Faith and Change

If you were to die in six months, would you change anything about your life?

For me, this answer is yet to be determined. 

The fact of the matter is, we all come across things we’d rather not experience or go through. We all meet people who tear us to pieces when they leave and we all wish we would’ve been nicer to someone or made time for a recently departed loved one. Yes, most of us have regrets. 

But as I sat snuggled in the middle of my two little boys watching Zootopia for about the billionth time (my toddler’s current favorite), this question kept interrupting my thoughts. Would I, in fact, change anything in my life knowing my death was near?

Naturally I thought of my little family. Of course I’d want them taken care of. Our things are in order for that. I’d want to travel, because I LOVE to travel to see and experience new places and people that feed my inspiration to write. I’d also make sure to get my fill of everything I enjoy in life; food, places, and people alike. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the things I was thinking about were more classic desires and needs. But what would I change about myself on a deeper level? 

No one knows when their time is up here, and far too often, especially recently, many are gone much too soon. Some live exceptionally full lives in a short time while others are exceptionally ordinary and there is nothing wrong with that. I believe I will be in the latter category. 

One thing I would try to change in that six months would be to work extra hard to find my faith again. My faith has been shaken terribly in recent years and even though I put in the effort to go to church and try to find solace, I find myself in a flurry of confusion. We’ve all been dealt some bad cards in life and though I’ve accepted most things, I still find myself trying to figure out the plan for my life, unable to fully put it in the hands of God. 

That would be my major change and I would do it for me. 

A woman I didn’t know but have come to know through facebook lost her battle to cervical cancer yesterday. Twenty five years old, wife and mother to 3 young children. Her faith in God’s plan for her was amazing despite knowing there was a good chance her children would grow up without their mother. 

Her battle lasted just shy a year as she was diagnosed in December 2015. Stage 3. 

Her story (remarkable – check out her page TeamMeg) will certainly open your eyes to the strength we are capable of even in the midst of fighting for our lives.

But enough of the deep love. It’s time to snuggle my youngest and get him to sleep!  

Two Months Old! 

Our little dude is TWO months old today! 


These past handful of weeks have just flown by with little concern. The stress of being a momma to two is nearly nonexistent, though my toddler sure knows which buttons to press on the limited patience days. Haha! 

It is sad to see my little man fitting into 3-6 month clothing when his big brother was my peanut, fitting into 0-3 until he was practically 6 months old. Michael certainly is momma’s chunky monkey! 


Speaking of big brother, he sure has turned into such a caring big brother. He may not understand that little M can’t exactly play rough yet but we are slowly getting there. 

At least I know that P does know how to share, even if he isn’t always in a sharing mood☺️😉

Cesarean 

Channel courage to walk the path –

a path walked now by you. 

A flurry of emotions and jumbled nerves 

arriving quick as though on cue. 

Icy tables a welcome numbness with

curtained professionals and instructions. 

Alone, the numbing seizes control 

while you try to imagine tugging and suction. 

He is brought in as prep is finished –

a nervous heart now calm.  

Holding hands and closing eyes –

Dreaming of being a baby’s mom. 

© Amber L Hoppa, October 2016

One Month!

Yesterday marked ONE month since we welcomed our second son into the world. 

One month of dirty diapers. 

One month of sleepless nights. 

One month of breastfeeding, burping, spit-up etc. 

One month of telling my year and half old to be “gentle” and not hit, step on, or head butt  Michael. 

All in all it’s been a month of firsts that have been entirely enjoyable. Being Michael’s mom is simply too easy. 


There are no complications, no specialists, no medicines to administer. He’s a perfectly healthy little boy and I couldn’t be more grateful to be able to fully enjoy my time off with him. 

When our oldest was this age, we’d only been home for mere days. And it wasn’t like we could just pick up where we left off and have all the experiences that the typical parent goes through. 

So this month has been pretty significant for me and I made sure to thoroughly enjoy it, not worrying about caring for the house as much as I normally do. I often find myself watching the little nugget sleeping or talking and wondering how P would’ve been had things gone better. P was a laid back baby as it was and Michael seems to be the same way but would I be the same parent to Michael had I not been on the other side of the coin with Peter?

The answer is no. I would not be the same parent because I’m not even the same person that I was the day before my induction with P when we were blind to the condition he was to be born with. 


A month. So much happens in a month and we’re often quick to take advantage of the good without realizing that for others, a month is a long time. 

So mommas, be sensitive and never take advantage of the time we have with our kiddos. They do grow up way too fast!

