As we were driving home with Owen yesterday an idea for a blog post popped into my head. I remembered a scripture that says, "Careful lest ye be entertaining angels unaware." Hebrews 13:2.
So I'm thinking about what to say and how to say it then I notice a billboard and it says "Hear God's Word and Do as it says." I was like wow okay. Then the very next song that came on the radio was Alabama's "Angels Among Us." So here we go.
I know that our faith alone is what has gotten us to where we are right now with Owen and I praise God for that. I also praise God for sending us angels to comfort us on our journey.
Now I don't know what you believe but I believe in two kinds of angels, the kind we can see and the kind we can't. Most people know that while I was pregnant with my son I lost one of my angels on Earth, my Granny Polly. She had the biggest heart of anyone I've known. She was a bright spirit with so much love to give anyone who was around to accept it. She was so excited about Owen, I'm thankful that she never knew his diagnosis because it would have made her heart so heavy. But I'm equally thankful that she was a nurse because I know through all this she was with us, with Owen, and more importantly with Owen's medical staff. I'm certain that she had some say in some of the nurses we were blessed to have with us. That's the power of believing in something bigger than this world, you know that God can put all things into play to work out for your benefit.
I get a lot of people telling me that I've been so positive, that I'm an inspiration, and so on, but I don't feel like I've done anything. All I did was put my faith in God and it allowed me to stay positive throughout all of this. There was nothing I could do and I can promise you that you get out of this world what you give it, I'd like good things to come to my son so I've tried extra hard to only think of the good.
God blessed us with many angels, some he loaned us from heaven but so many he placed here on Earth for us. Our doctors and nurses were some of the best ever, while they were extrememly good at what they do they also had a very human side to them they were compassionate and caring, they were approachable, they were amazing. We had many angels in our nursing staff but three very special ladies who would become just as much friends to us as they were nurses. With Laura we could always tell exactly what she was thinking by the expression on her face. If there was cause for disappointment we knew it when Owen had done something awesome and was making progress we knew that too. She was a great advocate for our son and made sure I was too and she became a great friend to us. I don't know how I would have gotten through all of this without Laura to turn to for so much advice. Tracie was another one of our nurse angels, she was our tell ya like it is angel and we thank her for that now. Tracie was Owen's nurse the day of his very first embolization, the one where the doctor said "Oh he did great yall should be able to go home in a couple of weeks." Tracie shot him a look like you have lost your mind before she even realized what she'd done. Well we saw it and my mom confronted her about it. Tracie told us like it was and from that day forward she was never shy about telling us what we were really looking at with Owen and things that we should be very cautious of. Tracie prepared us for so much of what we were facing and even going home some of her final words are what guide my decisions with Owen day in and day out. And finally there was Jen. She reminded us of a friend back home and she talks faster than I do. She was a nurse but she had also been in our shoes having had one of her children in the NICU. She saw things from our perspective and helped us (me especially) deal with feelings that I couldn't explain. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God put these three ladies in our lives for a reason and I am thankful.
We were blessed with other families who became extensions of our own family, Becca and her parents who were there day in and day out. Richard and Grace who were told to abort their precious angel Hailey. I would jokingly call Richard my husbands boyfriend because they became such fast friends but they were who we needed when we needed them and I'd like to think we were the same for them.
Mrs. Judy Angley is an angel on Earth if there ever was one. She was "the March of Dimes" lady and provided a creative outlet for families as well as free pizza once a week, but more than that she had giving heart and was always available to really listen to anything, whether it was a problem with the hospital staff, parking, or just getting to know you by sharing personal experiences.
Everyday our nurses would change, if we were lucky we might get one nurse for two or three days in a row, but everyday like clockwork the clerk staff stayed the same. In a time where everything was always changing it was great to know that from 3-11 during the week we would have our angels Ashley and Lori there to buzz us in and out of the NICU. Over time they became our friends, real friends. Every night as we'd leave we'd spend a little time with them and we came to expect big huge laughs while we were with them. In a place where the laughter and smiles were few and far between they truly were angels in helping us deal with everything we were going through. We made some really great Shands memories with those two crazy girls. And on our second visit instead of us going to them they came to where we were to check on us and spend time with Owen.
It's amazing how God uses people and places them in your life for a specific reason. There was Lindsey Wheeler, who when we finally talked face-to-face said, "we've met a few times through friends and you were always so nice to me." She made sure I was able to get my post-natal check-up done while Owen was in surgery so I wouldn't be sitting in a waiting room when he got out. There was Cassie Goodson with the Pentacostals of Gainesville who always managed to show up when we needed renewal and encouragement the most. Their church had prayer meetings 3 or 4 times a week and Owen was constantly lifted up in those meetings. And our cousin Linda & her husband Brian, who provided my parents with a place to stay every time they came down to be with us.
And our greatest swarm of angels were the people back home. The constant encouragement from our pastor, friends, family, co-workers, and church family back home. The phone calls, the text messages, the facebook posts, we knew that Owen was in everyone's thoughts and prayers and that gave us the most comfort of all. The anonymous donations, the love offerings, the fundraisers that friends and family put together for us, the amazing support that we felt from OUR community while we were all the way in Gainesville. The steady stream of visitors who came to check on us all of these things meant more to me than anything ever has in my life. Ed and I are beyond grateful. Everyday we are thankful for all of the people in our lives and all the many blessings that we so undeservingly received.
This post isn't meant as a thank you note (though I am thankful & I guess it is in a way) - but it's meant more as an acknowledgement of the fact that God provided us with these angels while we were far from home. I cannot possibly name every single person who impacted our lives these past few months but I do know them all by name and I will never forget the things that you all have done for us. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart and hope no one feels neglected in this blog. I simply wanted to express how God puts people in your life at just the right moment for just the right thing. I know some of our angels will be life-long friends and some we may never see again, but nonetheless you all were there and we appreciate all of you.