overcome the world. {John 16:33}

 

 

WA TEN Mtg 8:6:14

How Much

Mentoring

I started to try and type this post on Facebook and quickly realized that what is on my heart is longer than what I can fit in a post. And then I remembered my old familiar friend: mcmiracle. Life has been so crazy that I’ve not had time to get on here {as much as I’d like} and share my heart {like I used to so often back in the good old days}. In reality, I’m still living the good old {crazy} days. I’ve got a 17 month old walking and talking and stealing my heart every day. I’ve got a {full time?} Origami Owl business that is rocking and rolling. And I’ve got my hubsters and best friend here with me in the eye of this craze-storm.

But I miss writing. On here. To y’all.

So tonight I’m on here to do just that. My head is buzzing with excitement because I just came from a meeting with six of my team members. Caveat: I’m not going to try and sell you anything. Or ask you to join my team. Or build a pyramid with me. Or donate your blood or drink Kool-Aid. It’s safe to read on. 

I’m just really humbled and blown away by the women that I’m getting to work with on this team. These women are funny, and bright, and creative, and engaging, and loving, and kind, and passionate, and goofy, and selfless, and humble, and confident, and adventurous. I learn from them. I love being around them. I am energized by them.

When I sit with my team {whether in person like tonight or all on the phone for our calls}, I have these moments where it feels like every experience, training, job and relationship I’ve had in the past has led to that very moment. I see skills from teaching, coaching, sports, admin jobs, customer service jobs, creativity and marketing—it’s like they’ve all converged in one place at one time.

“Your journey has molded you…and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don’t think you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.”

-Asha Tyson

I’m seeing women do things they never thought they could do. I’m watching them pursue areas outside of their comfort zone. Talking to people they’d never talk to. Going to events they’d never go to. Opening doors of opportunity they never knew existed. I’m watching them coach and train and lead one another. I’m watching them share and learn and grow together. I’m seeing them help one another {with no direct benefit in return}. I’m seeing them laugh and share stories and create new memories together.

I get emotional when I type this: there were seasons of my life in the last 10 years when I didn’t know who I was or what I was meant to do or if I’d ever have an impact on anyone else on this planet. I really struggled to find what I loved to do. In it all, God has been faithful to me. He has stayed with me. He has worked for HIS good and my joy. He’s trained me and equipped me. While Origami Owl is not the be all/end all of who I am as a human, it is a perfect match for me. This job and this opportunity and mentoring and leading and sharing and going and doing—this fits me like a glove.

And I am filled to overflowing. My cup literally runneth over. And I needed to share to give glory to God and to publicly thank Him for allowing me this incredible privilege and opportunity to mentor and work with these women.

Thank you, Lord.

WA TEN Mtg 8:6:14

 

Yes. And Amen.

“What sort of man is this that even winds and sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:27)

The disciples marveled. You had just previously called the disciples to follow you, despite the cost. You were honest that following you would not be easy. Then they followed you onto a boat. Then the boat got hit by a huge storm.

They freaked out and you slept.

Ultimately they freaked because they had little faith that you were in control; whereas you slept because you were fully confident that your Father was in control. “Perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

Where there is mature (maturing) faith, there is no fear (quicker repentance from fear). What can be done to me that my Father has not seen and allowed and ordained as a part of His perfect will for me?

Nothing!

The God that neither slumbers nor sleeps will never be caught off guard by my circumstances. I never have any cause for fear.

Never.

Because I trust in you I will never be put to shame. You will never forsake me or abandon me. Whether you allow the waves or rebuke the waves…

Yes. And Amen.

Increase my faith, Lord.

Happy 1 Year Due Date Day!

Yesterday we celebrated what would have been Liam’s One Year Birthday, or his “due date day.” He actually turned one on March 2nd, but it was really fun to celebrate yesterday with some of our friends and family that prayed us through!

I know so many of you are included in that category but are far away, so I wanted to send you pictures and “invite” you into the party to celebrate with us. With each milestone in Liam’s life we are reminded just how blessed we are that he is here with us, that he is doing so well, and that we have a son!

