Getting to go on a walk with Asher is always a treat! It doesn't happen often just because of his eating/sleeping/therapy schedules, but we do try to find the time for it when we can. When I walk on the trails by my house, I never do it without reflecting on the many many times I walked those trails without Asher. This same trail has seen me in many phases of my married life! Some not so pretty. But when I'm walking here, it's one of the only places I feel like I can talk out, with God, whatever is on my mind. We've had many conversations on these trails. Or, well...I've talked a lot. Still trying to get better at just listening! I specifically remember walking them often, and wondering when I might push my own baby in a stroller down them. That seemed SO far away for so long. I prayed many times on those walks, and I tried to listen many times on those walks to what God had to say to me. I have 2 special memories that come to mind when I think of these trails. One, is after we started the in-vitro process. I was listening to "Never Once" by Matt Redman and I remember really feeling encouraged- regardless of the outcome, and that I knew God was faithful. If you don't know that song, you should listen to it. It has been so powerful and meaningful to us in this whole process. The chorus is "Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own, You are Faithful...". I can't say I always thought or felt that with confidence through our infertility/pregnancy loss journey. But that day, I felt very loved by God and confident that He was good and His plans were good. I remembered that we had not walked our hard journey alone. He had been there in every part of it. I had hope again. And that felt good. When you are going through a journey of infertility, you learn that hoping starts to hurt...and so often there are moments you stop hoping in an effort to feel less pain. So, that day I felt refreshed and hopeful for what God might do. It's a sweet memory to look back on now.
The 2nd memory that comes to mind is after Asher was born. He was about a month old. He had just been moved to Children's for his PDA surgery. The surgery had gone very "routine" and well--it's still hard to believe he was 1lb and 10oz for his first surgery...and it was heart surgery. But, his lungs were becoming a bigger problem for him after surgery. He was very very sick. His lungs were so heavily damaged from being forced to breath air so prematurely. The doctor purposefully collapsed his lung to help it rest and heal. He was on 100% oxygen on the jet vent. I don't know how much you know about breathing support, but you can't get more than that. If you are on 100% oxygen, and you struggle, there is no where left to go. You can't turn the dial up past 100%. So, it was very scary. We had many stressful days during his 5 month nicu stay, but this was no doubt one of the hardest weeks. I had had a dream that week that Bryan came to tell me that Asher had passed away, he said "he just couldn't breathe anymore, he couldn't do it". I have never had a dream like that. I have never dreamed I have lost anyone. This was a testament to the extreme stress we were operating in. So, instead of rushing to the nicu that morning, I needed to walk. I needed to be in a peaceful place and think and pray. And, I was avoiding being up there, to be very honest. I was afraid. I was afraid it would get too hard. And I felt helpless. There was nothing, I thought, I could do for him. I couldn't comfort him, hold him, or fix his lungs. And so I just didn't want to go. I don't know how to explain it other than that. I know that may sound strange, but it's how I reacted. I guess traumatic situations produce all kinds of reactions. I tended to shut down sometimes and I wanted to just avoid more trauma and stress-- like pretending it wasn't there. So, while I was walking down this path, I prayed. And I listened. And I heard God tell me to get up there, to fight with my son, and to pray with him. He told me not sit back, or shrink back. He said I'm his mother, and while I can't do much, I can pray with him. I heard him tell me I don't have to be in there alone, or carry this weight alone. So, my mom came with me and we went up to see Asher, and prayed over him in his isolette. We prayed for healing. I instantly felt peace. It's amazing when we choose to tap into the peace and power God offers us instead of trying to do everything ourselves. God did heal Asher. In one week, his lungs made huge improvements. It's awesome to see God flex his muscles. I remember being so shocked to see my tiny boy with a nasal cannula instead of the vent or c-pap!
So, these trails have many memories for me. They are not just trails to me. They are a place where I've met God many times and I'm thankful for that. I was thankful on this day that I was making a new memory walking with my son. My baby. He looked so big in his stroller! I used the big boy seat instead of his car seat because I wanted him to be able to look out. He was so quiet the whole walk! It's whole new view not to just look at mom the whole time I guess! But, it was such a sweet walk. I thanked God for Asher. I can't wait to have many more walks with him in the future.