Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 21

So, where are we today, you may ask?
Looking back over the past 5 months since Carter was born, it is amazing to see the growth I have gone through emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Emotionally, I have gone from crying often because I didn’t know how Carter would do things with only one hand, to crying tears of joy and amazement when I see him ALREADY using his arm to do many things. Mentally, I have gone from constantly thinking about his missing hand and concerning myself over what that means, to rarely thinking about it and being unable to imagine him any different. Spiritually, I have always known that God created Carter with only one hand. But the change has come in the way I trust God’s plan. In the beginning, I worried a lot about how he would do things (from crawling to holding his wive’s hand one day), but now I am excited about what God is going to do in Carter’s life and how he is going to use him for His own glory.

Do I still get emotional sometimes? Do I still cry? Yes, there are times it is still quite emotional. A little while ago I looked at Carter taking a nap. I saw his arm, and many emotions came flooding back. There are times now that my heart breaks when I see him playing with his toys on his highchair tray, and he gets frustrated because he can’t reach them. He doesn’t know why he can’t, but I do. These things are emotional and sometimes leave a little lump in my throat, but I have no doubt that God created Carter the way he is, that it was no accident, and that the Creator will take care of him always.

We are excited to see how God will use Carter’s life for his glory and hope that maybe, through sharing this journey, He already has. We look forward to the day that Carter attracts attention because he is doing something “one-handed” and he then shares about God, who created him that way.

I remember a conversation I had with my mom a few days after Carter was born. (Did I already share this?) Things were still so new, but even then I told her that I felt like maybe one day I would stand in front of others, maybe a MOPS group or something else, and share how God had used this situation in our life and Carter’s. That I could encourage others who may be going through a difficult situation. The specific thing I told my mom, though, was that I HATE to speak in front of people. But I could see how he was already changing me to one day be able to share. I may never have opportunity, but to feel that change in my own spirit is neat.

As far as Ryan’s thoughts at this point, I am going to let him share. I will put it up as my next post. He wants to write from his perspective. Maybe I can also get Caroline to share some things – that would be awesome!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 20

We are so thankful for a program called Early Steps. It is actually a state-funded therapy program for children ages 0-3 who qualify. Through this program, Carter will receive an hour of Occupational Therapy every other week in our home. We know that Carter doesn’t need the therapy to learn how to use his arm. He uses it in amazing ways already. However, having a therapist come and observe how he is growing and using his arm is a great way to monitor everything and helps us as parents know we aren’t missing anything. The therapist has been very nice and is great with Carter. We look forward to all we will learn in the process and can pass on to others who may not have the opportunity to see a therapist.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 19

Not long after Carter was born, we began to hear people talking about Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. We had several parents tell us their children were sponsored there. I didn’t know what that meant and begun to research it. After not really finding any information, we just so happened to find out that a church member’s good friend was a Shriner. Within days, he called us and offered to sponsor Carter at Shriner’s Hospital. We didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but later found out that they will be a great support to us as Carter grows up.

We were signed up for an appointment with Shriner’s in Tampa the beginning of March. It was an emotional time for us. As we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital it just hit me all over again as to why we were there, that I never imagined we would be. It also overwhelmed me that we could be there, at a very special place, because other’s care about kids. As we sat in the waiting area we watched many other children run around, read books, play, or sit with their parents. There were children of all ages there. I was choked up pretty much the whole time we sat there. I realized Ryan was pretty quiet too. I asked him how he was and he said, “I was just thinking how everyone here actually kind of knows what we have been thinking and feeling. Here people understand.” It was interesting to think about how in that waiting room, Carter wasn’t so different.

There were children there with all kinds of orthopedic things going on, some with more than just orthopedic. How wonderful to realize that God was using that place to minister to us and other families.

We met with a Care Coordinator first, who basically will be a contact person for us if we need anything! She was so kind and helpful, ready to help with anything. We saw a nurse practitioner who checked our Carter and looked at the x-rays we brought. We were able to meet another little boy (around 9 years old) who has the same limb difference as Carter. It was great to meet someone else, who seemed happy and doing great.

