Well before I get into all of the bummer things I'm going to write about, let me just pause and praise Jesus for the best 5 months of mine and Ryan's life. It's so hard to believe our baby man is that old already. He is our joy!
I was not feeling good today. I blamed it on the time of month it is (which we call pmessy in our house), but I felt like a lot of my emotions were justified. I have been thinking about what the far future may look like for Landon. I think I started really thinking about this because last week I met with some other heart moms and I was surprised to meet two adult CHD hero's. One of the women also has pulmonary artresia. It was really interesting to talk with them. They are both such amazing, strong women, but when they talked about how hard growing up was because of their heart defect, my heart just ached. They told stories about how mean kids were to them and I couldn't help but think of some child someday pointing at Landon's chest and saying, what that? That ugly. I'm getting teary just thinking about it. I think it will be much easier for Landon because he's a boy, but I know that boys can still be extremely self conscious about their appearance. Ryan of course doesn't cry about these things like I do. He tells me that Landon will be fine, that by the time he is old enough to care what other people think we will have already instilled in him a pride and respect for his scar and his story. I hope to the Lord that this is true.
Another thing that was stressing me out is the $1,000 medical bill that we somehow have to pay. Up until this our bills have been extremely doable. Medicaid has picked up most of what Ryan's insurance hasn't covered, if not all of it. $1,000 out of a $300,000 bill is NOTHING to complain about, but none the less, it's going to be a super tight month with school on top of that.
Today I was feeling the pressure of the race. I feel so honored that they want to know Landon's story and will probably announce him as we cross the finish line, but I also feel like, OH NO, what if I can't finish? That's not an option. I have to do this. Yeah, I'm feeling that kind of pressure :S
I've also been worrying about Landon a lot more lately. Maybe it was just because I'm overly emotional, but he seems like he gets tired so easily sometimes. He used to be fine until we put him to bed at 7, but now by 5 he is screaming for bed time. I've always felt so blessed that he is such a good sleeper. By 2 months he was sleeping from 7PM to 7AM, but lately I've been wondering if maybe it has something to do with how hard his heart has to work. As you can imagine, this worries me and often I'll just sit, watch him sleep, and cry because I worry so much about what is going on inside of him.
Today he only made it to 4:48 and he was out.
Lately we've also been noticing his color changing at different times of the day, for no apparent reason.
I think that a lot of my recent worrying is due to knowing 3 heart mommies who have had to watch their babies go through surgery this past week. Seriously I CANNOT imagine going through that again. I don't know how we did it the first time, but I just feel like there's no way I could survive it again. I love this boy way to much to be able to see him suffer that kind of pain again. I think it would be enough to send me to the loony bin. Know that this is probably the pmessy talking. I know deep down that whatever God calls us to do, He will give us the strength for in due time, but I'd be lying if I told you the mere thought of it doesn't break my heart to pieces.
So all of that was on my heart and mind today and then of course I had the constant thorn of school in my side. I tried to concentrate on it, but I pretty much spent the whole day reading chapters that I couldn't tell you a thing about.
Around 7 Ryan was taking Landon out of his crib while I was tying my tennis shoes. I yelled down the hall and asked him if the stroller was in the jeep? He called back. Why do we need the stroller? Am I running with you? I know he said it jokingly, but I sensed that he was offering. I pondered it. "Would you?" "uhhhh I don't know."
This morning Ryan and I were talking about driving around where the race is going to be and finding where Ryan was going to be waiting to hand Landon off to me. Just so I had a better picture of the race and I could tell the race director tomorrow what our plans are and if they will work. I told Ryan that I need to practice running the hill at least once before the race and he asked me if I wanted to do that today?
Ryan parked the jeep and we began to walk. The closer we got to the bottom of the hill the more worried I became for race day. It's a big hill people! I've never ran hills before. I don't think a treadmill on incline can really fully prepare you for the real thing.
Granted it's no mountain, but I've learned you should never judge a hill until you've ran up it.
Of course Ryan told me that he would run it with me :) Doesn't he look excited? While we were walking to the hill we played rock, paper, scissors to see who would push Landon. I lost in overtime, but Ryan didn't let me push him at all. He said I needed to focus on running.
When we made it to the bridge close to the bottom of the hill we started running. It really wasn't bad for a while. We talked and laughed. Then it happened. My side started killing me. I couldn't talk and I don't think it can be called "running" what I was doing. Seriously, can anyone actually "run" up a hill? I feel like running up a hill is more like walking a stair stepper. I used to watch people on the stair stepper at the gym. I always wondered why they went so slow. Then one day I decided to try it. I went up to the top of it and I turned it on. Like any naive person, I made the mistake of thinking that it was similar to the treadmill I ran on everyday so I held the + button down until I could feel it start to move then I let go of the button and allowed it to catch up with itself. At first it wasn't bad, but then it started going faster and faster and FASTER. I was barley able to put my foot down before it was left hanging off the disappearing step. Luckily I made it back up to the top before the crazy thing could drop me on the floor and I pressed the big red OFF button. I embarrassingly stepped off of it and almost kissed my oh so wonderful, flat treadmill when I got back to it. I've never been on a stair stepper since. I thought about that when I was "running" up the hill. I remembered how silly I thought those strange stair steppers were because they were so slow and yet they always seemed dead when they were done. Now I understand. It takes an insane amount of effort to climb a hill. You can't stride like you can on flat surfaces. The hill meets your foot before your ready for it, hence you start this horrendous hobble/jog thing. I was comforted to look over at Ryan and find that he was struggling too. Of course he was pushing a stroller with a 15Ib baby in it. That really couldn't of been easy.
