Friday, March 19, 2010

Bliss

Hello All!

You may notice that the tone of this blog may be a bit different than you're used to reading here. That is because the author is different. Kristi has invited me (Andrew) to write before, especially given the title of her, er rather 'our' blog. Until now I have not taken her up on the offer. The occasion? Our anniversary!


Kristi and I are celebrating our 4th year of marriage! I almost wrote wedded bliss, but that would not exactly be accurate. We have certainly not had four years of bliss. If I had known what I was going to experience in my first four years of marriage I would have thought twice. Before you start getting angry at me and feeling sorry for Kristi, please let me explain some of the not so blissful things I'm referring to.

About two months before we married, I lost my job. Then I decided it would be a good idea to get married, start a new job, move and buy a house in a two week timespan. Our wedding day was awesome, and we were happy simply because we were together. However, cramming all that I did into those two weeks was probably not the best idea I've ever had. It didn't exactly help us to experience much bliss-even at the start of our marriage when everything was "supposed" to be nothing but bliss.

Eventually things calmed down, and bliss did come our way. Suprisingly, I can't remember too much about that year and a half. All I can say is that we grew closer and had too much time on our hands. I know this because we spent way too much time fighting. At least we also had the time to make up...hence bliss! :)

That bliss is also partially responsible for the next season of not so blissful events. I am sure that most of you know the story...

"Suprise, we're pregnant!"

"Suprise, it's twins!"

Uneven fluid levels

Baby in distress

28-week hospital admittance

28-week delivery

2lb beautiful boys in NICU

PDA that wasn't closing

Brain bleed

PDA closed!

Hydrocephalus

Shunt surgery scheduled

Shunt surgery cancelled

Seizures

NEC

Surgery 1

Surgery 2

More seizures

50 days- Caleb home

One baby home, one in NICU

Thanksgiving

Christmas

New Year

Surgery 3

Balancing NICU, work, and home

130 days- LUKE HOME!

Dr.'s appointments

Therapy

Growth

Development slows

"Startles" appear

Happy 1st birthday!

24-hour EEG

St. Louis Children's

Infantile spasms diagnosed

Drug decisions

Seizures increase

More decisions

Ketogenic diet starts

Seizures continue

Lots of poop

18 days without a seizure!

...and that about brings us up to the present. Call me crazy, but bliss does not seem like the most appropriate word to describe this season of our lives. As it is with the truest and deepest human experiences, all words become extremely inadequate descriptors.

When I think over the events of the last two years, instead of words, I see thousands of snapshots. Moments captured forever in my mind. Many with intense emotions tied to them. Some with fear, heartache, and disappointment. Others with wonder, joy, and peace. Most with a confusing mix.

Almost all of them with one common character: Kristi.

I don't think anyone ever really knows the magnitude of what they are saying when they say, "I do." Two little words with such enormous weight. We didn't use the classic sickness/health, better/worse vows four years ago, but the commitment was essentially the same: "I'm with you, no matter what."

"No matter what" can happen a lot faster than I ever realized when I made that committment. I have experienced far more in four years than I ever thought possible.

  • I never thought I wouldn't get to cut my child's umbilical cord. 
  • I never thought I'd hear people ask "Are they twins?" so many times in one day. (Some day I'll get up the nerve to respond, "No, they're triplets." and then scream in horror as if I'd lost one.)
  • I never thought that I would be so excited to see my son poop the right way after pooping into a bag for months. 
  • I never thought that the same diet that would decrease his seizures by 90% would also cause him to have "blow outs" several times daily. (Thankfully, Kristi has had to clean up exponentially more of these than I have.  I'm going to nominate her for sainthood the minute I have enough time to fill out the paperwork!)

Although I've been casting most of these experiences in a not-so-blissful light, I would be foolish not to mention all of the good that has also come out of this season that I never thought would be possible.

  • I never thought I could experience so much elation and joy even in the midst of severe heartache. 
  • I never thought I would feel the presence of God simply by holding my child for the first time.  
  • I never thought I would laugh so many times in one day. 
  • I never thought I would cry tears of joy after seeing a picture of my son standing up against a couch next to his brother. 
  • I never thought I would enjoy reading the same book over and over and over and over and over again. 
  • I never thought it wouldn't be a chore to change a diaper.
  • I never thought I wouldn't cringe when I heard a baby cry.  
  • I never thought I would see God do so many miracles in such a short time. 
  • I never thought it would be so much fun to be a dad.

  • Most of all, I never thought I would have such an incredible woman with whom to share all of these experiences (that I never thought I would have).  I don't know anyone more hopeful, giving, graceful, or helpful, and she does it all with a simple, elegant beauty. I am so blessed that she is the one that will be with me "no matter what."  I couldn't ask for a better friend to live life with - even the un-blissful parts.  


I was being totally honest earlier when I said I would have thought twice before I married Kristi if I had known what we were going to experience. On second thought, now that I have lived with the decision for the past four years, it was the best decision I could have made. If there truly is such a thing as wedded bliss, it must come from cherishing the fact that you have someone to share all parts of life with.  In that sense, it is entirely accurate to say that I have experienced four years of wedded bliss, and I look forward to many more.

8 comments:

  1. Andrew- that post was such a beautiful tribute to your wife. Congratulations to you both on four years!

    I LOVED the twins/triplet comment. Perhaps I'll try it sometime :) Though my oldest is close enough in age to my twins that I actually get the triplet question alot. Maybe I could try quads?

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  2. What a good outlook on life you have! To see the joyful heart throughout the trials. You have been in our prayers and we are trusting in GOd with you that the next four...make that forty...or four hundred...years will be half the trials and triple the joy. You guys deserve a break! And a vacation to the beach...childless.

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  3. Congrats on four years! That is awesome. I pray you have many more years together...

    Your wife encourages me each time I read this blog. I know life must be really hard on you guys and yet she continually looks for the positive and to God as her strength. Puts my own troubles into perspective!

    I get the twins comment and my kids are 21 months apart! It is only occasional though, mostly when pushing the double stroller.

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  4. You and Kristi are an amazing couple. Just like your wife's posts, this post made me cry!
    Mike and I are blessed to know you both!

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  5. What a touching tribute to a very trying, but rewarding 4 year journey!!! Tears of joy for you, Kristi and the boys. Congrats on the wedding anniversary!!

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  6. Laughed out loud when I read the triplets thing -make sure that when you do it you video tape it and send it in to win 10,000 from AFV. =) I get the twins question all the time, too, all I can think is "really? they don't even look alike and one is 6 inches taller than the other." people.... =) Happy anniversary to a great couple, here's to much more bliss in the next 4, we hope to see you soon! =)

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  7. Well, I know that I have said this before, but I never thought that you could have met anyone that puts up with you like Kristi does! :) She's so patient, kind, loving...( i could go on and on) I am so glad that God brought her into your life, and ours!! :) Scary to say that she fits right into our family... you two truely do give inspiration and hope through these blogs, and through your lives. I LOVE YOU BOTH! - Erin -

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  8. Your post gave me goosebumps, Andrew. And I agree with Erin... Kristi is the PERFECT match for you! :)

    Joy

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