Liam is an amazing little guy. He LOVES laughing and making us laugh. He loves our doggies and food and lights. He’s on the move—not quite walking but cruising along furniture to beat the band. He loves his Daddy and shrieks when he gets home. He’s traveled with us to New York to meet our family and friends back there that prayed for us and he’s seen his uncle graduate from College in California and has road tripped it to Portland and is about to road trip it to Colorado!

He’s the light of our life and we are really enjoying him and being his parents.

I also wanted to tell you about something we did yesterday to give back. While we were in the hospital on bed rest, we were blessed to work with a high risk OB clinic here in town. We are still in touch with that clinic and decided that in lieu of birthday gifts for Liam, we would donate lockets (pictured below) in Liam’s name to this clinic. The lockets will be given to parents dealing with pregnancy complications and/or loss.

This is near and dear to our hearts, as you know. I’m able to get the lockets at my cost (with my new business), so each one is only $25. If you are interested in donating a locket in Liam’s name, please email me at mckenziek37@yahoo.com. I can take a credit card over the phone. I plan on placing the order by Friday so Thursday is the cutoff to pay.

Thanks again everyone for all your support and prayers and love this past year and a half. It really takes a village and we have the best village! ;)

Love you all!

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My New Biz-Origami Owl

So this is where I’ve been the last 3.5 months, friends. I’ve launched a new business and I’ve been crazy busy. I’ve had 24 “Jewelry Bars” since I signed up in mid-November and I’ve gotten to meet wonderful new people. I’ve had the privilege of building my team to four new {and amazing} designers and I’ve been able to make extra money that has been such a blessing to our family.

I thought I’d share some fun videos and pictures to give you a better idea of what I’ve been up to. Some of you don’t follow me on Facebook so you’ve had no idea what I’ve been up to!

This is an amazing video sneak peek of our new bold, colorful Spring line. We are adding over 150 brand new products including EARRINGS and twistable, interchangeable colored enamel lockets in pink, white, black and Origami Owl blue. If you have about 8 minutes to spare, it’s totally worth your time to check out our new line.

And here is a fun gallery of photos.

So beautiful, huh? If you’re interested in shopping my site, you can click here. If you want to learn more about the business opportunity, you can click here. And if you’d love to hostess a party {in person if you’re local or online if you’re not}, click here and then send me a message so we can get to planning!

Happy First Birthday, Liam!

Dear Liam,

It’s crazy that a YEAR AGO today I woke up at 2 am seeing stars with an undeniable pressure headache. I remember laying there and fighting the conviction I was feeling. I knew that my symptoms were indicative of a serious spike in blood pressure, but I also knew that pushing my nurse call button would most likely result in your immanent delivery—something we had been praying would be delayed for the past 43 days.

As much as we knew God was with us, {and as much as He had proven Himself again and again}, it was still terrifying to not know what was on the other side of that operating room. I pushed that button. And the nurses and doctors came and confirmed what I thought to be true—my body was done being the safest place for you. I could carry you no longer. As they prepped me for my emergency surgery, the tears rolled down my cheeks onto the sterile floor. The lights were bright. The hustle and bustle was robotic and chaotic and yet, organized.

As they held the mask up to my face to put me to sleep, I closed my eyes and said, “Okay Jesus…” I had no idea what was on the other side of that operating room. We didn’t know how you would arrive. If you would be able to breathe. If you would have any serious brain bleeds or complications. We had no idea what to expect…

And today we are celebrating your one year birthday. That is UNREAL. Not only was your birth story incredible, but the back story as well. There were so many days that we were certain that we’d never meet you, be your parents, kiss you or hug you.

But those days are gone. And you are here. And you are ours. And we have gotten to spend the last year living life with you, watching you grow, meet new milestones, and become the little man that you are becoming. It has been such a joy.

The joy is sweeter for us because of the heartache. I’ve been reading through old blog posts as we faced some of the challenges in the hospital a year ago when you came early…I found this quote I had blogged that so perfectly describes your whole story!

“The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God.”

Your conception and birth were so LUDICROUSLY impossible, son. Told we would never conceive. Failed transfer. Successful second transfer, but tragic miscarriage of your twin at 6 weeks with heavy bleeding. Broken water at 23 weeks. Early delivery at 29 weeks. COME ON! You can’t make that up. How are you here?

I found this other excerpt from a post that I wrote two weeks in to being admitted to the hospital. I was having a particularly difficult day.

