welcome 2018

welcome 2018. it will still take me 3 months to write 2018 because of habit. it’s amazing how much things can change in just 12 short months. as in how a life can completely flip turn upside down. i don’t mean that in a negative way i’m just amazed at how one day i went from living my life the same way for over 30 years to abruptly and completely changing it.

2017 was a year of so many highs and lows. as most years are. some years are better than others and some are so good that you beg them to stay. i still haven’t quite decided what 2017 was for me. i think i was happy to see it go. that’s for sure. but i think i learned more in 2017 than i have in my entire life.

honestly i don’t even know where to begin breaking down 2017 because in so many ways i feel like it broke down me. when we found out we were pregnant we were excited to become parents. they write for better or for worse in your marriage vows.. they should probably do that for having children too. we entered in to parenthood totally blind and oblivious to the fact that anything could be remotely wrong. we learned a major major lesson in assumptions, life, parenting, love and God.

exactly half way through my pregnancy we got called back in for a few more ultrasounds. honestly, i didn’t think a whole lot of it. we had a few blips early on so the two or three we got called back for i didn’t take very seriously.

i will never forget where i was the moment i got the call about otto’s heart. i was late (of course) heading to the day care facility that we were touring and i answered the phone even though i usually never answer unknown numbers. it was a nurse explaining that they think they see something they want a closer look at but stronger equipment is needed and we need to go to the specialist early next week. i immediately started to question what is going on. tell me more. she really didn’t have anything to say other than they don’t know. i felt the wind leave my lungs and i shallow breathed all the way to the daycare. i sat in my car and numbed myself to make it through this interview. in my head i kept thinking as soon as this is done i can unload this information on joe and he’ll assure me it’s no big deal and we will move on.

we didn’t even make it to the truck before i burst in to tears telling him about the phone call. in his typical joe way he calmed me down and said there is no sense worrying about it until we know if it’s anything to be worried about.

i will never forget joking around with the ultrasound tech watching ottos big breech head bob back and forth. i remember the tech switching to the 3 d ultrasound and us getting to see his face for the first time (as much as an ultrasound could). i remember the tightening in the techs jaw when she saw the heart defect and went to catch the cardiologist before he went to lunch.

i will never forget sitting in the bathroom of the ultrasound room trying to collect myself so that the doctor wouldn’t sugar coat anything for me and i could understand what was going on.

i will never forget being herded into that small windowless room with a coloring book of heart defects and going over otto’s issues.

i will never forget having blood drawn to see if our son had downs syndrome. watching the blood leave my arm demanding it to be fine and this is a nightmare.

i will never forget on mothers day getting an accidental alert that the results were in.

i will never forget getting the voicemail that our sweet otto indeed had a heart defect but not down syndrome.

i will never forget flying into joe’s office to listen to the message together.

i will never forget the night before otto was born. walking the pier and eating pizza with joe on the beach. enjoying the last few hours of just the two of us.

i will never forget walking into that delivery room with my amazing nurse stephanie who guided me each step of the way.

i will never forget squeezing joe’s hand and frantically waiting for that first cry.

i will never forget the doctor yelling “do you have red hair in your family?! Joe do you want to call it out?” joe replying no and the doctor yelling from across the blue tarp “you guys have a boy! you have a son!”

i remember laying on that table trying to see above all the medical crap to get the first look at my son. i remember for the first time in my life being absolutely and completely stunned.

i remember sitting in that crappy recovery room waiting for joe to text me that everything was ok with otto.

the days sitting in the nicu willing otto to eat. visiting him late at night. sitting with him, rocking him. the wires dragging everywhere.

receiving the news that we had a few more complications than we originally thought.

i remember the day we got home from the nicu and just slept in the living room on a rainy afternoon.

i remember being home with otto wondering what i had got myself in to. wanting desperately some part of my old life back.

i will never forget how fricken hard those first few weeks with a newborn were. wondering how the heck i was ever going to make it through this.

i will never forget otto entering heart failure.

i will never forget clutching him while listening to our incredible surgeon go over how we were going to go about fixing this.

i will never forget clutching my sweet 2 month old child in my arms. barely knowing each other yet and telling my fingers to loosen their grip. telling my arms to move him forward. telling my body to step away and hand him to the anesthesiologist.

i will never forget her grabbing my elbow and with tears in her own eyes assuring me that she was a mother too and would take good care of her. and i looking back at her, trusted and believed her.

i will never forget running back to the room when the surgeon was out sooner than expected and was telling us how much worse otto was than expected and me going “BUT IS HE OK?!” and joe and the surgeon smiling saying yes it went better than expected.

i will never forget walking into the recovery room seeing my boy all hooked up and oddly thinking to myself he looks so old.

i will never forget the days that followed where he did not get better. where he continued to get worse. i remember begging and begging God to change things around. i remember finally sitting in our room after i was finished pumping laying flat on the ground with my hands upturned just barely mouthing the words fine. let your will be done. but give me the strength to make it through whatever your plan is.

i will never forget when a second surgery was scheduled and otto made a miraculous improvement. and kept improving until we got out of there.

i will never forget when i got to finally hold him again after days and days and his heart rate calming so low when i finally got to hold him.

i will never forget being home again and getting to know him on a whole new level.

i will never forget the continuous improvements each day that he makes.

i will never forget how much stronger joe and i have become through this process. how we have developed a sense when the other needs a break. understanding. and a mutual love for this person that is a hybrid of us.

i will never forget how otto knows my voice, my hands, my hair. his big beautiful blue eyes so alert and attentive.

i will never forget how 2017 made me a mother. took me through some of the biggest challenges of my life. and maybe prepared me for round 2 in 2018.

2017 brought me closer to God, taught me that i am in not in control as much as i’d think i’d like to be. it taught me to count my blessings. count God’s graces. and be still in the moment and try not to worry about the future.

2017 was the biggest year of my life. and my son and i both have the battle scars to prove that we made it through it. i am grateful for the lessons that i learned from it but worn and weary from having to learn them.

i am a changed person because of 2017 and i’m better for it. i’m just hoping for a little bit more blissful 2018.


  1. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and your story.

  2. Jo Nelson says:

    Beautiful. And thanks….I hadn’t cried yet today!

  3. Julie Lay says:

    Thank you for sharing. I can relate to your world being turned upside down when you have children. But those sweet little moments make up for the trying moments, don’t they?! Thanks for being so open and being a blessing!

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