The End & The Beginning // An Update on Josiah

A year ago, I could not fathom how we were going to get through 2017.  We were just about to leave the NICU after 9 weeks, knowing that we would make the hospital our second home with the multiple surgeries and follow up appointments Josiah would need.

Yet, here we are a year later, three surgeries down and only one more to go.

It was only possible by the grace of God and by your prayers.  Truly.

And as we head into this last surgery, we are anchoring our souls on that truth once more.  That His grace is truly sufficient enough for us and the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.

So, what does this last surgery look like and what does it mean for Josiah? Read more…

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A Reflection on Our Year of Miracles // One Word for 2018

It’s ten days into 2018 and I’ve finally started to remember to write 2018 instead of 2017.  Which means 2018 must be here to stay, right? 🙂

We kicked off the New Year with a sick baby – full blown coughing, sneezing, snot drizzled everywhere, low-grade fever, no sleep…oh the joys of parenthood.

And just as the kiddo started to get better…the husband got sick.  And then just as he started to get better…yup, you guessed it…I got sick.

Which is why this is being written ten days into 2018, instead of on the 1st of January.

I digress.

A couple of years ago I learned about One Word 365 from my sweet blogger friend Sarah.  And heading into 2016, I just knew with a strange certainty that the word for that year would be “Immanuel” – God With Us.

At the time, I had no idea that my first-born son would be born in 2016, 10.5 weeks early.  There was no way to anticipate the up and down journey it would all be, and that my one word – Immanuel – would become such an anchor for us in that season.

Heading into 2017, I felt such conviction that it would be a year of miracles.  We had just witnessed our little 29 weeker thrive in the NICU, surprise the doctors despite all of his medical diagnoses, and come home before his expected due date.

But there I was, the last day of 2017, permanently situated on my glider as I tried to rock a very cranky, sniffly little boy to sleep. Read more…

Choosing to Speak in Love // A Reflection on Year Three of Marriage

December 20th marks our anniversary.  It’s been three years since we said our vows to one another, deciding that for better or for worse, this would be our forever person.

When I look back at our wedding video and read the post I wrote for our first anniversary, I remember how absolutely, overwhelmingly in love I was with my husband.

And I still am.

But although that love I felt then was real and true, it hadn’t yet gone through the fire.  It had yet to be tested and tried and proven true.

It was only a matter of time. Read more…

Josiah’s Doljanchi (Traditional Korean First Birthday Celebration)

The older I get, the more I am learning how to appreciate and truly enjoy my Korean heritage.  Two factors also help – the fact that I married a guy who was born and raised in South Korea and…my very, VERY Korean grandmother. 🙂  For those of you with a Korean g-ma, you know what I’m talking about!

Anywho, last month was our little boy’s first birthday!  And I spent weeks and weeks waist-high in glitter, hot glue guns, polyester filling, and beans.  But it was completely worth it.  You’ll see what I mean below. Read more…

Dear Son, Today You’re One…

Last night, I started to remember the hours that led up to your sudden entrance into this world.  I pulled up the note that I still have on my phone where I documented every hour that I was feeling what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Looking back, I should have realized I was in preterm labor.  But in the hazy fog of pain, my brain just couldn’t even fathom the idea that you would be born at 29 weeks.  So early…too soon.

Every time I drive past the hospital where you were born, I remember your dad speeding down the highway at 3:30am…and that’s when I realized you were coming.  November 20th would be your birthday.

I still remember the moment you were born and the nurses found your heartbeat.  You were alive.  All 2 lbs and 6 oz of you was alive and ready to fight for survival.

They asked us what your name would be.  Daddy and I looked at each other and we knew exactly who you were meant to be.  Josiah.  It was God’s promise to us – “Jehovah Has Healed.”

Those early weeks in the NICU were a blur.  Every day we stepped into your little hospital nursery we didn’t know if it would be a good day or a hard day.  We definitely had our fair share of both.

But eventually we fell into a rhythm in the NICU.  And your little corner of the hospital became mommy’s bittersweet sanctuary.  It was my season of sitting in the refiner’s fire.  It’s where I started to learn that sometimes we don’t know the answer to “why?”  But in that tension of what is and what truly is, that is often where we find the greatest treasure.

And then, after 9 weeks in the NICU, you finally came home!  And that’s when it really started. 🙂

Those newborn days of over-exhaustion and total inadequacy.  Of looking at myself in the mirror and realizing that motherhood simultaneously ruins you and rebirths you.

But also realizing that the whole “the days are long but the years are short” and “babies don’t keep” are all true.  One day, this would all be a thing of the past.  And it made me try harder to treasure each moment, to mentally capture exactly what I felt when you first laughed, to breathe in your scent after a nighttime bath.

We had our everyday days.  Days filled with playing outside and learning new things.  And we had our hard days.  Days in the hospital, surgery after surgery, realizing that this was also a part of our reality.

But looking at you now, all I see is a sweet, smiling miracle.