“…we have had to have some incredibly difficult conversations.

Like the one where the intake nurse said, “I’m sorry. Viability is 24 weeks. You are 23 weeks, 4 days. I’m not sure what they will be able to do.”

Like the one where the doctor told us that our chances of our son surviving birth were less than 10% and chances of serious disability 100%.

Like the one where the neonatologist had to honestly walk us through what it would look like to swaddle our baby and spend his last moments alive holding him and saying goodbye.

Like the one Jason and I had a few days ago as we waited for the doctors to come and get me for an emergency c-section.

Me: {with tears streaming down my face} “Babe, he could die today.”

Jason: “I know.”

Long pause. Silence as we look into each other’s eyes and let the gravity and weight of it hit us. It’s too much. He squeezes my hand. We are terrified.

Me: “But if he makes it, I will be recovering from surgery so I want you to go be with him.”

Jason: “I don’t want to see him without you being there, but I will go if that’s what you want.”

Me: “It is. But I want you to be prepared for what he will look like. He will be hooked up to all sorts of machines and have cords and wires all over him. He will look scary.”

Jason: “He will look like my son.”

Raw.

These are the conversations we have had to have and the circumstances we have had to deal with and the emotions we have had to address. Facing the possibility of your son’s death is impossible. Impossible, friend. It’s too much. It chokes the air out of you. It turns the world black. And upside down. Everything feels broken. And hopeless. And like you are losing control.

Enter Jesus.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

And, miracle of miracles. Our hearts are not troubled and our hearts are not afraid. We have a peace that passes understanding. Because of Jesus. The Restorer. The Redeemer. The Healer. The Comforter. He is good. He is good. He is good. He is good. Our promise is in Him. He loves Liam more than we ever could. He walks with us.

That holds true today. You didn’t die. You lived. And we praise God and give Him all the glory and all the thanks and all the praise. He has been good to us, we and we celebrate Him and you and the gift of being a family today.

Happy First Birthday, Lilo Man. We love you.

Mama and Dad

Here are some fun throwback pics from the last year!

One Year

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A year ago today, I was in the in-between. I had just turned 30 the day before {I still stare at this picture and look into my own eyes and want to tell myself to buckle up—there is something about my smile that is just so NAIVE!}. We had had a normal, quiet celebration at home. It would be a normal, mundane day. The details of which I cannot remember {other than eating ice cream cake for breakfast}. I remember being really tired that night {more than normal for a pregnancy, I guess} and going to bed at 8:30 or 9.

Four hours later I would wake up with really bad heartburn. I got out of bed, went to the bathroom, grabbed a few Tums and chewed them on my way back into bed. I laid down, and as I was pulling the covers back up I felt a huge gush! I lowered the covers to see what it was and SAW the second huge gush and that it was clear fluid.

I shook Jason awake, calm but simultaneously FRANTIC {I knew it was my water}. He helped me back into the bathroom where I continued to gush fluid. I said, “We have to go in right now.” I tried calling my parents. It was 4am in NY. No answer. I called again. No answer. I called my mother-in-law. She picked up, concern in her voice. “My water just broke. We’re going in.” She said she would meet us there. I got changed. Black yoga pants. My black fleece. My gray slippers. A blue three-quarter sleeve stretchy shirt. {Side note: I wouldn’t let anyone take the outfit home. The entire time I was in the hospital it hung in my closet. I wanted it to be the outfit I wore OUT of the hospital. It was—NOT my fav pic, but it illustrates my point}.

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The drive to the hospital was a short 5 minutes. Jason dropped me at the door so that he could go and park. I walked up to the desk {it all seems so surreal now—like I should have been running and yelling or something} and calmly said, “I think my water just broke. I’m 23 weeks pregnant.”

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I remember the young girl’s expression going from somewhat uninterested {after all I looked like any other schlep walking in to the ER in the middle of the night—not bleeding, crying, or yelling} to on high alert. She picked up the phone immediately and said, “I’m going to need someone immediately from L&D.” Before she finished taking my information, a young twenty-somethings nurse dude came out from the automatic doors pushing a wheel chair.

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It was for me.

“Oh, okay.” I thought. I see what you’re doing here. You’re taking this seriously. So this is serious. Okay. I mean. I knew it. But when they knew it {and they were the professional checker-inners}, it made it seem more serious. And then it just got more serious from there.

