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leaving together was the best part

When Griffin was born we found out that he would need a minor surgery sometime after he turned one year old. I’m not going to talk about specifics because I am guessing he probably won’t appreciate that his mom detailed this part of his life on the internet when he is eighteen. So I will leave it at that. Just use your imagination. 😉

We always knew that the day might come when we would end up back at Cora’s hospital. Tuesday was that day. This little procedure that Griffin had done was not a big deal at all. We knew he would be fine and that we would leave later that morning or afternoon. But there is just something about walking those same hallways and waiting in the same waiting rooms and talking to the same surgeon and seeing all the medical equipment that just make you relive a lot of hard things.

But sometimes you do hard things because you love your kids fiercely and want the best for them. And Cora’s hospital was the place we needed to be to get the best care for Griffin. So at 5:30am we asked God for the strength we needed to get through whatever emotions that day would bring and we checked Griffin into the hospital.

He was not a fan of the hospital bracelet. He was so frustrated and trying so hard to figure out a way to get it off.

In fact he wasn’t a fan of most things at the hospital. He was cracking us up as we waited in the pre-surgery room.

The child life specialist came and gave him a mask that had stickers all over it to try to get him used to the mask they would use to put him to sleep before surgery. The second she started talking to him he turned his little head completely the other direction and wouldn’t even look at her. He never turned back around until she left. I tried to get him to play with the mask and he hit it away every time I brought it anywhere near him.

A little later the nurse wanted us to change him out of his jammies into the hospital gown. As soon as he saw what I was doing he just cried and cried. The sweet anesthesiologist saw how upset he was and suggested we just put his jammies back on so he didn’t get too worked up. She said that she would put the gown on him after he was asleep. The second we took that gown off he was fine. The tears stopped. If he could talk I’m pretty sure he would have said…don’t mess with me people! He’s a stubborn one. 🙂

We just hung out by his crib and drove trucks and played cows until it was time to go to the OR. And then it was time for the hardest part. Handing my baby off and waiting. The tears came as we walked away from him to that familiar waiting room. So many memories. But along with the tears I had an overwhelming sense of peace that day. It was a peace that could have only come from God as I walked through a place that held so many hard memories. Thank you, Jesus, for Your peace that is beyond our understanding.

The waiting was brief and the surgery brought good news. It wasn’t as invasive as we had expected. There is something about hearing the doctor tell you good news that makes my heart well up with thankfulness. I know this is such a little thing in comparison to the medical battles so many sweet children are facing right now, but we want to praise God for the little things too. Soon we were meeting Griffin in the hallway and following the nurse to his recovery room.

Surgery was over.

We were done.

And there he was, sleeping away.

We just watched him sleep and waited. So grateful.

Eventually we looked over and his eyes were peeking open. He wanted to be held and I jumped up so ready to have him in my arms again. After our happy reunion the next thirty minutes were pretty rough. He was trying to yank all his cords off. He was mad that he had apple juice in his cup instead of milk. And I’m sure he was in pain too. So he just cried and cried and I did my best to hold and comfort him…he is getting so heavy and strong! After he calmed down and drank his milk (our nice nurse went and found him some milk), we were ready to go home.

And then came the best part. Leaving. Together. Those same hallways that we had walked very early on a Sunday morning with empty arms and shattered hearts, we walked down again with a happy, healthy little boy in our arms. Knowing that we were going home together was the best feeling ever.  I will never walk through a hospital again without feeling a sense of heaviness knowing that there are families inside dealing with some really difficult, life-changing things. And I will never walk out again with my child in my arms without feeling extremely grateful. Grateful for the gift of health and life and more days to spend together.

Leaving together was definitely the best part.

  • Lacie Hutchins - All three of my children were born at the same hospital. My first was stillborn at 37 weeks. Each time I went back there to deliver a baby, I was terrified they would put me in the same room. (I think that my doctor knew that and made every effort possible to keep that from happening). Each of my babies were delivered in different rooms. I sensed great healing during the birth of my last child, my only boy (two months younger than Griffin). Not only was I at the same hospital for all three births, I had the same anesthesiologist. Each birth was terrifying for me. She remembered me. During my labor with my son, I had pain that an epidural could not take care of. I was in so much pain it was difficult to hold it together. This woman talked to me in a calm and caring manner. She talked me through my fears and pain. She talked me off of that ledge so to speak. I will never forget her. Oh what healing the familiarity of each birth was to my first despite how terrifying those memories were at the time. Oh what healing it was to have a different ending. I think back on this often when I am dealing with stubborn children. Or tonight as my daughter is fighting our 4th stomach bug in 6 months. I will NEVER regret being a mother. I know what it is like to feel that emptiness. I am so grateful that I didn’t have to feel that again! God is good!ReplyCancel

  • Annabel - Oh Jess, your sweet boy was so brave! The last paragraph made me cry… I’m so thankful you got to leave with Griffin and I’m forever thinking about beautiful Cora in heaven.ReplyCancel

  • susan - Hi Jess, this post gave me goosebumps – you are so brave and it is your confidence in knowing that God was by your side that is just so empowering.