Tracheoesophageal Fistula 

**Disclaimer: Photos posted within this blog show the reality of child hospitalization. A few photos may be disturbing. 

TEF
A birth defect that 1 in every 4000 babies is born with. From there, there are at least 6 different types. 

As many of my readers know, our oldest son was born with this condition. He was born with (thankfully) an easier type. His type didn’t fit the mold of the 6 most common but was most similar to type A. Normally this is found via ultrasound but because of the unique way our son’s esophagus developed, all appeared normal. We were blindsided. 

I’ve mentioned in several posts that we had minimal time with our son before he was transferred to Children’s Hospital of WI and he was to have surgery when he was only 3 days old. We were specifically discharged a day earlier because of this small detail. 

Reunited March 30th, the day before surgery.

Tuesday, March 31st was the surgery date. I was an absolute mess. We got to the Milwaukee at about 10am after getting home late the night before. We weren’t yet in a room at the Ronald McDonald House but would be the next day going forward. We walked him to the OR at about 1pm and we wouldn’t see him again until 11pm that same night. 

I couldn’t even tell you my state of mind for those 10 hours but I can assure you that despite healing from a cesarean, I was pacing. I was anxious and I certainly was feeling deflated as time wore on, even with the occasional update. 

Post Surgery 3/31/15

We were warned of the risks and all the possibilities of set backs. That’s normal for any surgery. The only thing is, we didn’t think we’d fall into that category…

Five days later would prove to be the worst of our entire stay. 

Joseph had made the comment he wasn’t breathing right Saturday night as we were readying to leave for the night. I had just finished reading a story to our little man and after being assured by staff, we gave our kisses and left. I stayed at the RM house but Joseph decided to make a trip home to go through our mail and whatnot and just check things out at the farm. 

As fate would have it, the nurse woke me up at 3am. She wouldn’t say much but she did say it was imperative I come at once. 

Peter’s lung had collapsed. They ran X-rays as I watched helplessly as he cried out. An emergency bedside procedure was done to place a chest tube to drain the fluid leaking from the surgery site into the chest cavity. He was then placed on another antibiotic to prevent infection. 

Joseph returned later Sunday…and that night the fluid became too much and P stopped breathing. I remember how disturbing the alarm was as his vitals dropped on the monitor. Nurses poured in and had to perform CPR with a balloon to try to open his lungs. They attempted a new chest tube at bedside, slightly larger then the first, but by Tuesday, one week since his first surgery, our little boy was back in the OR. 

Post Surgery #2 4/7/15

The surgery started with the intention of sealing the esophageal leak, but the tissue was too inflamed and any tampering would rip through the tissue and make the leak worse. 

So, another chest tube was placed in addition to the one placed at bedside. Only, it was an adult sized tube, sandwiched between two ribs, and it caused immense pain for our little guy. We didn’t hold him, didn’t move him, touched him very little. Lot of tears were shed and a lot of morphine kept him sedated most of the time but it didn’t make our job any easier. 



It eventually started looking up and tubes started to vanish as he no longer needed them. There was only one more challenge left. 


Mastering his NJ tube/pump system. Peter had his first “meal” at 19 days old. Hard to believe he felt like he was starving for that long, heartbreaking even. But this was the final step. 

We were discharged 6 days after that first feed and though our road to recovery was no where near finished, this was the roughest stretch. 

All in all, going into this we had NO idea what TEF was, but after our experience, I can tell you that it should be a requirement to spend some time in a NICU prior to becoming parents. Not only is it an eye opening experience, but there is so much we take for granted. I know I will no longer take health for granted. When we fell pregnant with our second child that is all I preached. “As long as baby is healthy…” 

I could care less if baby was a boy or girl, so long as it was healthy. 

I could care less if my vbac didn’t go as planned, so long as we both came out happy and healthy. 

It didn’t matter the topic. I only wanted a healthy baby. And we got a healthy baby boy to join big brother P and us. 

Fall Fest Family Day – Dad with Michael, Mom with Peter

A year and a half later you’d never guess our ordeal, or that P was even a sliver less than 110% healthy. His scars serve as a reminder of our pained beginnings but they in no way define our future. 

Inspired

What a sight it is to see the sun and have no need for a coat! It’s been a crazy handful of weeks between losing my aunt and having to deal with the ordeals that come with losing someone that you’ve watched triumph over the trials sent their way over the years. 

But with death comes hope. We aren’t always going to be sad, life is a treasure and it’s not ours for all eternity. We need to share it with generations to come and when it’s our time, our only hope is that we’ve truly lived knowing we are leaving with no regrets. 