Side note: I remember starting to cry as they wheeled me down the hall into Labor and Delivery. I had toured that hospital only a few months before and had pictured “this day” as something different entirely. More jolly. And exciting. And less terrifying. And more timely? Or something.

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The first nurse came in and started asking questions. She was NO NONSENSE, ALL BUSINESS and somewhat intimidating. I remember her saying, “I’m so sorry that this has happened.” And something about “24 weeks being viability.” I didn’t know what that meant as far as what they would do for Liam if he tried to come that night. I wanted her to tell me he would be okay. That they would save him. I thought he was coming. I thought for sure he was coming. Babies come when your water breaks, right?

The doctor tested the fluid and confirmed that it was, in fact, amniotic fluid. {While I continued to gush on the exam table}. She was a resident that they had awoken from some sort of deep slumber. She looked very sorry too. She told me so.

While the doctor and nurses were in and out we got a hold of my childhood friend from NY who kindly offered to go over to my parents’ house in the middle of the night in the middle of winter to give them the news that my water had broken in the middle of my pregnancy.

No one wants to hear a knock on their door at 4 am. No one wants to be the one knocking. It was very kind of her and that’s how we got in touch with my parents to let them know what had happened.

After the medical team had concluded that my water had broken and that I was neither contracting nor dilated, they brought me to my very own room on the L&D hall. Little did I know I would return to that hall {after “living” in one other one for 44 days} to recover from delivery at 29 weeks and 5 days. I met Jan, my very first nurse, and she prepared me for what was to come with all of the antibiotics {to prevent infection} and steroids {to help Liam’s lungs}. My mother in law arrived. She sat with us and brought some calm and comfort to the situation. We were quiet a lot. I was cold and shivery a lot. I had to pee a lot {which was difficult since I was now hooked up to all sorts of wires and machines}.

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After a few hours they said they had to move me over to PCSU {my “real” home}. My mother in law headed home. Jason went to move the car to a more “permanent” location. I cried as they wheeled me there. The halls were empty and quiet. A few staff members passed me and looked down at me with obligatory/awkward half-smiles. When Jan left, I was scared. I wanted her to stay with me. I cried and said, “I wish you could stay as my nurse.” She looked back and said, “Oh, you will be just fine.” I could tell she wanted to say more—and that she was concerned for me. But she left it at that.

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It was somewhere around 5 or 6 am on January 18th.

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That was the beginning of the craziest 100 days of our lives. And this…THIS GUY…{my real life Superman} is the amazing result. Such a miracle and such a blessing. It’s pretty cool to be on the other side of this story now that we know how it ended.

I am reminded that God is always good. That God is always in control. And that He always knows what He is doing. Never once does He slumber. Never once does He “sleep on the job.” He has been exceedingly gracious and kind to me and to my family and I worship Him alone and give Him glory alone.

8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.9 The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. 11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. {Psalm 145:8-21}

Here is my first post that I wrote after being admitted to the Hospital. It was entitled, “Moving into the Hospital.” Little did I know…

{Side note: I am going to TRY and reblog each day’s post from last year on the date that I wrote it so I can remember the journey now that I’m on this side of it. This is mostly for my own interest because I want to remember all that God did, but feel free to join me if you’d like!}

Well, I figured it was time to update our blog family as well, since I’m not connected to you all through Facebook and you wouldn’t otherwise know what’s going on. We post to petition your prayers…

Yesterday morning, January 18th at 1am, my water completely, and unexpectedly broke. We rushed to the hospital to have this confirmed. During testing I continued to gush fluids. Doctors immediately began running tests on fluids, doing an ultrasound, monitoring fetal heartbeat and pumping in antibiotics and steroids. I was 23 weeks, 4 days. “Viability” is 24 weeks. For me, that will be Monday, January 21st.

I have now made it 34 hours with no signs of labor. My cervix is completely closed, no contractions, and no indications of infection. I’ve also had no more gushing since yesterday early morning. Jesus is answering our prayers.

Statistically, the situation is very serious. 50% of women go into labor within 48 hours of water breaking, and 90% go into labor within a week. If I were to deliver Liam before Monday, his chance of survival is as low as 10% with 100% chance of serious birth defects. If I make it past Monday, his survival chance goes up to 60% and risk of defect down to 30%. The main concern is pulmonary and whether his little lungs would be able to respond to intubation. Next concern would be hemorrhaging of the brain during labor.