Son, your life is living proof that God is good.  Every breath you take and every ounce you gain is living proof that God loves to do the impossible.  Every moment you learn something new and every time you continue to defy the odds and medical expectations, you are living proof that God has the final word.

So, thank you son.  Thank you for coming into our lives and turning everything upside down.  Thank you for giving your daddy and me the greatest year of our lives yet.

And I pray for the day that you begin to realize all this for yourself.  That you ask us about the story of your birth and how you came to be.  That you start to understand that your name holds God’s promise for you.  That you can read this and know just how truly blessed you are and how much you have blessed so many just by being alive.

Above all else, on this first birthday, I want you to know that everything we have been through this last year we would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Every joy and every trial has been more than worth it to witness the living miracle that you are.

So happy birthday, my sweet, sweet son.  The best is yet to come.

Love,

Momma

P.S.  I’m still banking on you saying “mommy” first.

 

 

Still Here // An Update on Josiah & Our Lives

Hi world!

(Stay tuned – or scroll down to the end – to see a cute, little sneak peak of what we have been working on with Josiah lately!)

It’s been a LONG time.  Almost three months, I know.  It feels like a lot happened these last three months, but then it also just feels like not much has happened because one day just blurs into the next and then on and on for eternity.  I guess that’s how one could describe motherhood. 🙂

Anywho, I am way overdue for an update on Josiah’s most recent surgery.  Long story short, the surgery itself went well.  It looked like we were smooth sailing until we went to see the surgeon again for our first post-op appointment.  At the time, there was a significant tear near his newly created anus which led to concern that the colon had retracted back in and that everything had not been brought down low enough.  All we could do was wait a few weeks for the new tear to heal and then we would take next steps.

It’s easier to talk about it now because it’s several months removed and the prognosis looks much better now than it did back then.  But you better believe those weeks of waiting and thinking the worst (that he would have to go back in for additional surgery, that his colon wouldn’t be functioning properly, etc.) were hard.  Really hard.  I don’t think it’s been that hard since our initial days in the NICU.

We prayed.  We wrestled with the Lord.  We cried.  We worried. Read more…

Summer Fun + More Surgery // An Update on Josiah

As many of you have probably realized by now, I tend to be a little verbose.  What can I say?  I like a good story.  And I think it is in the details that life becomes more scrumptious.

But sometimes, it’s just been a long day.  And the creative energy (any energy actually) is just non-existent.

So concise will just have to do.  So here it goes.

Summer flew by.  Josiah had surgery in June.  It went well and in hindsight, it was good “practice” for the one coming up.

July was filled with lots of “firsts” for our not-so-little-anymore little man – first plane ride, first time experiencing a Phoenix summer, first haircut, first time seeing the extended family, first time hanging out at the bowling alley, etc.  Cue the pictures.

It was the best three week vacation any momma could ask for – a.k.a. sleeping in, not having to cook every meal, doting grandparents to watch the baby, actually getting dressed up for a night out.  Pure bliss.

And now somehow, it’s already August.  And the date that’s been looming on our calendar – August 16th – is already here.  The date of Josiah’s next surgery.

This is “the big one” that I have been alluding to in previous posts.  There are three main objectives for this surgery

  1. Go in and separate Josiah’s colon/rectum from his urethra as they are currently fused alongside each other,
  2. Bring his colon/rectum down through the right muscles in his bum without damaging any other nerves, and
  3. Create his anus.

The procedure will take a minimum of four hours and we will be admitted into the hospital, so we are anticipating having to stay a few nights.

A couple weeks after this procedure, we will begin the next step in this process – anal dilation.  Josiah’s body will think this new anus is an open wound and potentially try to close it back up.  Thus, we will need to dilate morning and evening to stretch out his new anus and prepare it to be able to pass stool.  Josiah will still have his colostomy bag during this time.

Depending on how the dilation process goes, we will do this for a couple of months before Josiah has his final surgery to reconnect everything so that he will pass stool through his anus.

A poopy diaper is probably not at the top of anyone’s list of dreams but for this famiLee, it will be a dream almost a year in the making.

And then the real journey of faith begins.  But more on that later.

One thing I have learned over the last almost nine months since Josiah was born is to never be ashamed or afraid to ask for prayer.  And to keep asking for it.  And to keep believing with a crazy, ridiculous, incomprehensible faith that the impossible can happen when God’s people come together before the Almighty Creator.

So, will you pray with us?  

Please pray for God’s healing hands to guide our surgeon and his team.  For the surgery to be 100% successful.  That there will be no damage to nerves, muscles, tissues, etc.  For Josiah to wake up from anesthesia well and quickly resume his happy, healthy, giggly, hungry ways.  That my husband and I will have grace for ourselves, for one another, and for everyone involved in this process.

But most of all, please pray that God’s glory would be revealed through our son’s little body.  That somehow, a testimony would arise from the ashes of this season.  That healing would triumph.  

From our lips to His throne – “Jehovah has healed.”