And here I thought having a fifth baby would be easy street.

For those just joining the blog, Luke is our fifth baby (my sixth pregnancy) who arrived at 36 weeks 3 days at an itty bitty 3lbs. 9oz. – all due to growth restriction in utero.  He had some defects right out of the gate, but all were complicated by a really nasty intestinal infection, necrotizing enterocolitis, NEC for short.  He had 16cm of his small intestine removed during an emergency surgery at 10 days old and spent 44 days in the NICU.  At three months, we went back to the hospital for the surgeon to reconnect his colon and intestine where he lost another 13cm of his colon.  And, four days after his four month mark, he developed a partial bowel obstruction which required surgery to correct.  The stay was complicated due to blood clotting and he received two blood and three plasma transfusions.  In about two months, he will undergo another surgery, this time for his spine.

That’s the clinical side of Luke’s story.  I’d like to share with you the faith journey Luke has led us on the past few months.

I’d consider Scott and I pretty faithful people.  Faithful in the fact that we’re regular church goers, we pray meal and bedtime prayers with our kids.  We celebrate the Christian holidays.  We talk openly about our faith.  You know, the usual.  Then I got pregnant with Luke and our whole world changed.  I thought after I miscarried a baby seven years ago that I knew loss.  I understood prayer.  Then, when Scott’s dad died four years ago, we felt like we understood sacrificial love and the toll caregiving can take on a loved one.

Then we had Luke.

He is this amazingly cute, happy gift from God.  And I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing about him.  After all, if I did that, he wouldn’t be Luke.  And we wouldn’t be the new and improved ‘us.’  There is so much we’ve learned…

… that it’s okay to be mad at God, really, really mad – and to tell him so.
… that your prayer life is a journey.  We’ve gone from begging God to make it better to begging God for strength to endure the ride.
… that when someone offers to help, let them.  It is a beautiful way to deepen a friendship and Luke has allowed us to love our friends and family even more.
… to be a vocal advocate for my children, in every way.
… to ask questions, rather than sit idly by and nod my head ‘yes.’
… how to deal with insurance companies, doctor’s offices, pharmacy reps and medical professionals.
… that just when you think you know someone, you really don’t.
… that talking with another mom who’s been in your shoes saves your sanity.
… that when others hold down the fort, your kids still survive.
… that telling people how grateful you are is never enough.
… that a text message, email, facebook post, phone call, card or visit can make a person’s day.
… that blood donors are heros.
… that priests cry.
… that Sisters bring great food and awesome joy to a hospital room.
… that siblings aren’t really acting out, they just miss their mom and dad.
… that family is important.
… that sometimes you get the short end of the stick, but self pity gets you no where except in a dark corner with a kleenex.
… that people I don’t even know read our blog and do a little light Internet stalking…and I’m honored that our story has touched so many people.
… that God is faithful.

I love our life.  I love our family.  And sometimes, especially lately, it is hard to live this life with strength.  But prayers always sustain us.  Yours and ours.  I don’t know if we’ll ever be back to our old “normal”, this is our “new normal.”  And that’s okay. 

Thank. You.  So very much.  I suspect Luke’s roller coaster isn’t quite finished yet.  He IS a Whitaker and life is never dull around here 🙂

8 Comments

  1. Alexis D. on January 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    We love you too and are honored that you share your struggles, pain and achievements with us.

  2. Anonymous on January 29, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I am one of those people who have been readng your story. I don't know you or your family just the stories I read here. The tone of voice with which you write even on the most difficult of days is truly admirable. Please know that there are people out there praying for you and yours. I prayed for Luke even during a period in my life when God and I were on hiatus.

    You have touched my life.

    -Irene

  3. Verdina Louisa on January 30, 2010 at 1:14 am

    You are truly a reflection of God's love! I feel honored to call you friends. Your children are so blessed to be in your family. I love y'all!

  4. Indiana Elephant on January 30, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Kathryn,
    C-section four for our baby 5 is coming up this Tuesday. I'll be offering up that mild discomfort for Luke, for what it's worth. Please continue to share your prayer requests. Meanwhile, thanks to you and Scott as you continue to witness an amazing faith. God bless.

  5. helgothjb on January 30, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Kathryn,
    Thank you again for sharing yourself (and your family) with us. I am in awe of your ability to carry your cross with such grace and humble strengh (and weakness)!
    Each year each family member here picks a saint (or the saint picks us) and an intention to pray for. It is a blessed event! This year I recieved Simon of Cyrene (don't know if he is a saint or not). My intention is that many will be drawn to help others carry their crosses. You have definately answered that prayer and it sounds like many around you have as well. God bless you and Scott and the kids.

  6. David Queen on February 2, 2010 at 1:33 am

    I'm glad I have been able to be along for part of your crazy journey with Luke. I hope the support you received from us (the nurses) has helped your recovery process. Everything is the blog is very well stated and it gives a good picture to the "outsiders" of the struggles you guys have endured over the last few months. Stay strong!

  7. Kathryn on February 2, 2010 at 3:17 am

    @Irene. Wow. So touched that our story has had an affect on you.
    @Michelle, prayers headed your way.
    @Dave…if not for the nurses (you mightily included, Scott and I would have fallen apart. You always know just what to say, when to come by, when to leave us alone. We give many praises to our doctors and surgeons, but even more to you. Luke is blessed. Here's hoping the next time we see you it's AFTER shift at Amaya's with a margarita in hand!

  8. […] preemie was just a few months old, back in the hospital and it was our roughest stay post-NICU. He was hooked up to so many tubes and wires I lost count. And in walked Fr. David. He […]

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