Shriner’s will provide Carter with care (in regards to his limb difference) and prosthetics through the age of 18. Isn’t that wonderful? (We don’t necessarily want him to have them, but we want him to have the opportunity if he chooses to do so. Most kids don’t want them and as adults don’t really use them either.) They are going to see him again when he turns 1 and see how he is progressing. Our time there was a wonderful experience. We are so thankful!

(On a side note, we were told while we were there that because of funding they may not always be able to provide this service free of cost. (Prosthetics are very expensive.) So, let me encourage you to give to the Shriner’s you see when you are out and about! It is a wonderful service to support, and so many kids they are reaching (in more difficult situations than Carter).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 18

At some point in those first few weeks after Carter was born, I was reading Psalm 139:13-14. I had read it many times in those weeks, and several people had written it down in emails or messages. But, for some reason it really hit home and made sense to me that day.

Psalm 139:13-14
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

You see, it wasn’t until that day that I really thought about the fact that God MADE Carter. I mean, I had said it and all, but it was the first time I had really thought about how He specifically made Carter with one hand. It wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t a mistake. It was His plan. When God was knitting him together, He made him with one hand. There is a reason. There is a plan. Isn’t that wonderful?

So, I have two children. Caroline, 2 years old (very soon to be 3) was born with two hands. Carter, 4 ½ months, was born with one hand. Both were created by God. Both were fearfully and wonderfully made. God’s works are wonderful. I know that full well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 17

It is so interesting to hear things Caroline, and other children, say about Carter’s arm and lack of a hand. I thought I would share a few of them.

Caroline was sitting beside me holding Carter not long after he was born. She was looking at a little book which he happened to touch with his arm. She said, “Carter, you can’t have a book! You don’t have a hand!” It was the first and only negative-type comment she has said. It took me by surprise, and almost made me cry, but then I realized that she was only saying what she knew. In her eyes, she thought, “He can’t hold this book without a hand.” So, I talked to her about how he will be able to do just about anything he wants to with his arm. That God will help his brain to know how to learn to do things without his hand. And that was that.

One of Caroline’s little friends, Nathan, looked at Carter one day and pointed to his arm and said, “Hand? Where hand?” This was after having been around Carter for quite some time. It took awhile for him to even notice.

Caroline was in the nursery one Sunday with Carter (only 6 weeks old) and a little girl, Madison, just a few months older than Carter. The teachers kept referring to Madison as a baby. Caroline corrected them several times by telling them she wasn’t a baby. When they finally asked her why she thought Madison wasn’t a baby, she said, “Because she has two hands.” So, obviously Caroline thought (or thinks maybe still) that all babies start out with just one hand, and eventually you get the other. On the way home from church we talked to her about how Carter will not grow his other hand. We reminded her that God made her with two hands, and Carter with one.

Another friend’s little girl, Carly (4 years old) was talking to her mom one day about something she did when she was a baby. She said, “Hey mom, when I was a baby, you know, when I only had one hand, did I…..?” She said this several times to her mom in those months after Carter was born.

My nephew Connor (2 years old) was at our house (along with his siblings and my sister-in-law) for a week helping me out around the house and with the kids. One day I was holding Carter, and Connor pointed to him and said, “Hand?” It took me a second to realize what he was referring to, then he said it again, “Hand? Broke?” He knew it wasn’t there, but didn’t really know why. So, I told him the same thing we tell everyone who asks about it – God made him with only one hand.

These are the ones that stand out in my memory right now. I’m sure there are more, and I am sure there will be many others!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 16

It is amazing how quick God was providing encouragement for Ryan and I through other parents. My mom quickly found out that a neighbor of hers had a 7 year old grandchild (I think it was a grandchild) with an arm just like Carters! She passed along my email and she sent me a very nice note encouraging me in many ways. She talked about how their son was sponsored at Shriner’s Hospital, how she sewed his clothes to make them work better for her son, and how he did anything he wanted to do. That was neat. I also met a lady on facebook who has a son about a year older than Carter and he is also missing his left hand. She was a Christian and sent me several notes, sharing with me things that I felt, but couldn’t put into words. My sister-in-law’s friend had a son born a few months before Carter with down syndrome, and she even felt a connection. She got my address and mailed me a wonderful card. How encouraging! Of course, all of these things made me emotional, to experience God’s faithfulness to take care of us and to provide us with others who understand. You see, until you have been there, you can’t really understand, and there is nothing wrong with that. But it is nice to know others who do.