I kept thinking to myself that I was going to have to do this in 12 days, except plus 12 more miles.What did I sign up for??? I was in pain, but I kept reminding myself what I put on the shirt I designed for the race. The back says, "Because with God no hill is too high to climb." (Landon's name means long hill) I knew it was true. I knew if we could get through all of the scary things we've gone through then there really isn't anything that we can't get through with God. As I was hobbling up this monster of a hill, sweat dripping down my face, side splitting, legs throbbing, my heart felt lighter then it had all day. I gave God the worries I'd been holding onto. Instead of focusing on the fear, I finally made the right choice and I was able to see the blessings all around me.
It was a LONG hill! I kept thinking it was done and yet it still had more to teach me. I still had more steps to take. Finally I saw the University of Mary sign. I knew that it was going to start leveling off. Once we got to where it was pretty flat I asked Ryan if we could stop now. "no, lets make it to where you're going to turn off. You're training babe, you're doing great." he said. "I feel like I'm going to puke out my insides." I told him back. To which he replied, "That's good." I had to giggle. I don't know under what circumstances it would ever be good for a person to physically puke out their insides, but according to my husband, running up a hill is a good one haha. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other, which pretty much sums up my entire strategy for the whole race. I know if I can do this one thing, I can make it. This is how we live now. When we got the news about Landon's heart we had to completely reorder our life. Life wasn't about being in first place anymore, it became about every step along the way. I see people who are still living life to come in first, to get the best time and it makes me sad. I know they will get to the end and they may get applause, they may feel really good about themselves, but I think about the lessons they will have missed along the way. The steps they didn't cherish, but rather rushed through.
I learned something tonight. This is just my opinion, I'm not God. But what if the reason God gave Ryan and I a long hill to climb, is because he knew we would love it. He knew we would run it in agony together and when we got to a place where we could catch our breath a little, Ryan would reach over and grab my hand. God knew that this day would come, that we would look at each other after hobbling up this hill, and we wouldn't need to speak. Just a smile and we know what the other is thinking. Maybe God gave us a long hill because he knew we would try to kiss each other while still running, smack our chins together and spend the rest of the run laughing about it. Maybe God gave us a long hill to climb because he knew we would be willing to push Landon up it with our love and our constant prayers for him.
As we ran this long hill tonight I felt so connected to this family God has given to me. We loved each other and we were connected before, but the long hill has just made us so much closer.
Thank you Jesus for Landon our beautiful long hill.
So there we left our jeep and there it will sit until we have extra money to fix it :(
Walking up to our apartment, Ryan told me that it's going to be okay. When we got inside I took off my shoes and walked over to our bed. I sat on the side, placed my face in my hands and cried. Ryan came over and asked what was wrong? "What's wrong?!? Babe, we have $1,000 to pay, school this month, we will hardly have money for groceries and now this!!" Ryan tried to comfort me by telling me that we will just wait and fix the jeep hopefully next month. I reminded him that the jeep is our "reliable" vehicle. What are we going to use for traveling? Landon's going to need to travel for appointments soon, insert more tears. We sat in silence for a couple seconds and then I asked Ryan if he would pray. He prayed that God would provide. That He would give us wisdom to know what to do. That we would trust that He was in control and He would use all of this for good. I felt so much better after that. That may sound silly to some of you. Our circumstances hadn't changed at all, but because Ryan prayed, our perspective of them did. We embraced and I thought about the night that I had to tell Ryan there was something wrong with our baby. We sat right in those same spots and cried. Ryan prayed that night too. He prayed that we would trust and he told God that we know He had a plan in all of this. We are so blessed that we have gone through these terrible times because now we can look back on them and remember God's faithfulness to us. We were able to find peace tonight because we know that God has been faithful before and He will be faithful again.
Looking back now, I can see Gods hand of protection. What if we didn't go run the hill tonight? Ryan would of taken the jeep to work tomorrow and it could of blown up while he was on the interstate. It was no accident that our neighbor was acting strange enough for us to stop and watch him for an unusual amount of time, while sitting in a running, parked vehicle. It is a complete bummer of a situation, but it could of been SO much worse. At least no one was hurt. Thank you Jesus.
So that was the last push I needed to finally post my journal entries about the race. We need people praying for us right now. Life is hard. We're living on love.... and leftovers ;) I would really appreciate it if all of you Warroad followers could resist the urge to mention me running the race to my dad. I REALLY want to surprise him :)
Will keep you posted on our crazy journey.
Just one more forced foot in front of the other.