Wednesday, February 19, 2014

JDK Turns One

My sweet, my all, my precious baby is a year old.  Considering how vividly I remember that Sunday he was born, it does not feel like 365 days have since passed. My water broke, I had a few hours of contractions, then, I heard him.  Right before my OBGYN pulled him out, there was a muffled cry as he was about to trade the womb for the big, cold world.  The five minutes it took before I could see him were an eternity; I was waiting for the best birthday present I would ever receive.
February (Whitney Knutson Photography)
March (Megan Hynes)
I have been brainstorming for about a week what all to write about him for his birthday post.  It would be easy for me to go into every intricate detail of his personality and character for hours on end, but for the sake of any readers I will write the abridged description of my little chunky hunky: JDK.
From the moment he wakes up to the moment I put him down, he is filled with more joy than anyone, and especially any baby, that I have ever met.  There might be some whines and a few crocodile tears thrown in, but even then he'll pause his attempt at being a typical baby to shower me with cuddles and flash his mega-watt two-tooth smile. Speaking of which, he is a SNUGGLER.  Example: tonight after his bath and bottle (now drinking organic whole milk, woohoo!), he laid down next to me on the couch and softly babbled, his head resting on my shoulder.  Almost nothing tops your baby's expressions of love to you.
The kid is a social butterfly.  He thrives in the nursery setting, where I often find him playing with his fellow babies' feet, or when surrounded by cousins at a family gathering, laughing and basking in the glory of being around those little people closer to his age.  I am thankful he's sociable, but boy is he a flirt.  While endearing to the ladies (of all ages) receiving this sort of attention, it terrifies me.  That dark hair and blue eyes thing he's got going on is a rare, lady-grabbing combo.  Okay, I can't think about this anymore!!! Moving on...
 JDK loves to eat.  That baby loves eggs, clementines, meatloaf, cheese, potatoes, crab cakes....just about anything you lay before him.  He's never had a carbonated beverage in his life, but if he sees you drinking one he will try to give you a kiss so he can get a taste.  My sweet is standing up for longer periods every day, and has even taken a hesitant step, but he still loves the ease and efficiency of crawling.  As of yet there is no "first word" but he's fluent in imitating nonsense sounds and squealing.  He knows where his nose is (and momma's nose), and loves to play catch with his football.
One thing I love is that, despite my parents living thousands of miles away and having not been here in a few months, JDK still knows who "Mimi and Papi" are.  We video chat with them frequently and when I ask him, "Want to Skype with Mimi and Papi?" he stops what he's doing and crawls ever so hastily to my laptop.  Granted, he's been known to end a call or two from being too curious with the keyboard. 
Oh yes, I can't leave out what a ham he is.  This quality is programmed in his genes, straight from yours truly.  There is nothing more this baby loves than a captive audience for whom to put on a show.  If he's crying, a camera flash will magically cheer him up.  If you ask (or if you don't) he will gladly do his silly face or his favorite yoga pose for you...again, and again, and again.
Some call him John, a few "J.D.", but his momma calls him Dash: the name that jumped off the page of the baby name book.  My sweet Dash teaches me about kindness and God's mercy day after day.  My daily prayer is that he will always be as joyful and kind as he is now, that he won't be the type of person who has to learn things the hard way, and that he will delight in the Word and not stray from his Creator.  I love you sweet JDK; you have blessed all those around you since day one and I am so excited to see what our second year with you has in store!

Sons are a heritage from the Lord,
children a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Divine Appointments of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

You might have already guessed that, despite the title, this post has nothing to do with a Sandra Bullock movie based on a best-selling book.  Henceforth on my blog, "ya-ya sisterhood" refers to my fellow women who have an ostomy of some sort.  Many call themselves "ostomates", but the term has never quite endeared itself to me. Too sailor-y.

My nursing assistant position at the hospital allows me to work with many new members of the sisterhood, but the population is largely geriatric patients who suffered from diverticulitis.  However, a couple weeks ago I was surprised at the younger age of a new patient who, after suffering from an irritable bowel disease for many years, had gotten an ileostomy.  Over the next week and a half that she was my patient, we traded icky stories and shared experiences which developed that close-knit NA-patient relationship that happens every so often.  At the end of my sixth shift with her (which would be my last), I rushed to meet my five-day weekend and missed the chance to tell her what a pleasure it had been to listen and share with her.

A day and a half into my nice, long weekend a friend texted me asking if I could cover her shift from 3-7 on a Thursday afternoon.  I could always use the extra money even four hours would give, and not wanting to be the type of coworker who doesn't do favors, I told her I could do it.

I was a little apprehensive as I drove into the parking garage that afternoon, as I had never worked during day shift and didn't quite know what to expect.  I arrived early to have quiet time in my car, as is my routine before work.  I sent up a quick prayer for compassion for my patients (something that doesn't come naturally to me) and for divine appointments - something you never quite know what to expect for after you pray for it.

I forgot all about the latter request as I was given report on my patients.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that my ya-ya sister was still there. We could converse more and then I'd be able to give her a proper goodbye.  As it happened there was a lull around 4, so I went into her room to speak with her and pass the time.

I walked in, and she was in a consultation with her ostomy nurse.  After a bit of listening and charting, I let the ostomy nurse in on my secret - that I belonged to the sisterhood as well.  This spurred on a wonderful conversation between the three of us about diet, skin issues, ostomy equipment (Coloplast forever!) and learning how to adapt to the new lifestyle.  After showing off my bag to the two and referring the patient to Ostomy Secrets for bag and stoma-friendly girdles, the nurse requested my information and asked me:

"Would you like to talk to patients about life with an ostomy?"

Now this is an opportunity for which I have been yearning.  There is nothing about my stoma that blesses me more than being able to share experiences with those who are just embarking on the ostomatey journey.  I, of course, gave her a cool "YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES!!!" The ostomy nurses only work on day shift, and I couldn't believe how fortunate this meeting was.

At that point my patient chimed in and said, "You know, I really was hoping to go home this morning.  And now I'm glad I didn't.  Isn't it amazing how God works like that?"  She had a point, there.  If she had gotten to go home that morning...if I hadn't taken that afternoon shift...if she hadn't asked her nurse to come back after lunch instead of meeting at the planned time...this whole incident, this "divine appointment", which was clearly meant to be, wouldn't have taken place. 

All this to say, we have a God who has a way better plan for our day than we do and I wish I were more receptive to it everyday.  That time with my patient and her ostomy nurse might seem to my readers as just an anecdote from an ordinary day, but it was an incredible blessing to me and so much more fulfilling than anything else I would have been doing at that time.  I think I'll have to pray for divine appointments more often and see what happens...

Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Esther 4:14 NKJV