Several of these ladies shared the same poem with me. I would like to share it with you.
(I would like to say before you read it that there are a few things that I don’t like about the poem. First, it talks about a disability. I believe Carter has a “difference,” but if you look up disabled in the dictionary, you will never think he has a disability. Second, the poet says she will never, ever get over the pain...I have to disagree with that. Other than those two things, it’s a sweet poem that allows you to imagine what it feels like, at least in the beginning.)

Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea -Part 15

Thanksgiving was just a few short days after Carter was born. What a wonderful thing to be thankful for! We had a great celebration with my parents and enjoyed the day. When we all sat down to eat, Carter was napping. As soon as I took my first bite of food, he woke up and was ready to eat! Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to happen? It was quite funny.
The next day my brother, Jeff, his wife Christy, and their three kids (Caleb, Claire and Connor) drove up from Florida for a visit. They wanted to meet Carter and just love on us. It was quite special to me (and Ryan) and it meant so much that they could make it up to see us during this time. I can still remember watching Christy hold Carter. I didn’t know how to “start” the conversation about his arm. I knew we would talk about it, but how? I remember just asking her, “Do you want to see his arm?” I pulled back the blanket and we talked about it for a few minutes. It was quite an emotional time for me. But at the same time, it was good to open up the conversation and let people know I could talk about it.

Christy, Jeff, and the kids all seemed to enjoy meeting Carter and loving on him! Caleb especially loved holding him. Carter would sit with him for long periods of time, and Caleb would hold him as long as he possibly could. I loved having the kids around. In conversations with Jeff and Christy, and my other brother Andy and Lauren, I still remember asking them how their kids reacted. Each of my sister-in-laws sat their kids down and explained to them that Carter was born and how exciting that was. They also explained to them that he was missing his hand and part of his arm, and that God made him that way. That he was okay, just born with one hand instead of two. It meant so much to me and always makes me emotional to think about how the kids responded. It wasn’t a big deal for them. They might have asked questions, but they just were excited to have a nephew! Praise God for the eyes of a child. We specifically asked my brothers to let their kids ask us whatever they wanted, and not to tell them not to say anything. We wanted to hear what they had to say.

I had said several times over that first week at home that I just felt like I really just needed to cry. That everytime I started to cry that I would just stop myself. I just needed to let it out. One night, while sitting and talking with my family, someone asked us, “How are you doing Kim? Ryan?” Well, we started to share, and I just lost it. I remember sharing how worried I was for Carter, how I hoped it wasn’t my fault, that I don’t understand why he would have this happen to him, and I just cried. I remember I couldn’t even control myself. Ryan just held me and I think we all cried. It was a good time for me. And Ryan too. And the family. Looking back, although I don’t think it was really said much outloud, I think my family was worried that I would deal some with postpartum depression if I wasn’t encouraged and focused on the right things. Even my brother Andy and his family that couldn’t be there, they called and checked on me too and showed their love for us. I love them all, and it meant so much to have them all on my side, rooting for me. Ryan’s family and all our grandparents also shared their love for us and Carter during this time. I can never thank them enough for loving me, loving Ryan, loving Caroline, and loving our precious new son, Carter.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 14

We loved having Carter at home and, along with Caroline, had a great little family! Those first days were sweet, yet challenging at times as well. Carter was such a sweet, easy baby who just seemed to go along with everything. He definitely was held a lot by his Mommy, Daddy, sister, Grandma, and Grandpa a lot! There were times Ryan and I felt like we were adjusting well to what our new normal was going to be, then there were other times that I just couldn’t help but cry. We would be overwhelmed with all the what-ifs of Carter’s future. I sometimes caught myself worrying over how he would crawl, or eat, or pick up things, hold his kids one day, and lots of other things. I would worry about how to teach him to tie his shoe with one hand, or do other things with just one hand. Where would he wear his wedding ring one day? Would kids make fun of him?
Ryan and I would talk about things and I would cry some. But Ryan always reminded me that we had to take it one day at a time. That it would be okay.