    For various reasons, I recently needed to move church and landed up going to the one where we held my husband’s funeral almost 9 years ago. It was very hard, but I had my little boy in the room next door and knowing that he was waiting to give me a cuddle afterwards made it all worth while. We are both very happily settled into our new church and now that I’m over the initial agony of sitting in the same pews, in the same place that held so much saddness (I hadn’t been there since the funeral), we love our new church and Sunday School. It’s not nearly the same thing that you’ve had to deal with and I can’t begin to imagine what it must’ve been like leaving that hospital without Cora. You are both so positive and your boys are such wonderful blessings. It’s sad how death makes us aware of how blessed we really were, but it does make us appreciate so much more what we have now.

    Wishing you everything of the berst,
    Sue XReplyCancel

  • PK - Why is it that I do not even know you but I feel like I do. You are the sweetest person and I love how you love God so dearly. You always make me want to be a better person. If only you could know how reading your stories makes me a better and stronger person. I always find a tear in my eyes when reading your posts sometimes froma giggle or sometimes from the truth of life. May God continue to bless you and your family. You are an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • babykatesmom - Praise the Lord that you did leave together. Those pictures of your husband carrying Griffin down the hallway brought a tear to my eye, I can only imagine how it was for you. Thank you for sharing this joy. Praying for your sweet family.

  • tonya mcdaniel - bless your sweet heart, jess! praising god with you for a successful and uneventful procedure for your boy!ReplyCancel

  • Gabby - Jess, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now; I found you through Sarah Friesen. You have just the lovliest family! Like babykatesmom, I teared up at the photos of daddy and Griffin leaving the hospital. God Bless You.ReplyCancel

  • Penny Smith - I am usually just a lurker… But I need to speak up and say, thank you for sharing your heart! Your transparency is wonderful, and I am grateful for your positive outcome.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Yes. Leaving together with a full car seat . . . God gives us good gifts, doesn’t He!?ReplyCancel

  • Sian - A brave mum, dad and little boy. Your last paragraph was special. You have such a good perspective on life – thank you for sharing 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Stefanie - I’m so glad the procedure went well. Praying he recovers from the surgery quickly!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - Jesse I am so glad he is doing great! He is so adorable! I think you should think about becoming a photographer. Your photos are always so amazing. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Mindy - Hi Jess ! I usually don’t comment,I just follow your blog.However,I just wanted to say I understand.My baby,Brooklyn just had her 2nd cleft palate surgery In 8 months.While its not a MAJOR surgery,it is complicated.And,personally knowing somebody who’s daughter passed from a non major surgery,I felt very grateful to walk away EVEN after a surgery with my baby in my arms.I love what you said..” We want to praise God for the little things too ” Love,Mindy BTW..I really want to buy a Cora dress for Brooklyn,will u be making anymore ?ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Mindy-That would be so hard! Glad Brooklyn is doing ok. We aren’t making any dresses right now, but there is a chance we might be selling one more batch of them something in the future. Not sure when?? I will post on the blog if it happens!

    • Jess - Mindy-That would be so hard! Glad Brooklyn is doing ok. We aren’t making any dresses right now, but there is a chance we might be selling one more batch of them something in the future. Not sure when?? I will post on the blog if it happens!ReplyCancel

  • creole wisdom - You are awesome Jess. That takes courage. I can tell how happy you all were to walk out together… those smiles are so genuine! Hope Griffin is resting up and back to his usual, busy, toddler self!ReplyCancel

  • elizabeth - this is so very sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel B. - Thank you for this beautiful post. Glory to Him! Prayers for swift healing for G!ReplyCancel

  • Jill - I’m just crying reading this. I can’t imagine the emotions that came with walking the hallways of that hospital. Always amazed at your strength. Thankful your baby boy is ok.ReplyCancel

  • Amie Kruse Long - So happy you got to walk out with that adorable, healthy boy. Avery had a very brief hospital stay last December and also hated the hospital bracelet. Still love following your blog and think of you all often!ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Amie-It is so hard to see our babies in the hospital, right?! So good to hear from you! And congratulations on your new little one…so exciting!

    • Jess - Amie-It is so hard to see our babies in the hospital, right?! So good to hear from you! And congratulations on your new little one…so exciting!ReplyCancel