That being said, my doctors {who have been hand selected by God and so unbelievably amazing, knowledgable, honest and yet encouraging}, are cautiously optimistic. It is FANTASTIC that I’m not presenting any signs of labor. It’s wonderful that Liam is continuing to have strong vitals and movement. I’m feeling him all the time and his little heartbeat is staying in the 150′s. I thought I had for sure lost all of my fluid, but the ultrasound indicated I still have a small amount-which is wonderful news. Additionally, I’ve not had any more gushing, which means that the fluids that were lost are being replenished. There have been no signs of infection, which is very important. Liam’s cranium actually measured yesterday at 24w3d. And most importantly, he weighed in at 590 grams or 1lb5oz, which exceeds the ideal minimum of 500 grams for the intubation tube. His size is a little bit advanced for his gestational age. Go, Liam, go!

Here is how you can specifically pray for our situation. We are overwhelmed by the prayer support and thank you for bringing Liam’s life and health before our Father in heaven!

Please pray that:

*I would not begin contracting especially before Monday, and for many weeks to come

*I would not develop any infection

*My membranes would reseal and completely replenish the amniotic fluid and sterile, safe environment for Liam

*Liam’s vitals would remain strong and there would be no fetal distress or sudden death

*Steroids and antibiotics would do exactly what they are supposed to do

*Doctors and nurses would be
given wisdom and would be agents of God in both mine and Liam’s care

*God would miraculously grow Liam more quickly than normal

*I would be in this hospital room for months to come, making it to at least 34 weeks

*Liam, Jason and I are able to rest

*God would provide financial favor through insurance and remainder of costs

*God would grant grace and peace for Jason as he sits by my side and for us both as we face the long journey ahead

*Many people would see Jesus through Liam’s story, including those we meet here at the hospital

Thank you.

Been singing this to my sweet boy this morning:

“No guilt in life
No fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry
To final breath
JESUS COMMANDS YOUR DESTINY.”

We are at peace knowing that our Father loves Liam more than we ever can and that every day for Liam is numbered by the King of kings and Lord of lords. The one who IS love. The one who IS faithfulness. The one who IS goodness. To Jesus be all the glory.

Happy 2014!

Hi, friends!

It sure has been a while. We had an amazing holiday season—and that’s where I’ve been. For the very first time we celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years as a family of three. It was pretty incredible. I remember the holidays being particularly difficult during all of our infertile years of wondering and so to actually share mashed potatoes and squash with him, to hold Liam and decorate our snowflake Christmas tree, to watch him rip open presents, and to say “Goodnight, I’ll see you next year…” all very cool. Very, very cool. Very special, indeed.

My folks have been with us since December 11th. We have had such a wonderful time together. They are naturals. Nana and Poppy BRING IT and little Liam is so loved. He lights up every time they walk in the door.

He is 30″ long now {born at 15 3/4″} and 20 lbs {born at 3 lbs}. Today he turned 10 months old. How is that possible, friends? He is CRAWLING! He crawled for the very first time on Christmas Eve {that will be easy to remember-thanks, kiddo}, and is talking gibberish, flashing his big {still toothless} cheese ball grin, and pretty much able to sit up now on his own. He’s developing a little personality and has a few tricks in his wheelhouse that he things are funny {including blowing bubbles on my neck}, and has also started CRYING when I take something away that he wants. :)

Jason has applied for a new job. He rocked his pre-interview testing and should be hearing very soon about his interview dates. I’ve also started a new job—I launched my own Origami Owl custom jewelry business {closed down coaching} on November 19th. I mentioned it last time I blogged, but I had no idea how quickly it would take off. I’ve been slammed and super blessed by the new people I’ve met, the extra income I’ve been able to make, and the fun I’ve had as I’ve worked on building my very own business from the bottom up. You can check out what I’ve been up to here or just go shopping right here! And you can follow me on twitter for fun pics, offers and updates @origamikate.

