What a difference a year makes!
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One year! How soon it has come! Visiting St Joseph's Hospital every day for nearly 7 months made time seem to crawl. But ever since the boys came home we've been speeding through the days and months. Today I had a chance to look back over the past year of photos. I got very teary remembering the first hour of the boys' lives. Everything was happening so quickly. A team of nurses and doctors were surrounding Ambrose. I had to stand off to the side observing, without any understanding of the severity of the moment. I remember the doctor telling me that it wasn't looking good for Ambrose. I asked him to let me know when enough was enough, when there wasn't anything left to do without doing more harm to our little boy. As I said that, he said that at that moment they were doing the last possible thing they could do. Miraculously, that little boy pulled through. I still have a hard time looking at the pictures of Ambrose those first few weeks of life. They are hard pictures to see. A whithered little man with a million wires connected to him and a tube down his throat. I was really at peace when Fr. Muir was able to come to the hospital and baptize the boys within the first few hours of life.
The other day Gina and I were watching an episode of the Duggars and it was about their little preemie. It brought all the emotions back again and I couldn't bear to watch it. I even had to leave the room for a minute. I was really surprised at how sensitive I've become to seeing sick little babies. (That probably shouldn't be a surprise.)
These past couple of months we've seen great changes in our boys. After the spica cast, Ambrose is now in a hip abduction brace. He has it off for one hour a day. He is now a fan of rolling over. The problem is that he always seems to get one arm stuck under him. He lifts himself up with his arms and shows off his chest. He wants to get those knees up, but is still too weak. Charlie is a real showoff these days. He will crawl after everything that he knows he shouldn't touch. One day he pulled out Ambrose's feeding tube and started to drink the milk that was pumping out. Another day he'll pull Ambrose's nasal cannula and force his little head from side to side! He also likes to climb on Ambrose, but Ambrose doesn't seem to mind. He just stares and laughs. Recently, Ambrose has shown interest in eating by mouth. If you remember, he had an oral aversion for quite some time. He would also throw up after every feed. Not anymore. Possibly due to peer pressure, he now sits at the table with us and will open his mouth for food. And if you hadn't already heard, Gina switched him off formula/milk and put him on goat's milk. He no longer throw's up after his feeds. It's amazing! The GI specialists don't like the switch, but they haven't come up with anything better. You can see in Ambrose's eyes how happy he is now. There's more of a sparkle. Charlie, on the other hand, is a real hardcore eater. He will let you know if you're not feeding him fast enough. He squeals if you aren't moving at his pace. He's the cutest little boy and he always has such a serious look. And let's not forget the finger in the mouth! Not the thumb, but he prefers his index!
We are so grateful for all the prayers that we've received over this past year. The outreach was amazing. We received so many wonderful meals this past year from generous souls. The support from our friends and family, from Church groups, strangers across the country and abroad, has really humbled us and we've counted our blessings many times. God really has placed the best possible people in our lives. I wish that we could give back to everyone as much as has been given to us, but we trust that each will be greatly repaid in heaven. One thing that has made our lives a little nicer has been our move to a bigger home. We were blessed to purchase this home a few months back and it's allowed our boys more room to run and play. The commute to work and back isn't fun, but it gives us a chance to spend time with John Paul. What an amazing kid!
Lastly, none of the progress with Ambrose would have occured if it wasn't for Gina. She's a very special woman. She deserves all of the earthly credit for keeping our home and family together. I know how difficult it's been for her this past year, but somehow she keeps moving forward day after day. She's shed many tears over the boys...all of them. She is the one pushing the doctors for more help with Ambrose, pushing herself at all hours of the night, going back-and-forth to appointments after work, trying to do God's will in all things, and trying to maintain a marriage. She is the real hero. I love her very much and appreciate all the work she does for our family. I am honored to be her husband. I'm sure you are honored to be her friend/family/coworker, too. Let's ask Our Lady to protect our sweet Gina and that Our Lord strenghen her to fulfill her vocation faithfully.
God bless you.