Who doesn’t love leftovers? Some would even argue that the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers… Everyone looks forward to them; they lighten the burden of future meal preparation and can instantly turn lunch hour into “happy hour” at work! Nothing beats the convenience of tossing a previously well-cooked meal into the microwave for a few minutes in order to indulge all over again; pair that with the comfort of eating in cozy pajamas on your own couch, and somehow the food tastes that much more delicious…
Thanksgiving was hard this year. ‘Family’ always tops the list of what we’re most thankful for, yet our family has been physically separated for months now; we so desperately wanted to be a family of four around the same thanksgiving table. I was missing my baby boy so much; my heart was throbbing with pain, like a beating drum that becomes deafening over time. It wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to silence my pounding headache, that I realized that once the twenty-four hour man-made holiday is over, the most important part is the ‘leftovers’ that remain. I woke up the next morning, with not only a fridge full of packaged turkey, corn, and mashed potatoes, but also with a wonderful husband, daughter, and son. Despite whatever trials the current day may bring, my children will forever be my cherished “leftovers” that I carry into each new day . Although they are temporarily “stored” in different locations, I will be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer until the day I can enjoy both Theodore and MacKenna simultaneously at home (Romans 12:12).
The luxury of leftovers is the byproduct of someone’s sacrifice. Our thanksgiving feast did not come without hours of labor prior to taking a seat at the table. Just as we’ve been able to enjoy turkey for days thanks to my mother’s sacrifice in the kitchen, we’ve had invaluable time with our son thanks to the medical professionals who sacrifice their holidays while working in his Pittsburgh CICU. As parents, we have sacrificed every little bit of normalcy in order to fight for our son; we’ve altered our entire lifestyle with the hopes of the ultimate ‘leftover results’ being favorable. However, just like the little portions of food that remain scattered on a plate after dinner, there’s little “leftovers” throughout every day of this challenging journey; the ‘small scraps’ of even the toughest days at the hospital actually hold hidden treasures, God-given secret riches that are stored in the darkness (Isaiah 45:3).
Theodore turned 3 months old yesterday and in that short time span I have developed newfound patience while witnessing so many scary obstacles that my little man has courageously and miraculously overcome. I am in awe of how far God has already brought him. If you take a mom, dad, and “big sister”, then add in a critically ill “baby brother”, and finally subtract a familiar home environment… the most important element of life is ‘leftover’: a finite focus on how to give ‘love’ and receive ‘love’ in all of it’s different forms. I’ve learned that giving love does not always mean wrapping your arms around someone with a hug, but it can also look like firm pats on the shoulder after a breathing treatment, adjusting wires and gel pillows to prevent bedsores, or making sure wrist braces are properly secured every hour… I’ve learned that receiving love is not always puckering-up and waiting for a kiss, but it can also look like humbly accepting a donated meal, pondering on kind words of encouragement, or reluctantly allowing a volunteer to snuggle and comfort your new baby while you’re hundreds of miles away at home.
Nevertheless, any sort of “leftovers” cannot be enjoyed unless they are properly preserved. Just as the turkey will spoil if not refrigerated, and the pie will harden if not properly covered- my family, my most valuable “leftovers” at the end of every day, must remain “wrapped” in the promises of God (John 15:7). And even with all the unknowns that are still ahead, right now, in this moment that I own, I will preserve my “leftover memories” of MacKenna and Theodore from the past 3 months, within the highest most guarded “cupboard” of my heart…
-️ Momma Bear, Praying Isaiah 53:5
TEDDY BEAR PRAYER :
(1) Mr. Theodore has had quite an eventful week. He was extubated last Monday and endured a couple days of unnecessary aggravation in regards to being properly fitted with a respiratory support head piece. At this point, we are asking everyone to pray that Theodore can quickly progress to and remain stable on the high-flow nasal cannula. Praying that ‘sprints’ for this can start to take place tomorrow !
(2) **URGENT** -Teddy also has what is called a ‘Blake drain’ coming out of the bottom of the incision on his chest; please stand in agreement with us that the drainage from this drain promptly trends down to “zero”, IMMEDIATELY… His output from this Blake drain is still too high; and we are heavily praying against the need for other drains (pigtails) to be inserted into his sides. The plan is to clamp the Blake drain by midnight (tonight!)… and if enough fluid continues to accumulate inside his body, they will NEED to put two NEW pigtail drains in on either side of his rib cage… we REALLLLY don’t want to see him going to the IR tomorrow to get two new holes in his precious little chest! Two new tubes and sutures would be placed by the left and right rib cage; this would require even further sedation, and it’s very painful… –> PRAY that no fluid accumulates in his chest once the Blake drain is clamped tonight and taken out tomorrow morning.
(3) Before we left to head back to Buffalo last Wednesday, we found out from an ordered echo-cardiogram that Theodore has a very large clot at the end of his picc line (by his right atrium). He needs extra prayers for that clot to completely dissolves in Jesus Name. The clot has the potential to dislodge, travel through the heart, and up to his brain, causing yet another stroke. He is on medication that should help this clot dissolve; but I know God is able to work it all our behind the scenes.
(4) Please continue to believe with us that Teddy retains all his cognitive abilities despite excessive medication, sedation and procedures. We pray against any infirmities to all of his five senses. We also ask in Jesus Name that Theodore can finally begin a breast milk drip feed, because for three months he has had nothing but TPN and lipids. (Momma is quite literally running out of freezer space now!)
(5) Lastly, and unfortunately, we also got a call on Thanksgiving that Theodore’s blood cultures came back positive; meaning that he has an infection in his blood. This could have been lethal if not immediately treated. I am THANKING GOD for lining up the perfect attending doctor last week that went the extra mile to check everything possible; because of this wonderful doctor, our son started his antibiotic treatments before becoming septic. I know God has lined-up the best medical professionals to step-in at the most perfect timing; because God is never late, but always on time. Please continue thank God for His grace and mercy in our lives; every ounce of Theodore’s blood will become clean and free of infection because God holds him in the palm of His hand. I will forever proclaim (& I hope you do, too) that it is already finished, and my son will be coming home; whole and new…
Amen & Amen!!!