Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Day of School

"First day of school, first day of school!" This line from the movie, Finding Nemo, resounds through my head. Little Nemo was so excited to go to school and begin a whole new adventure. His overprotective father, Marlin, not so much. His father tried to tell him he could always wait another year before going to school but Nemo heard none of it.

I felt like Marlin this morning, thinking we didn't have to do this yet did we? Couldn't we wait another year? Was she really ready? I got my answer shortly after stepping through the front doors of her new school.

"Faith, are you ready to go to your classroom?"


She had a big smile on her face all the way to the elevator, down the hall, around the corner to her classroom door. I held on to her wheelchair not wanting to let go just yet. I wanted to take her into her classroom, get her settled in and just make sure she was going to be OK. But when Faith's teacher's aid asked Faith if she wanted to say goodbye to mom I found out she was more ready than I was. She barely looked at me and said, "See you later!"

I reluctantly let her go telling her I loved her and that I would be back in four hours. I don't think she heard any of it. Who was this little girl so ready to be separated from her mommy? So ready to be off on a new adventure? So excited to be a little more independent?

I shouldn't have been so surprised that she did so well this morning. I had prayed about this day since her last day of preschool - prayed that the transition to kindergarten would be a smooth and simple one. And now this morning, I am realizing the answer to those prayers. Although I am a little sad, I am thankful and grateful. Thankful to God and for the wonderful team of people at Faith's school who will be working with her. I know she couldn't be at a better place.

It has been hard being at home this morning by myself. It is so quiet. I miss her singing her little songs and her constantly asking me for a hug. But soon, I will return for her and I will hear all about her first day of school. I am looking so forward to that and will continue to look forward to it for the next nine months.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Kindergarten Milestone

Faith received her immunizations yesterday for Kindergarten. On Thursday, she starts school. I, like moms everywhere who have kids reaching certain milestones, am asking, "where or where has the time gone?" One of my facebook friends wrote on her wall that it seems like she just gave birth to her kindergartner. Her message brought me back to Faith's seemingly untimely birth. Instead of being a joyous and happy occasion, Faith's entrance into the world was one of the most stressful and scary times of my life.

When I was just 26 weeks pregnant, Faith was doing her best to come into the world - way too early. Since we lived in Watford City, a community of about 1500 people, we doctored in Williston, about 45 miles away. My husband and I drove there thinking my little bit of spotting was no big deal. I remember feeling relatively calm, until we got to the doctor's office and they strapped a fetal monitor around me. I was having contractions eight minutes apart. I was beginning to feel a bit nervous. They couldn't give me the magnesium they usually give to stop preterm labor because of my heart condition. All they could do was try to hydrate me through an i.v. Because of my heart condition, the pregnancy was high risk which is why my doctor made the decision to airlift me to Mayo Clinic, where I had my fourth heart surgery just four years prior.
Faith stayed in her little home in my womb for another three weeks. After my placenta abruption, the obstetrics team along with my cardiology team managed an emergency c-section and at 4:36 p.m. on October 25, tiny little Faith came into the world. She weighed 2 lbs. 6 oz. and was about 14 inches long. I was only able to see her for a couple of minutes. I was allowed to reach into her isolette and touch her tiny hand before they whisked her away to the NICU. It wouldn't be for another week that I would be able to hold her.

Two weeks later, she was transferred to Bismarck, which made things much easier for me and my husband. We lived at the Ronald McDonald house for the next two months. She was discharged from the NICU on her original due date - January 5th.

That was almost six years ago. Since then, we've made many changes in our lives, including moving from Watford City to Bismarck so our daughter could get the best care possible. When she was six months old, we found out she had spasticity, likened to cerebral palsy. Since then, we have had to adjust to many new things from therapy to orthotics and wheelchairs to feeding tubes.
It used to bother me when she delayed in reaching certain milestones or didn't reach them at all. But now I know that even through the most difficult times, God had a plan and even when it didn't look like He was answering our prayers, He remained faithful. And now, after everything we've gone through, our daughter will be reaching one milestone right on time, starting kindergarten.