Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Learning through the Struggle - Kristy's Story

Last year, I asked for ya'll to pray for my littlest cousin Jesup as she was going into surgery to repair a cleft pallet. Since the surgery, Jesup has been flourishing. She is getting so strong and growing like crazy! In December, she celebrated her first birthday. Even though I'm miles and miles away, I love getting updates from my Aunt Kristy on the progress Jesup is making. Through our weekly text chats, Kristy brought up the idea of starting her own blog. As someone who loves blogging and the sense of community blogging provides, I told her to do so! She decided to write a introduction of who she is and what life has been like raising Miss Jesup. She wants to share that intro with you. I hope you enjoy Kristy's story. It's one that has completely made me look at my aunt in a new light. Hands down, Kristy is one of the strongest women I know. 

Hello! Just thought I’d share a bit of my life story with everybody. I’m hoping it will create a new outlet for me and create some new friends along the way. I’m a stay at home mom and like all of us, need some me time and I thought blogging would give me a piece of me time. My kids are 18, 15, and 1. And yes I do think I’m crazy for starting all over again. It was quite a surprise to my husband and I. We were under the impression we couldn’t have any more children. So much for science! In all seriousness though, Jesup has been a wonderful addition to our family. She has literally turned our world upside down. In the best of ways.

I met my husband when I was 12. Seems kind of silly now to look back at me telling my mom that I loved him. Years later, I understand why she laughed. But I did really love him. I knew in some strange way that he needed me. Because he seemed so sad. At 16 we got pregnant on purpose. So we could be together (don’t ever do that). Then my mom let me move in with him (just like we planned). No one knew until later that our precious baby girl Lacey was a planned pregnancy. She is now 19 and is starting college this winter. Being young parents is hard; I have no idea how I’ve survived. But maybe I’ll tell you more about that later. We had our son Jarrett at 20. Just babies ourselves really. Had no idea what we were doing. He’s in 8th grade now. He’s at the age when everything is so dramatic. It kills me. Girls and video games are his thing right now. I try to enjoy this time because as I’ve learned through the years these moments don’t last forever. And one day I will wish he was in his room again playing a video game. Time and struggles have changed me. I’m a different mom today than I was when Lacey was born. Maybe that’s why God gave me Jesup. Maybe now I have the patience and wisdom I needed to deal with all the special needs she was born with.  

She had a cleft pallet (that the hospital missed) and we brought her home not knowing about it. She also had jaundice so I thought that she wasn’t eating because of it. After day five of her just screaming and not eating the amount of milk she should eat my husband called his sister (Stephanie's Mom) who was a neonatal nurse. She came over, picked Jesup up and found her cleft pallet in 2 seconds. By this time Jesup was getting lethargic (I thought was due to jaundice) so I had been trying to bath her to keep her awake to eat. Tammy (his sister) said we should take her to the hospital right away. She was very worried and said for me to keep her awake on the way to the hospital. Looking back now I’m positive if I had let her go to sleep that night she wouldn’t have woke back up. Around her mouth was turning blue and she just couldn’t stay awake anymore. Tammy saved her life.  I still haven’t thanked her for that but I really need to. 

Once we got all that figured out we have noticed some development delays along the way. She can’t get to a sitting position on her own and still hasn’t rolled over. She’s one year old and sad to say she’s just not a very happy baby. She had her cleft pallet repaired at 10 months. That was the week I finally broke down. I sat in my bathtub and cried for 2 hours. I just thought, “How am I going to do this? I don’t know how to care for this baby. I don’t know what she wants. I can’t soothe her (she had cried for 7 days solid) I know something is wrong with her.” All the blood tests for Down syndrome had came back negative. I called her doctor and told them what she was doing. She wasn’t in pain. She just whined. Like she was bored and irritated. She wasn’t acting any different except it was just intensified. She had never been real content. Usually only satisfied for 10 or 20 minutes, then we would move her to a different spot in the house until she got bored with that. Thank God for Lacey's help. She’s been my life saver.

Well after her surgery she would only be content for 2 minutes. Then she was whining again. Turned out I just needed a break. I took my husband’s advice and went to work with him for a couple days. He works on a cattle farm. The break was just what I needed. Soon Jesup was doing a little better. Enough that I could handle it anyway. She has good days and bad days. We still don’t have any answers to her delays and we don’t know what the future holds for her. We are just learning to adapt to her needs. I love every minute of every day that I spend with her.

We recently went to church after not attending in a while. I have gotten out of the habit of going because our lives have seemed so chaotic. We have only been going once every two or three weeks.  When the singing started yesterday she looked at me like, “what’s going on Momma?” I gave her a smile of reassurance that everything was okay and I opened a songbook and started singing with them.  I saw her watching me out of the corner of my eye. She would look at me and then look at the singers. Then back to me again. She reached out for me to pick her up so I did. I sat her in my lap and she reached for the songbook and put it in her lap. Then she held it just like I was. She was really enjoying herself. It’s the little moments like this that I enjoy so much. I can’t express the joy she brings to my heart as her Momma. I’m so blessed that God gave her to me. I am certain that being a parent when your older is so much more fun. I didn’t take the time to enjoy Lacey or Jarrett. I was too young to realize how precious each moment really is. 

 Romans 12:12 - Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Kristy's parenting experience is much more different than mine, much more challenging to say the least. Connor's worst days include a couple of fits, a too short nap and his refusal to try veggies. When Kristy shared this letter with me and offered it up to my readers, I was touched. I know that as a mother myself, I love getting positive advice or words of praise from fellow parents. I'm hoping each of you that read this will have a bit of advice or a kind word or two to share with Kristy.



  1. Wow, you've got a house and a handful. I loved the by about singing in church. Such a beautiful story and a reminder that God makes no mistakes

  2. I love this story and a great reminder that God works miracles and won't put more on us than we can bear.

  3. Beautiful! God works in mysterious ways sometimes! It's very encouraging for her to share her journey! It may be exactly what other mothers need to hear!

  4. Stories like this always put things in perspective for me. You're right, no matter how hard you think you have it someone is going through something a lot worse.

  5. I love the Kristy decided to share with us all her story. I knew very little of this and it really is inspiring and beautiful. I love seeing Jesup growing up on my computer screen!

  6. The fact that you can look at all of your children born in their very different circumstances and count them all as blessings means that you are being a great mom. You are concerned about their well-being and are trying to soak up each moment with them. Be encouraged. :)

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. I have found as we share, we may help another as they travel a difficult path. Blessings to all.

  8. Thank goodness for your SIL! The whole thing sounds so scary! Since it's only been a couple of months since she's had her palate fixed maybe she'll start catching up developmentally. Sending good thoughts your way!

  9. Praise God he knows what he is doing. and that he gives us just what we need to refine us and that he is what we need during the refining times.
    Jacqueline Mukweto

  10. This story is such a blessing. Really places things into perspective!


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