The best part has been working with people to tell their personal stories. I’ve never been huge on jewelry {in fact, when I launched the business I realized I had hardly worn any since Liam was born}, but I loved the personal touch and the fact that you could choose charms and plates and dangles to customize the lockets for you or the ones you loved. Since I’ve started I’ve gotten to work with a customer who made a locket as a tribute to her mother who passed away from breast cancer, a young mother whose doctor tried to convince her to abort her son diagnosed with Down-Syndrome and chose life instead, a friend who had a sister that beat endometrial cancer, a woman who had a horrific bike accident and is just starting to walk again. I’ve gotten to make lockets with pet owners, new mama’s, brides-to-be, and sweet husbands planning surprises for their special ladies. One customer even received her locket and loved it so much, she ordered one that very night for her mom. Every response has been so positive. People have CRIED, and I have too. This is about so much more than jewelry. Jewelry is just STUFF. But people’s stories matter.

Additionally, I’m starting to acknowledge that I was postpartum after Liam. There was a long period of time where the thought of being around people, going anywhere, or even showering EXHAUSTED me to the point of tears. I was not myself for a long period of time. I’m almost done nursing {just drying up} and I think my hormones have really started regulating. Having this business has really challenged me, it’s allowed me opportunities to get out of the house and meet new people {I had 3 craft fairs and 5 Jewelry Bars in 5 weeks AND made $500+ more than my personal goal}. I feel like this opportunity has enabled me to bring together a lot of my skills, talents, experiences, and gifts into one arena—and I feel awesome about it. I love working, I go to bed excited, and I wake up excited! It’s been really good for me, you guys. Being a Mama is my DREAM JOB. And it challenges me mentally and physically and emotionally in ways I never knew it would. AND at the same time, this new business uses different skills and it challenges parts of my brain that haven’t been challenged in a while. Like.

God had to do some convicting when I first started considering doing direct sales. To be honest, I was embarrassed to even consider it. I felt “above it” and didn’t want to be that person/friend/family member that everyone avoided. But as we prayed about it, I got more and more excited and felt like that was where God was calling me. We decided I could do it without being obnoxious, and it’s actually turned out that way. People have really approached me for the most part. This stuff has sold itself {but I’ve also worked really hard too}. Overall, I really feel like this is an opportunity that He has given me to be a blessing to others and to have some extra income for my son, his future, our family and my community. And I’m very thankful.

So that’s that.

Welp. 2014 is here. It’s pretty surreal. I’m about to turn thirty-one. So far 30 has been my favorite year ever. Our marriage is such a blessing to me—we bought a new house—and God gave us Liam. Man. I really am humbled by God’s grace. Last year when I turned 30, I had no idea that my water would break 2 days later. Can you believe that that entire journey we all went on last year started on January 18th? And it’s almost January 18th, 2014? What a difference a year can make.

That’s all for now, my friends. It has been a long while and I have genuinely missed you. I would love to hear from you and know how you are all doing if you get a chance.

XOXO,

Kate

End of November Check-In

Howdy friends! 

Well, if you’ve visited the blog at all lately, you’ve noticed that I have not been able to keep up with the initial “Amazing Grace” schedule that I set. As much as I love to spend the time writing the posts, I’m just unable to keep that schedule right now with the holidays coming and with some exciting new adventures that I’ve got going. This doesn’t mean it’s not ever going to happen. Just that it’s gonna be on hold until at least after the New Year. I’m still really excited to explore each of the aspects of the Works-Based and Grace-Based wheels as well as share the Real Life Evidences of Graces stories that I’ve got in the vault. But until then, I’ll probably just be posting shorter things like updates on our little Warrior {like he’s 5.3 seconds away from crawling and is almost 9 months old!!!}, fun things going on during the holidays AND my new business adventure with Origami Owl.

Hope you all have had a wonderful weekend. Thanks for grace and for understanding. I’m sorry for not following through on my proposed schedule! 

Please Excuse My Absence

Hello Bloggofriendos.

Please excuse my absence this past Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday on the blog. We had some exciting things going on…Liam’s first Halloween {Clark Kent}, his 8 month birthday {Holy Crapola}, and my parents arriving from NY after driving for four days.

I wanted to let you know that all of the posts will be updated by tonight {Sunday, 11/3}. In fact, I’ve already posted Week 2’s Memory Verse as well as Real Life Evidence of Grace #3: Illness. I’m finishing up last Wednesday’s post and hope to have it up by tonight.