That being said, I picked up a project I had shelved for some time. I’d gotten about halfway through the novel before I lost sight of what I wanted for it even though I knew it was a story that needed to be written. It needs to be shared. Funny how a death started this project and it’s another close death that’s kick started my creative juices. 

I will finish this story. Not for myself or either of my late relatives who’ve inspired this novel, but for the world who experiences grief and loss on a daily basis. I know reading and editing what I have so far has done wonders for me, I just can’t wait to hear what it does for those around me. 

Much love, possibly a sneak peak soon 😉 

  

Life

A never ending sky,

the delectable blue waters. 

Miles of stretching cool sand –

This is where my mind wanders. 
A world without drought,

plenty of food to go around. 

A world at complete peace – 

This is what my mind desires. 
A life with renewed energy,

a need to be out in the sun. 

Somewhere where dreams come true –

This is what my mind needs. 
To travel, to love, to experience –

is there really anything else to see?

The birds, waves, and those around us – 

what else can we hear?

To cherish hearts and memories –

What does it mean to touch or feel? 
Taste all life has to offer; the food and the company, the good and the bad, the places and people. We’ve only allowed so much time…how will you spend it? 

Birthday Boy!

Today is a beautiful day for many reasons but especially is wonderful because it’s our son’s FIRST birthday! As mentioned in a prior post, we have many reasons to celebrate today, the most important obviously being that our son is alive and well. 

 

Taken following his birth prior to discovering his condition
  
Pure, unconditional love at first sight. Our bouncing boy was born 8lbs 3oz and was 22 inches long! No wonder he threatened breaking ribs!
 

As it would happen, we’d only have SIX hours with our bundle before he’d be on his way to Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee. I held him three times and maybe spent half of that time with him since the other half was spent worrying when he wasn’t returning from his routine exam. 

I will never forget the look on the pediatrician’s face when she peeked her head in our room and broke the news that our son wasn’t as healthy as they originally thought. She did amazing explaining it all and dealing with our emotional responses, or rather, mine. He was to be kept in the nursery until Milwaukee would come get him. 

 

No new mother should have to say good bye to her new born son. There is a reason my face is cropped out, for a mess doesn’t even come close to describing me that day…
 
But today is a happy day so we will celebrate how far we’ve come versus dwelling on the dark days that came during the 25 days of being down at Children’s Hospital. 

Left: Fighter following his first surgery at 3 days old! He certainly did better then I did! Right: Playing with the contents of one of his Easter eggs!

Happy Birthday Peter Joseph. Momma and daddy love you soooooo very much💙

Fear 

Fear has a power to move us in ways unimaginable and gives us strength we never knew we had. 

The shivering was getting out of hand. My entire body began to quiver, the anxiety overwhelming my delicate system and it was like my mind was in its own personal tug-of-war. 

Metal bars sealing me inside were stale and stunk of rust. Concrete slabs for the remaining walls and floor were clean and yet filthy with the crimes committed here in the past. Why was I here?

I hugged myself tighter and rocked on the bench that was barely wide enough to fit me. The tears, though had stopped, have dried in streaks and I’m sure it appeared as though I’d run a mile in a downpour. Looking at my mud infested flats I sighed. Oh wait, that actually happened. 

My hands were unrecognizable, the mud dying them a murky brown but I buried my face in them regardless. Just then, a door opened and a single pair of feet ascended down the hall before they halted before my cell. 

“You’re free to go, Miss,” the officer directed me, unlocking and sliding the cell door open. 

Puzzled, I unattached myself from the bench and hesitated. It couldn’t be that easy. 

But I followed the officer out and greeted my savior. 

Except he was no savior; he was my captor. 

Busy Year Ahead

Boy has this year gotten it’s start on me! Life does not certainly slow down when you have a 11 month old bent on taking over the world! 

  
But this momma is teaching him right! He’s going to be a boy for sure, playing with all the farm toys and enjoying that hunting and fishing that he’s going to be introduced to, but he’s also going to be a smart little reader. One day I may write a children’s book but that’ll be harder work then the project I’m currently working on! 

Speaking of projects… Query letters are no joke. After reviewing my previous ones I’ve sadly realized how naïve I truly was so I’ve scrapped them all and have been working very diligently to perfect the query letter. One could say it’s just a résumé…and to be honest, it really is, but at the same time it seems to be so much more then that. 

In my valuable spare time I’ve also been reworking a project I started some time ago now that I have a fresh new take on the story and its growing into a novel that I’m so immensely proud of. I can not wait to show it to the world. 

Stay alert my fellow readers…hopefully a blog soon will bring good news 😉 

Much love❤️

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