Sometimes, I just cried watching someone dress him. You see, those first several days after Carter’s birth Ryan or my parents changed his diaper and dressed him. When I saw him laying there with no clothes on it was such an obvious reminder of his missing hand/forearm. It is not like we were used to seeing a baby with only one hand, you know? It is hard to explain, but it was difficult. And still today, even though it is so normal and I don’t think about it much, it is still sometimes a big reminder when I see him without his clothes on. I wish I knew better how to explain this.

I forgot to mention an important moment for me while in the hospital. When the nurses first dressed him right after he was born in the little onesie, they didn’t roll up the sleeve on his left arm or anything. It just dangled there. It stayed that way for maybe the first day. I hated the way it looked. I didn’t know why, but I knew I didn’t like it at all. At one point, I remember folding the sleeve up so that his arm was showing. I think I realized then that the reason it bothered me while it was hanging down was for two reasons: 1. I felt like it was kind of trying to hide what wasn’t there, you know? And I didn’t want to hide anything. 2. To me, it made him look like something was wrong. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just didn’t like the way it looked with his shirt all dangly. That probably doesn’t make sense; it’s hard to explain.
I felt like this was a pivotal moment for me. When I really was beginning to accept the fact my baby didn’t have a left hand and part of his arm, and then move on from there and do everything the best we can.

I know I have said it before, but those first days were hard at times. I cried a lot, or at least stopped myself from crying a lot. I felt so bad about crying, especially when I knew I loved my son so much. I didn’t know why I cried sometimes, except that I was sad for Carter, because I didn’t want him to have anything difficult in life. I remember hearing several people tell me that it was okay to cry. It isn’t that I didn’t love Carter, it was just that your mind has to fully grasp what you didn’t expect.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I didn’t love Carter. It was never an issue of that. I LOVED him from the moment I knew I was pregnant, when I first felt him kick, and even more so the moment I saw him for the first time. He was my son. Our gift from God.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 13

We headed off to our appointment with Dr. McMath, the pediatric orthopedic doctor. We had seen him once before when Caroline had a possible leg length discrepancy, so we were somewhat familiar with him. I cannot say enough about how wonderful our visit with him was.

I was holding Carter when he walked in and he just sat in front of us and took a look at Carter’s arm. I was emotional right away, but did my best to not cry. Dr. McMath was gentle with Carter. He was kind to us, and had wonderful bedside manner. He right away told us a few possibilities as to why he was born missing his hand/forearm, generally referred to as a limb deficiency. First, it could have been something called Amniotic Band Syndrome. We had heard about that in the hospital as a possibility, but we didn’t really think that was it. Basically, there are bands that sometimes pull away from the uterine wall and float around in the amniotic fluid. Occasionally, those bands can wrap themselves around parts of the baby, and in turn stop blood supply to whatever is beyond the band. That part of the body just stops forming and basically unattaches. Dr. McMath did not believe that was what happened with Carter. Carter’s arm stops a little below the elbow and there are a few fingers that had begun to grow. If it had been an amniotic band, those fingers would not have been there at all.
The second thing that could have caused this is basically just a stop in growth. For whatever reason, sometimes growth just stops. There was a better word for it, but I can’t remember it. As Dr. McMath said, “It doesn’t matter how it happened, it won’t affect anything now or in the future. We just know that here is Carter, and he’s going to be just fine.” The doctor continued to talk to us about Carter’s arm. He took a few x-rays and found out several good things:
1. Carter’s humerus bone (upper arm) was completely there. It was the same as the other arm, and the shoulder joint was normal, also. This means that Carter should have normal growth in that bone, and normal range of motion with the shoulder.
2. The elbow joint looked normal.
3. The radius and ulna (lower arm bones) were not fused together, which means that he can rotate his elbow. Also, this might allow for some continued growth in that part of his arm, also.
4. Carter has 2 fingers, one a bit smaller than the other, and the bud of another finger that had started to form. It is amazing because these fingers, all 3, actually grow fingernails! Wow.

