Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of a day that changed my life forever. Karen had already been on home bed rest for a few weeks at the time. She was still only 20 weeks pregnant and we were scared to death.
We went in for a routine checkup on Friday morning, the 29th of August 2008. Making a long story short, it becamse evident very soon that it wasn’t going to be a routine checkup at all. The Dr. checked Karen out and left the room. Through the closed door we heard her say to a nurse down the hall “we’re going to need a wheel chair in there.” Mine and Karen’s eyes met. A tear rolled from hers. 8 months before we had lost a child to miscarriage. We were devastated.
I’m skipping the real miracle of the story by skipping ahead to this day in August. In between God answered the prayers of a broken hearted mother and a 4 year old little girl.
Karen was immediately admitted to Williamson Medical Center in preterm labor, transferred a few hours later to Centennial Women’s Center, and a few days later to Baptist Hospital. That was the beginning of the longest year of our lives. She stayed there for 10 weeks protecting Max and Kate. The doctors destroyed her body with medications to halt the labor. We knew what we were doing – and begged the doctors to do whatever they had to to protect our babies.
Izzy and I lived as a single father and daughter for those 10 weeks. It wasn’t easy for either of us. Karen eventually grew very ill with a mysterious infection and Max and Kate were taken by C-section 10 weeks early. They spent the next two months in hospitals.
Long story shorted again: they’re fine now. There were long months when we weren’t sure though. No one will ever understand the agony we endured as we watched over them during their illnesses – machines breathing for their tiny premature bodies. We were helpless, but God was there.
They’re perfect little babies now. Izzy started kindergarten and is loving it. The damage that was done to her has faded. Karen is struggling to recover still. Seems like she should have bounced back by now, right? It’s not that simple. As I said, we made decisions that we knew would harm her long term. I say “we”, but I mean “she” made decisions. She was brave and strong beyond measure and put the lives of her unborn children before her own.
Karen badly wanted to do the McMinnville City Triathlon tomorrow to honor the anniversary of when our long year began. It wasn’t meant to be though. She became ill again and that halted her training. Just when she recovered Max and Kate got sick again. So instead of her honoring the day, I’ll take her place tomorrow morning.
Lately I’ve been racing with others in mind. I did the Old Hickory Lake last year thinking of Karen, Max, Kate and Izzy. I did that race this year thinking of my mom’s struggle with cancer. While they will all be on my mind again tomorrow, this one is for me. I’ve had a trying year. My body has tried to shut down on me, but I won’t let it, not yet. Tomorrow I’m going to make it hurt. I’m going to enjoy the pain, like the pain through my whole body, it’s going to feel like home.