Taking up a Shield of Faith

December 26, 2013

This is not a tragedy.

I do hate it. I do wish it wasn’t sucking up the first six months of Hudson’s life and pulling our family apart during what should be a bonding time with our new baby.  I do wish, more than anything, that I didn’t have to see my baby hurt or watch people put drugs into him time and time again, but this is no tragedy.

Nope. Not even close.

Tragedy was hearing a heartbeat and then three weeks later seeing blood.

Tragedy is never getting to hear the precious heartbeats of two other babies we will never hold on this earth.

This family knows tragedy, and this simply isn’t it.

This…this is a pause. A murky spot in a family’s life. Because Hudson will survive this. The Marshalls will survive this.

necklace
Ten days since diagnosis day. Each bead represents every needle, scan, x-ray, overnight stay, etc. he has had in the last ten days.

When people wonder how I stay so positive or how I’m so strong, I think of two things.

First, I am positive because, really, what’s the alternative? I get all “Why us?” and then what? What do my boys get from that? What does this family get from that?

Nothing.

Instead, we cry our eyes out when we have to, pull ourselves up once we’re done, and we push forward because it lets us live. It lets us laugh (especially Hudson, who has developed the most adorable belly laugh), it lets us chase each other around the house, snuggle with hot cocoa and watch Christmas movies, and then it lets us laugh some more.

cookies-for-santa

My strength?

Let me make this perfectly clear: this is not my strength. I am held up solely by our Savior.

All the glory goes to Him.

Every time I (the girl who passed out when they drew blood for pregnancy) watch a needle go into my baby without even getting the slightest bit queasy, or loving on him to help him through pain, when I would normally be sitting with my head down trying not to fall over, that’s all Him.

tummy-time

I pray for strength every time.

I ask and I receive.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard or isn’t troubling; it just means He helps me make it through.

It’s crazy. Every time I have to flush a Broviac (port) line, scared to death I’m going to mess up, or stay with him through a procedure where I see way more than I wanted to, I make it all the way to the end.

To the part where he is resting and happy again, and then I fall apart. Not a moment before.

Yes, part of that is me fighting for him, but I cannot take the credit. It would be a lie.

With that strength and positivity, we faced Hudson’s first chemo treatment and second admission into the hospital head on.

chemo-day-1

This stay was especially tough on Cohen because he didn’t see me at all for three days, and he has been having a hard time trusting that I’m not going to leave for a few days again. This morning, he said, “Mommy, you don’t want to take care of me.”

This broke my heart- I mean really broke it in two-but I have to keep focus on the big picture.

Focus on the one thing I know is certain: when Cohen has his little brother to grow up with, this will all be worth it.

I know that he doesn’t understand it now, but that’s what parents do. We do the tough things that help our kids in the long run. We hurt for them, and we shoulder the responsibility because that’s what we do. It’s our God-given privilege to do so.

Doing the tough stuff for our kids definitely hit home at our stay at the hospital, which was much more eventful than I had planned. I expected Thursday to be his first day of chemo. The end. However, true to hospital fashion, it was not that simple.

First, we weren’t sure if his Broviac was working properly because I had a hard time flushing one of the lumens the night before. On top of that, we had to go down to X-Ray to make sure it was placed correctly because the model they used on him made the nurses wonder, so we went down there first.

X-Ray is relatively quick, so we got an EKG and an Echocardiogram, too as a baseline for what his heart looks and sounds like now because one of the drugs can harm his heart. Then, we did a hearing test because another drug can harm his hearing, and we needed a baseline for that as well.

echo-and-ekg

They tested his urine (cotton balls in the diaper…genius), flushed his Broviac (which nurse Jenna did with ease, thank goodness!), and then we did chemo.

Thank goodness for my momma who rushed over from work so Steve could spend an hour and a half of Hudson’s first treatment with him.

It would last 6 hours total once he got two hours of fluids to make sure he was hydrated.

Friday was big for Steve. He went back to work and we had our babysitter, Ruthanne stay with Cohen for the full day.

For Hudson and Mommy, Friday was more of what they did Thursday with the addition of an anti-nausea drug he got all three days, chlorhexidine wipes for his arms, back, and legs to help prevent blood infection, and the newest addition to our life, changing diapers every hour with gloves to help as much as we can with the rash that comes from the chemo.

It’s awful. Thank goodness for prescription zinc oxide.

Chemo day two went well, but that night was rough because that was the night the rash appeared and he screamed every time the nurses changed him.

dec-20

He had to have a blood transfusion first, and handled his final day of round one well, but we were told he would need to either stay the night again or come in the next day at 2 p.m. for a drug called Neupogen.

He would have to receive his first dose in the hospital for observation then given by me through his Broviac for the next 7-10 days. This will help his bone marrow regenerate.

first-transfusion-12-21-13
Hudson’s first blood transfusion.

Crazy how quickly one can go from being the momma that is freaking out about putting saline into her baby’s nose to suck out snot to being the momma who administers drugs through a tube in a hole in her infant’s chest.

Thank goodness for our wonderful home care nurses who will be here to teach me how to do this properly. I’m nervous about this because it took 20 minutes to give Neupogen to him today, but I know this will just become one more part of our new normal, and we’ll be just fine.

snuggle-bug
Sleeping after his first dose of Neupogen.

I do keep the big picture in mind, and it helps for sure, but the Devil is trying his hardest to creep into my positivity, tear down my hope and faith that the Lord is healing my baby.

I have to fight it every day.

Those thoughts pop into my head as sudden fears and worries when I know better than to worry. I am so thankful for my friend, Danielle who told me that when we don’t know what to pray that just saying, “God, help!” can be enough. That He knows how to help us best and pull us through.

I cannot count how many times I have prayed, “God, help!” this week.

hudson-mask
A baby who is immunosuppressed during cold and flu season is intense.

So thankful that every time I do, I can tell the Devil to get out of my head.

That I believe wholeheartedly that the Lord has His hand on my baby boy.

I know this with all of my heart, but that doesn’t mean that this faith of mine is not tested time and time again every single day.

But Momma, like Hudson Xavier, is a fighter.

God, I know You know my heart.

I know You are holding our family together.

I know You have the power to heal our baby so we can live this beautiful life You have given us together.

All the glory to You, forever and ever.

Prayer Requests:

*Good genetic test results

*Strengthen our ties to each other (Steve and me) as this takes a toll on any marriage. We have been though a couple of heartbreaking things together that is helping us handle this, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need prayer.

*For Cohen to somehow understand that Mommy has to care for Hudson at times, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to care for him. That he will find peace with what we have to do to help his sick baby brother and know that I love him more than he can ever possibly comprehend.

PRAISES!:

*First round of chemo done and no sickness!

*A baby who sleeps through the night!

*The every hour changes is done!

*Such a fun time together now that we’re home playing as a family.

*Finding out that I have five weeks of FMLA left so I can keep my job and insurance!

*Finding that insurance is going to cover Hudson’s treatments.

*All the prayer across the globe for our baby boy

*Wonderful friends new and old who are helping in so many ways (babysitting, messages, texts, surprises on our front door, meal train, funny videos with the belief that laughter is the best medicine, and just loving on us when we need it most).

*People who are coming to the Lord in prayer who aren’t usually speaking with Him

*HUDSON IS HERE AND IN OUR ARMS!!!

santa-baby

Ephesians 6:16

“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Luke 17:6

“He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.'”

 

Thank you for joining us on this journey. Your prayers are so appreciated!

 

Andrea 🙂

 

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