Dr. McMath said that all of these things were great signs that Carter was going to have a lot of use of his arm. I told him about Carter holding my hand in the hospital with his elbow joint, and he thought that was wonderful. He said we would be amazed at what he would be able to do. He also said that most kids like Carter don’t want prosthetics and that they would rather use their own arm to do things. He also said that some parents, when tiny fingers are present, sometimes want to have them surgically removed. He encouraged us not to, because they may be what allows him to do something later in life he would not have been able to do otherwise. This really comforted me. To be reminded that everything has a purpose.
Dr. McMath also told me never to worry that it was my fault. There was nothing I had done to cause this. I needed to hear that…I thought often in those days, “What if it’s my fault?”
Before we left, he encouraged us to come back in 6 months so he could monitor Carter’s growth. I asked him what we needed to do. How will he crawl? How will we teach him to do certain things and who is going to teach us how to teach him? Dr. McMath said, “All you need to do is love him. He will teach you way more than you can ever teach him. Just go and give him lots of love.”

Monday, April 5, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 12

Carter was born on Friday and he had his first pediatrician’s appointment on Tuesday. He had shown some signs of jaundice and we were just going in for them to see how he was doing. Ryan didn’t go with me because he had come down with a stomach virus overnight. My mom gladly went with me though. As we waited to see the doctor, I remember asking my mom, “So, do I tell them about Carter’s arm before I unwrap him from the blanket, or do I just let her see and see what she says?” I knew I was going to be emotional about it either way.

Dr. Rice and the nurse came in and when they were oohing and aahhing over him I went ahead and told the doctor about his arm/hand situation. She was SO loving! She checked out his arm and was just real encouraging to me. I cried while she shared about her college roommate who had an arm just like Carter’s. She shared about how she became so adept at using her arm, that most people didn’t even notice she was missing anything. It wasn’t that Dr. Rice was trying to tell me people wouldn’t notice, but she was trying to encourage me that he will use that arm and be able to do most anything. I was amazed that our pediatrician had a close relationship with someone like Carter. Wow. I have no doubt that God ordained that appointment. It was encouraging.

Dr.Rice said that somewhere down the road she would put us in contact with a pediatric orthopedic doctor. I told her we had gone ahead on our own and made an appointment with someone we knew of for the next morning. I asked her if we should go now, and she encouraged us to keep the appointment. She said that it would be good for us to hear what the orthopedic doctor had to say and be encouraged by him also.

So, I left there emotional and encouraged. Amazed that God had placed Dr. Rice in our life for a day such as this. We were really excited for our appointment the next day.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 11

A lot of talking, prayer, and crying went into the preparation for going home from the hospital. Ryan and I were both excited to take Carter home. We were especially excited for Caroline to get to meet her baby brother. With this excitement came the uncertainty of what she would say about his missing hand. We had not talked to her about it yet, because we wanted her to see his arm at the same time we were talking about it. Would would she say? What she be scared of his arm? Would she not love him because it was “different”? Would she think something was wrong with him? What if she asked why he was like that? How would we talk to her about it without becoming emotional? We knew we wanted to be honest with her about it and we would not hide our emotions, but we know that whatever we portrayed to her would be how she would react too. Caroline might have only been 2 ½ years old, but she is quite observant and verbal!
So, we headed home from the hospital, very excited yet a little anxious too.

I can still see Caroline come running out the door when we got home. She couldn’t wait to see Carter! We were excited to see her and ready to explain to her about her brother. My parents were there, but they just allowed the four of us, our new little family, the time to sit and talk. All Caroline wanted to do was hold Carter! Before we got him out of the car seat, Ryan talked to Caroline.

Ryan: Who made you?
Caroline: God. Can I hold baby Carter?
Ryan: Well, God made Carter too. You know how he made you with two hands?
Caroline: Yea. Can I hold him?
Ryan: Well, he only made Carter with one hand. (And we showed her Carter’s arm.)
Caroline: Oh, ok. Well, can I hold him now?

So we finally let Caroline hold Carter.

