Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To My Sweet Six Year Old!

On May 15, 2006, we welcomed our second baby girl into the world. Little Miss Peyton Elisabeth weighed in at 7 pounds right on the nose. A lot bigger than her 5 lbs 14 oz big sister was a couple years before!  I was induced at 37 weeks after enduring yet another high risk pregnancy.  My ob/gyn was not going to allow me to go any further since I have a history of severe pre-eclampsia and blood clots after pregnancy.  Peyton was done.  I was done.  Job well done.

Me holding Peyton in the NICU when she was just a few days old.

When Peyton was born, she came quickly.  She was assessed like any newborn and handed over to me like any newborn.  She was beautiful.  She had so much hair!  Moira didn't have much hair at all for the first couple years, but Peyton looked like she'd just come from the salon with all this beautiful soft hair that looked like it had highlights in it.  Everyone commented on that.  She was perfect in every way.

Me, Moira {26 months old} and Peyton.
We didn't know in those first moments that God had a completely different plan in mind for our family when Peyton was born.

We didn't know that within hours of her birth my room would have a revolving door with doctors {hers, not mine} coming in to tell me one by one of all the things they were finding "wrong" with her. Things that were completely unexpected.  Blindsiding us, every one of them.

We didn't know that our very existence was about to change in a way that most families don't have to experience.  We would find ourselves immersed in the world of "special needs" which was so foreign to us just hours before.  We would begin to learn a whole new vocabulary - medical terms that I can now throw around with the best of them.

We didn't know that within two weeks of her birth, she would be undergoing not one, but two surgeries just days apart.  And we surely did not know that over the six years that would follow, that she would undergo twenty surgeries.

We didn't know how all-consuming this new existence would eventually become.  We didn't anticipate that we would be forced into losing my income to better meet her needs at home.  We didn't anticipate that that decision would result in us moving clear across the country to a whole new place where we would have no family or friends {at first} and where we would have to begin again in a new medical community, training all the medical professionals on what it means to be "Peyton".

Tiny little hands still at almost six years of age.
We didn't know the isolation we would experience in becoming a part of this special needs community.  When she became not only special needs, but "medically fragile", we didn't know what that would mean for our family's day to day existence.

We didn't know the depths of our strength - the strength that we would require day in and day out.  We didn't know that there would be plenty of times in our future where we would have to dig in even deeper and find strength in places we never knew we had.

We didn't know that our faith would be tested, torn apart, shattered, and then bit by bit pieced back together.  We didn't know that the very thing we should have relied on from day one was our heavenly Father.  We didn't know for a long time that He did not send her by way of punishment or burden or out of lack of care or concern for us.  What we would come to find out was that He had a special plan for Peyton and that He chose us.  He chose us - He didn't "do this to us".

"Peyton's Field of Flowers" by April L. Knight
What I have come to know is that I have an incredible love for this child.  Never once have I had an "regrets".  If I had to go on this journey again and wind up with Peyton being the same Peyton she is today, I would still choose the journey.  Maybe knowing in advance that our lives would turn out different from what we'd imagined would have bought us more time to get used to the idea, but I don't know that it would have made a real difference to us.

I have an incredible love for this daughter of mine who will never be able to tell me that she loves me.  She'll never say "mama" or "dada".  She'll never do a lot of the things we dreamed of.  But it doesn't matter.  God created her for a purpose - and she doesn't have to do any of those things to achieve His will.

I had no idea the blessing that Peyton would be in our lives.  I had no idea the blessing she would be to other people's lives.  I truly do not think I fully comprehend the impact this child has had on the little world around her.  All I know is that she has taught me far more than I could ever teach her!

Peyton has beautifully precious teeny tiny little "baby" feet still.

I am told often by people that they don't know how I do it or that I have so much strength and so on.  I receive compliments and comments that I just simply don't feel worthy of.  Why?  Because I'm just doing what God has called me to do.  I'm not doing anything extraordinary.  I'm being a mom - to Moira and Peyton.  Yes, the job is filled with so many challenges and trials that others cannot even imagine, but I'm just doing my job as a mom.  I don't know that I'm doing anything special.

If anything, I am the one who is in awe.  There are times where I step back from the situation and am in awe of the fact that God entrusted Peyton to us.  I have no idea why.  He could have chosen anyone, but He chose us.  For however long He sees fit to leave her here with us, she is ours to nurture and to raise according to His will.  We will do just that for as long as He has planned.

For now - this day - we are so blessed and honored to be able to celebrate another birthday with Peyton.  I cannot believe she is six today!  I have no idea where the years went.  They flew by pretty fast.

Happy Birthday, sweet Peyton!!!

Peyton - Valentine's Day - Luke 14 Dinner 2012


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