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Thinking about our journey

Over the past few weeks I have really been struck by how thankful I am for our daughter. The journey to meeting her was a hard one and the time spent apart from her while she was in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was very trying as well. But as I continue to look back at our journey and in telling people about what we went through, I find myself being so thankful for every bit of it.

Like I had expressed back in October, when we arrived in Gainesville, I was very sad. At that time we didnt know it, but we would be in Florida for exactly a month before we met LJ. That was probably the longest month for both Ben and me. It was long because we didnt know what the outcome was going to be. We had no idea the severity of LJs condition (though we had been given tough news that first week, which basically told us that her condition was not good). We were afraid of her coming too early, as we wanted her to grow as much as possible before being born, so that she would be big and strong to fight. We were afraid I would go into labor and not be at the right place at the right time for the sake of LJ getting the care she needed. We were emotionally drained from being alone in a new city and the constant doctors appointments, which brought more news (good and bad) about our baby. On top of our emotions, I was also VERY pregnant. I was pretty uncomfortable standing, sitting, and even laying down, which did not help. That was a very long month!

Once LJ was born, Ben and I actually breathed a sigh of relief. There was no longer the unknown of her coming out alive. In fact she came out and gave a few cries, which we never expected, but will always remember. My mom likes to describe the scene in the operating room (I gave birth in an OR because we needed a lot of room for my and LJs teams of doctors and nurses) as a football being handed off. Once LJ was born almost all of the doctors and nurses, which my mom counted to be at least 20, went from my bed to her table and started working on her. I think at that same moment my focus went from the experience of giving birth to the survival of my daughter. I no longer cared about my pain and comfort; I immediately began to think about her and how she was doing. I remember laying on the delivery table listening to the doctors in the corner with LJ and wondering what was going on and how she was doing. There was one machine that kept making a dinging sound and I kept wondering if that meant something was wrong. Later on I discovered it was one of the machines that monitored her and in fact those sounds were good ones!

As I think back to these moments I am always reminded at how faithful God has been to our family. In our month before meeting LJ, we received cards and boxes from friends and co-workers who were encouraging us and letting us know they were thinking of and praying for us often. As we posted on the blog we were reminded that people all over the country knew about our story and were praying for us. People we didnt even know, cared enough to pray for us Ben and Katie Horton from Dallas, Texas. Why would they bother to do that for us? The best answer I can come up with is because God loves us and wanted to show us His love through his people.

The main reason I thank God for all we have been through with LJ is because His light was shown through her little life. LJs story has been far more impactful than anything I could ever have imagined. We met people we would never have met. We got to tell them about our God who held us together and He was the reason why we were able to get through the hard times. We trusted that God had a plan for us and it was far greater than anything we could imagine. As I look back at what we went through, I cannot even begin to deny that truth. God truly provided us the support and comfort we needed and He healed our daughter at the same time.

I hope to share more of our journey in the coming weeks as I continue to process all that we experienced. I have so much to share and find myself wanting to lay it all out there, but there is far too much to write in one sitting. As I write this I cant help but be filled with joy as our 15-week-old daughter lays on my chest sound asleep. Its times like these that I am so grateful for Gods healing hands.



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