Pretty special to us that Caroline didn’t care that he only had one hand. It wasn’t a big deal. She just wanted to hold him. Isn’t that neat? She wasn’t concerned with what we found ourselves worried about. She just wanted to love on her sweet baby brother. My prayer is that that will always be our attitude. That we will try not to worry over the what-ifs, or over how Carter will do things. But just love on him and allow him to be who God made him to be.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 10

Carter was born on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Our church was having a big Thanksgiving banquet on Sunday night, as they always do. It is a time of sharing good food, worship, and then a time with opportunities for people to share what they are thankful for. My mom stayed with me while Ryan went to the banquet. He felt like he wanted to share with the church family about Carter. We assumed most had probably heard by now about his arm, and he wanted to share with them personally. He wanted to share with them so they would know how we were doing as a family. He wanted them to know it was okay to talk to us about it. We wanted them to know that it was okay to let their kids ask questions. We wanted them to know they could look at his arm and not feel like they were bothering us. More than anything, Ryan and I wanted them to know that we didn’t want them to ignore it and act like it didn’t happen. You see, at church that morning, no one really said anything to Ryan about it. They congratulated him on Carter’s birth, but said nothing about his arm. We were not hurt by that. He knew it was only because people didn’t know what to say, and didn’t know how we were doing emotionally. But, we also needed people to ask about it, so we could talk about it with them. We welcomed that, and that showed us people cared about Carter almost as much as we did!

While Ryan was gone to the banquet, one of the nurses came in to go over a few things with me in preparation for our heading home the next morning. When she was finished, she asked, “How are you doing with everything?” I knew she was referring to Carter and his arm. I was then able to share with her how it was hard at times, but that we also have the hope that God made him, that he is perfectly formed, and how we can trust in that. Of course, I was crying through all of that. The nurse just stared at me, as her eyes filled with tears. I was pretty sure that was such a foreign concept to her – that she had trouble understanding my faith. She said nothing else, but nodded, and left the room. God impressed upon my heart in that moment that He would use Carter’s lack of a hand to open doors for us (and later for him) to share His love with others. I cried, realizing that, only days old, Carter’s life was already being used as a testimony to the Lord.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 9

I was so impressed with how quickly I was able to do things after the c-section this time around. I know everyone says you heal faster after the first one, but I believe it was all part of God’s plan for those days. Instead of being sick and hardly able to move, I could move and didn’t feel sick at all! I could focus on Carter and just loving him.

Within a day or so after Carter being born, Ryan and I were better able to grasp all that had come as a surprise to us. Although still quite emotional and dealing with all sorts of feelings, we both knew that God was not a God of mistakes. This was part of His plan for Carter’s life, and the path we would all take as a family. Would it always be easy? Probably not. As humans, we assume things about the future and can so easily worry about situations that are to come. But, knowing that God loves us and purposed all this to happen, we knew we needed to take one day at a time, trusting Him completely. Would we always do that, without moments of doubt? Most likely not. But it was what we needed to strive to do.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Carter Luke Vermilyea - Part 8

There were many joys those few days in the hospital.
I was reminded of what a wonderful husband and father Ryan is. I know it was a wonderful and tough day for him. I remember thinking how exciting yet difficult it must have been for him to call our families and close friends and let them know that Carter was born, but also explain to them that he was born without his left hand and lower part of his arm. It also made me so happy to see him thrilled to go meet Caroline at the nursery to introduce her to her brother! When we talked about all the what-ifs in regards to Carter, Ryan was also quick to remind me that we had to take one day at a time. He shared his emotions, and was just an awesome guy to be with! I loved watching him with Carter.

On the day of Carter’s birth, one of the many times that I just was sitting and holding him, I was looking at his arm. I was thinking about how I had pretty much neglected to touch his arm or hold it. I had held his other hand and felt his fingers over and over, just like every new mother does. But, I realized in that moment that I had not really touched his other arm at all. I think I was nervous, or something…I don’t really know how to describe it. As I sat there and stared at Carter, he moved his left arm (the one without a hand) over and hooked my fingers in his elbow and held it tightly! It got my attention so fast. He was holding my hand. It was like he was saying to me, “It’s okay, mommy. I’m okay. Just hold my arm.” I just wept. In that moment I knew that God was using the experience to let me know that it was all ok. I had been thinking about how I would never be able to hold that hand, and instead, Carter showed me that I could – because he held mine.

These are just a few of the joys from those first days.