- In mid October, I got word that my oldest daughter, Erin, was having problems with her pregnancy. Doctors wanted her to go on complete bedrest to prevent additional issues or a premature birth. Since she has four other littles, it quickly became evident that I'd need to travel to Texas to help out so my sweet middle daughter, Laura, and her family drove me to Mississippi and my son in law, Caleb, drove from Texas to Mississippi to meet us and he took me on back to their house. When I arrived on the 21st, Erin was still home and was so glad to see me. Since I got in late, it wasn't long before we were headed off to bed. In the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by Caleb telling me that Erin was leaking amniotic fluid and they were heading to the hospital. I began to pray for their safety as they traveled since they'd be driving all the way to Corpus Christi, a 2 hour trip from home. When she arrived, doctors began giving her medication to help keep her from having contractions and we waited on pins and needles. Caleb stayed with her over the weekend and I took care of the children.
- On the 23rd, Erin asked me to join her at the hospital. Caleb needed to go back to work and Caleb's mom would stand in the gap where I could be with Erin. I traveled to Corpus Christi and stayed overnight with Erin while she continued to do everything she could to keep from having the baby early.
- On the 24th, Erin began to have contractions. Nurses kept telling her she wasn't in active labor but when they connected her to a fetal heart monitor, I began watching the readings and I knew she was definitely in active labor. Although the contractions were small, they were constant and Erin was in a great deal of pain. I felt an urgent need to pray for Erin so I placed both hands on her belly and prayed with all of my being. I asked God to protect both Erin and the baby and that if it was His will, that the baby would be carried to full term but if not, that it would arrive safely. After I prayed, Erin told me the sex of the baby. They'd kept it a secret and had hoped to only share when the baby came into the world. Since things were getting "iffy" she wanted me to know ahead of time. I was tickled to find out the baby was going to be another boy. I asked if they'd picked out a name yet, and she said they'd chosen the name Garrett. Garrett means warrior! I was in awe when I heard that because a couple of weeks before I told her that this baby was a warrior! Around 7:53 p.m. little Garrett entered the world at 23 weeks of gestation. He was so very tiny at only 1 pound and 3 ounces and only 11 inches long. I was so thankful I was right there when he decided to make his grand entrance and immediately after birth, he was whisked away by the neonatal intensive care team so they could make sure he'd have the best chance at survival.
- Things were touch and go and we did a lot of praying, waiting, and trusting. On the second day after his birth, little Garrett was transferred to Driscoll Children's hospital so he could get the very best care possible. We watched God work out all the details of his transfer and were amazed that He even provided a room for Erin at the Ronald McDonald house right behind the hospital so she could visit Garrett easily.
- When baby and Erin were settled, I went back to be with the other children and took over the homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, and even potty training. We did our best to help keep things as normal as possible for the other children and on the weekends, we'd all travel to Corpus Christi to see the baby and Erin.
- Several weeks after Garrett's birth, I got the call that my mother wasn't doing well. She needed to have surgery to remove her colon. After surgery, she began to have complications and was transferred into hospice care. I was able to talk with my mother and she said her last goodbyes to me. It was an extremely emotional evening and I was distraught over wanting to be with my mother but knowing I had the obligation and duty to be there for my grandchildren.
- After a month of physical and emotional support, it was time for me to head back home. It was hard to leave, but I had medical appointments I needed to attend. Thankfully, situations and circumstances changed with my mother's health situation and she began to improve. She was moved from hospice care back to the nursing home and seems to be doing fairly well now.
To say I've been on an emotional roller coaster is the understatement of the year. Minute to minute things with baby Garrett change. He's already been through open heart surgery and has had so many procedures, medications, oxygen treatments, etc. that I can barely keep up. Today he began having seizures.
It's taken time to readjust to being home. Every morning I wake up expecting to hear the children calling out, "Gigi, can you help me with this? Or Gigi, can we have pancakes for breakfast" or some other such comment or question. It's nice to be back home but the quiet is taking some getting used to. I miss all of them but I know God's got them and He's working out all the details.
On Saturday, I'll celebrate my 60th birthday. I can hardly believe it. Most days my body reminds me of this fact but I don't necessarily like saying it. I am grateful to still be alive and this year, I hope to celebrate this milestone in a big way.
Those are the major highlights. There are many minor ones but I can't handle thinking too much tonight. I'm still dealing with some PTSD from all that's transpired. Hopefully, I can get back to posting regularly. It's so much easier than playing catch up. Please keep Garrett in your prayers. Our teeny little super guy sure does need them.