Thursday, March 28, 2013

Guest Post: Hudson

Ever since I can remember, I have longed to be a mother. It started as a young girl, playing with dolls and practicing my “mommy” skills, and grew into babysitting for any and all families with children that I possibly could. So on that brisk Sunday afternoon when I took that pregnancy test because I “just didn’t feel quite right,” and it revealed a shockingly positive result, I felt overjoyed, shocked, and blessed. We had only begun trying just a few weeks before and it happened so quickly. Wow. Ryne and I were about to be parents! I loved this child so much already.

Well for several weeks we endured the very exciting firsts of being pregnant and fantasized about what our lives were about to be like as new parents. When we reached 20 weeks of pregnancy, we went in for our traditional “20 week sonogram.” I was anxious, and excited. I had dreamt about what it would be like to see our little peanut (that’s what we called him before we knew it was a “him”). At the same time, I had my reservations about what this experience would be like. My family has a strong history of skeletal deformation of their hands, and I worried about our child also having this deformation and what it might mean for their little life. Much to my relief and surprise, we discovered that our little BOY had all of his fingers and toes, and that was great! However, I noticed that when the sonogram technician zoomed in on his feet, she had very little to say and asked for clarification about the condition that runs in my family. I brushed it off, and didn’t think much of it. When our sonogram was over, they transferred us to a room and said that our doctor would be in shortly to discuss the sonogram with us. Okay, I thought, normal protocol. We are in the clear. Fingers and toes are in check. Good to go. When our doctor entered a few moments later, all I really remember are the words, possibility, and clubfeet. This was when the whirlwind that is now our lives began. My thoughts immediately went to the worst possible picture of Chinese bound feet that you could imagine and I fought back tears sitting on the table in that room in the doctors office.  We were referred to a perinatal specialist and sent on our way. I walked out of that office like a disoriented victim of a disaster.

In the days to come, I would spend many moments breaking down in tears, sobbing. Letting go of that “picture perfect” child that I had imagined in my dreams. How selfishly I did so. I asked God “why” so very many times. I had been through so much already in my life and couldn’t fathom why He had planned this for me on top of everything else. It’s hard, even now, to describe the immense pain I felt. I just couldn’t imagine how I was going to handle all of this. In the mean time, Ryne was so incredibly supportive and strong. I tell you what, this man is my rock. I am sure he went through some of his own emotions and process to handle this, but he did so much more gracefully than I did.  So with the encouragement of my husband and family, I pulled myself out of the hole I had been allowing myself to hide in and decided that I was going to deal with what I had been dealt. Hadn’t that always been what I had done? I was reminded, as I listed to KLOVE one morning on my way to work, that Jesus Christ hadn’t left me for a single moment in all of this. He reminded me that in all things, there is a purpose. Okay, I could do this, I told myself. The moment it all clicked and set a fire within was when my mother-in-law and I were talking and she said something that made me think of our impending challenge in a way I never had before. She said that she just felt as if God had GIVEN us our little man because He knew that he would be so incredibly loved and cared for in our family. We could give him everything he would need with his feet. Wow. I had never thought about it that way. It changed my ENTIRE outlook on life. I was CHOSEN to be Hudson’s mama, because God knew I could love him enough, care for him enough, and be STRONG enough to do so. Yes, I CAN do this, I told myself. My baby needed me, so I pulled it together.   

Over the next eight months of my pregnancy, the Lord reminded me how incredibly blessed I was to have the child I was about to give birth to. God worked through so many people to give us comfort and support. So many of our friends and family prayed every day for our sweet little man. Two very moving events happened when I was still pregnant that will forever remain pivotal points in our journey. A long time family friend and pastor of my husband’s family also had a baby born with clubfeet (it’s really more common than one might think.) They reached out to us and took us to coffee, shared their story, pictures, and prayed with us as well. How incredible it was to know we had people so close that had gone through everything we were about to experience as parents of a clubfoot baby. The other was one evening at a meeting for our children’s ministry. We were really struggling with a lot of different things in our lives at that time, and as we always did we closed our meeting in prayer. Our pastor and friends gathered around us, and prayed for us. They laid hands on us, and our feet and prayed for our son. It was an incredible moment.

Hudson Douglas Huff blessed our lives with his presence September 19, 2012 at 10:14 p.m. 

After ten long hours of labor, and 15 short minutes of pushing…he was finally here! It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when you look into your child’s eyes for the very first time. I had waited

my entire life for this moment. To be honest, those first two days in the hospital I actually kind of forgot that he had clubfeet. So many other more important things to focus on!

Per our orthopedic doctors orders, we took Hudson in for his very first casting the same day we brought him home from the hospital. What an emotional day that was. He didn’t even cry when they put his casts on, but I was a mess. 

As we took our sweet little boy out to the car and headed home, I had the same overwhelming heavy feeling that I did the day we found out Hudson had clubfeet. I bawled. I had to. I needed to get it all out. This wouldn’t be the last time either. We had quite the journey ahead.  For the next several weeks we struggled to get into our new normal with our little man. Like every mother, I worried about my new baby but I had other worries as well. We checked his toes like we were supposed to, and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. All I can remember is thinking that we just had to make it to the next casting. Just like at Hudson’s first casting, I was incredibly nervous at his cast removal and second casting. When the casts came off, his poor baby feet were so wrinkled, bruised, and worst of all he had a few pressure sores on his feet. 

Oh, there I was again. Bawling. This was so hard. I remember just praying. It was all I could do, just pray. So I did. One day, when my cousin was visiting us, she told me about a bible verse that really helped her after having her second son, Joshua 1:9 says, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. And I just prayed that verse over and over. We ended up writing it on the bottom of Hudson’s first set of casts. 

I wanted to claim it as Hudson’s verse. Then, I stumbled upon this next verse the after having Hudson’s first casts removed. I remember being alone with Hudson for the first time when Ryne had to go out for an errand and I just sobbed.  I couldn’t imagine ever getting past that moment. But this verse just jumped out at me and I knew it was God giving me hope.  Psalm 25:15 says, For my eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare.  Boom, in my face, as bold as it could ever be.  It is my desire that this verse will give someone else out there hope as well. I claimed those two verses for Hudson and prayed and continue to pray them for him.

We experienced many trying times in those first few months with Hudson’s treatment. After getting his tenotomy procedure done on a Friday afternoon our doctor sent us home. That night his casts bled through (as expected) but much more than we had anticipated. There I was again, worried sick. But, we made it through that too. His tenotomy actually went very well & he recovered wonderfully.

Hudson has his casts removed and received his first brace 4 months ago. He is now 6 months old. Time flies. I want so badly to capture each moment and hold them tight. It’s funny now to think that I was least worried about the transition from the casts to the boots and bar as this was the most difficult transition for Hudson. He had lived his little life in casts up to that point, and I think he found some security in them. So not having them was scary, I’m sure he felt weird and vulnerable. The first few nights we were up a few times trying to make sure he was comfortable and adjusted but it was no time before he was fully adjusted and learning to love his brace. 

So that’s where we are now. Watching Hudson grow, and learn. He does everything a typically developing baby should do. He cries, laughs, eats, poops, rolls over, and grabs for anything he can get his little hands on!

I’m sure there will be moments that we will have to deal with the ups and downs of Hudson’s club feet, but the most important thing I will remember is that his feet are so very special. Just like he is. And while those feet make him special to us, they do not and will not define him. I cannot wait to watch my son grow into an incredible man of God who will go be the hands and feet of Christ.