Then this week, Week 3: Unbelief, will resume as scheduled starting tomorrow, Monday, November 4.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. And happy November! Enjoy these fun pics:

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 11.40.58 AM Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 11.41.25 AM Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 11.41.44 AM

Real Life Evidence of Grace #3: Illness

We are in the “Amazing Grace?” series.
For more posts, click on “
Blog Series” > “Amazing Grace?”
in the menu bar above.

Every Friday I will be sharing a “Real Life Evidence of Grace” Story with you. {Please forgive my delay in getting this one to you. I explained where was was last week here}. My heart behind these posts is to address the question that so many of us {believers and non} seem to have. “How could a good God let something so horrible happen?” Here’s a chance for you to read the stories of people who actually have had to personally wrestle with that question in the midst of their heartache, grief, disappointments, and loss or in dealing with the consequences of sin {their own sin or the sin of someone else}.

Because of the intensely personal nature of these Friday posts, I have chosen to disable comments. Out of respect to my friends who have chosen to share, I wanted to provide a place for them to do so without opening it up to potentially difficult or offensive responses. While that has NEVER happened on this blog because my readers are rad, I don’t even want to leave that open as a possibility. If this post strikes a cord with you and you would like to share some thoughts, ask some questions, or just contact me you can reach me at contactmcmiracle@gmail.com.

This is the sweet story of a sweet, encouraging, faithful sister in Christ who faced a very serious, life-threatening illness several years ago. I am very thankful to her for being willing to share her story with you.

1. Please briefly share your story.

Several years ago I suffered an unexpected ruptured brain aneurysm and as a result faced 11 hours of brain surgery.

2. What did your relationship with Jesus look like when this happened?

Up until I faced a health crisis that almost took me off of the earth, I barely gave God a second thought because I was too busy with career and selfish ambition. In an instant, my corner of the world suffered an apocalyptic moment.

3. What were some of the emotions/doubts you felt toward God and some of the questions/thoughts you had?

I had one of those “shaking the fist toward heaven” moments after I felt my world was shattered and I recall asking Him, “If You are really there, God, then why did you allow me to live?” I never wanted to be a burden to anyone and I felt like a tremendous burden to everyone I loved. My husband was a faithful believer and I guess I was sort of a one-day-a-week Christian, where you worshipped God in the pew of the church but didn’t give Him a second thought the rest of the week.

4. What lies did God expose that you were believing about Him, you, your future, etc? {i.e.: How did God work you through your natural emotions/response to this situation?}

At almost the exact moment of my “shaking the fist” moment, the telephone began to ring and it was my mother. I told her that I had shattered the bedroom light, that I was totally useless and she began to praise God. She said, “You are not useless, you are an answer to our prayers. Yesterday, you didn’t have the strength to get off of the bed and today you are breaking things! Praise God, He has answered this mom’s prayers.”

My mother went on to explain that literally hundreds of people {even strangers} had been praying for my recovery and she told me to focus on “one step at a time.”

5. What truth did God replace the lies with?

The Truth is that God believes I am worth it. Worth sending His One and Only so that I may truly live.

When my eyes were opened to “see” that, how could I quit before I reached the finish line? It took nearly 9 months to recover to the point of being able to take care of myself again.

6. What has God’s grace looked like for you walking out of this? {i.e.: How would you summarize what God did/is doing to have Himself/His grace be sufficient for you?}

I’d like to say that every day His Grace is sufficient but because I am only human, there are still some days that are so much harder than others. When family members fall ill or sudden death slips someone from my reach, it’s harder to just let His Grace soften those blows. Especially if there is a nagging question mark when someone asks me if they knew Jesus and if they were saved. God Grace has opened my eyes to see that I should evangelize to others, but if their heart isn’t ripe to receive the Holy Spirit, then I need to leave it up to Him and just shake the dust from my high heels.

7. What does your relationship with Jesus look like now? {How is it different/stronger than before?}

I believe when we accept Jesus as Lord over our lives, we are given gifts from the Holy Spirit. It took me awhile to “open” my gift of encouragement. I pray for others, daily. I have found as I use my gift, I receive more than I could ever give in return. I would encourage all believers to focus on their gifts and use them for God’s glory.