The last seven months have honestly been a blur. I’m sharing this as apart of my own healing, journey and testimony so please don’t think this as a pity post. This is a celebration of what we have overcome with God by our side.
The Beau and I were walking down the hall to the NICU to see our daughter the other day recollecting all the has happened since late July and it was like each event was a sucker punch to our life that still leaves us reeling at times. But as we’ve stood and caught our breath, we also realize just how fortunate we are to still be standing. Even if we’re walking down this hallway.
We decided last spring that it was time to grow our family. A steady nursing job for the Beau had been secured, we were making progress on house renovations so we decided to keep moving forward on those hoping that we would be well finished before a little one would come along.
On a steamy Friday in late July we got the call that Lew’s Granny had a massive stroke with a bleed on her brain. She passed away about 24 hours later.
In August, Lew took me on his dream cross-country road trip. We drove to Seattle and back in 10 days. We got home on August 12th and I took a positive pregnancy test. We could not have been more thrilled.
September brought the start of school and the first trimester. I was so fortunate to not be sick, just a lot of weird stomach cramps, food aversions and exhaustion. But we could not have been happier. We told our parents on Labor Day weekend (fitting right?). Taking his parents to eat at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop before it closed and visiting with my Mom in the nursing home that Sunday afternoon over ice cream. They could not have been more ecstatic!
We shared our news publicly on our 6th wedding anniversary–October 2nd– and were flooded with well wishes from family and friends. It was real. I had made it through the first trimester and had no concerns or complications. We continued to work on the house, start dreaming about our little babe whose gender would be a surprise and move toward the holidays.
Late October my Mom went to the ER with some complications in her legs from swelling. I stayed the night with her as she was admitted and slept in a somewhat comfy chair in what I think are the smallest hospital rooms in the city. For the next three weeks, we spent nearly every day and several nights by her bedside seeing her health decline, her legs and toes worsen and conversations about amputation of her toes, feet and possibly legs.
Three weeks later, on November 13th, the beau and I were headed back in to try and get her moved to UK hospital because we felt there was more going on that we were able to really see. We stopped for a quick breakfast knowing it would likely be a long day and I got the call that her white blood cell count had risen overnight and she was being moved to the Critical Care Unit. We rushed to the hospital and spoke with several doctors, chaplains and a resident from UK that the beau has worked with before. Her body was shutting down. We were able to have clarity on her wishes and I thank God for that daily. She did not want surgery. She did not want to be revived. She did not want to be vented and have a machine breathe for her. Around 4:30 that afternoon, she received complete healing as she went to her eternal home. While we were so sad, there was also a sense of relief that her pain and suffering had ended. The next few weeks were a blur as we traveled to Virginia, made funeral arrangements, coordinated her transport from KY to VA, went through the motions of Thanksgiving and eventually headed back to work. It is still hard some days for me to believe she is gone.
During this time, I had some increased blood pressures at my OB visits. I went on medication and we monitored it, but knowing the stress I had been under, it wasn’t much of a surprise.
As I processed grieving, Christmas approached. My family in Virginia had planned a shower for us so we headed to the Beau’s parents Christmas Day and were planning on leaving early on the 26th for Virginia, Baby Shower on the 27th and then back to the grind the following week. Our Gracie pup was going to make the trip with us.
10 minutes away from their house, we were hit head on as we went through an intersection.
I was 24 weeks pregnant at the time. All I remember was screaming “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” After an ER visit, lots of time laying on the couch, a vet visit for Gracie, lots of bruising from the seat belt, a visit to UK’s OB Triage, a 4 hour heart rate monitor on the Bebe, some panicked moments, and an additional ultrasound, we were SO fortunate to find out that the babe was fine. And certainly a fighter.
The new year came with lots of insurance paperwork and phone calls, car shopping for a new ride, and navigating back to work.
Before we knew it, we were in the third trimester came and we realized that with all that happened with Mom and the car accident, all our renovations had been put on hold and we had 12 weeks before Bebe would arrive! We got to work and in the midst of all this I was prompted to host a small IF: Gathering in my home the first weekend in February. At first, I had signed up to host this back in October but only 2 gals had registered so I contemplated cancelling. However, the day I was going to do so, another 3 gals registered. So we went forward with the plan to host in our imperfect home and 10 of us crowded around our TV to hear amazing truths. Presence over perfection. My takeaway –who will my domino fall into to impact for the Kingdom?–was threefold. My word for the year is SAVOR and this ties directly in–I need to STOP doing things. I need to focus on JESUS and his word and truth, not a million other (all the while GOOD) voices out there clamoring for my attention. And I need to focus on my little FAMILY and discipling them well–investing in my marriage and our little babe.
On February 1st, my OB appointment landed me a really high BP reading so my OB sent me to UK triage to be checked out. After 2 hours, my BP was in the normal range, all my levels came back clear as a whistle. We did some additional testing over the next 24 hours and had a follow up on February 11th with my OB.
On the 11th my pressure was up again and my OB sent me back to triage and wanted a 24 hour overnight observation of me to figure out what was going on. As I left her office, I asked, “So what happens if my Blood Pressure doesn’t decrease?”
“Well, you’ll be having a baby sooner than you thought.”
I walked back in to the room where Lew was and immediately burst into tears. We had 9 more weeks before her due date. Our nursery was nowhere near complete. I hadn’t had my baby shower. There was still so much to do.
At 1:39 am on Saturday, February 13th, our little June Parker Cracraft was brought into this world by an urgent C-section delivery. I’ll share more about her entrance into this world here in the days/weeks/months to come when I’m ready to process and share more publicly.
She was 2.2 lbs and 14.3 inches long. She was immediately rushed to the NICU at UK where she’s been hanging out and growing for the past 10 days. She is amazing. Our brave little fighter.
And her name. We were able to get away for a little baby moon 2 weeks before she arrived and the main agenda was to come up with a name. We had a boy pool and a girl pool and wanted to see how the little nugget turned out (gender and personality wise) before attaching a name to it. June Parker was at the top of our girl list. After her birth and knowing all she had come through the 7 months in utero–and all that we had come through in that time as well–June Parker was the perfect name. June after my Mom who was born in June and Parker after the Beau’s best friend Michael Parker who was paralyzed in a kayaking accident in 2007. Two of the strongest people we know. And she’s certainly living up to her namesakes. And my takeaway from the IF: Gathering is coming to fruition a lot sooner than we had anticipated. I get to pray and sing and love on my daughter the way our heavenly father does with us. And it is amazing. Heartwrentching. All-consuming. Just the way our Father must feel about us.