Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A very merry un-birthday

I was thinking sometime in the middle of the night last night about how three years ago I was lying in a hospital bed. Little did we know that I'd spend two more of Lauren's birthdays sleeping beside her in a hospital. (I was a lot more comfortable on my sleep-couch last night than I remember being when I was at Bethesda trying not to deliver Lauren.)

It was a quiet morning at the hospital for Lauren and me. The Child-Life team brought in a big sign this morning. Lauren was excited when she saw the "L for Lauren," and she caught on quickly that she was now 3.

Our Child-Life specialist had asked if we wanted to acknowledge her birthday today or if we just wanted to save it all until next week when the big kids came up. I realized that we'd never be able to stop everyone from noticing/commenting that it was her birthday. In my mind, today was her "unbirthday" and we'd really celebrate on the 20th.

By some strange coincidence, Lauren didn't have any scheduled activities today -- no art therapy, music therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nothing. We had a lot of tea parties this morning, instead.

By lunchtime, I was starting to go stir-crazy and Lauren was starting to get tired. She snuggled up beside me on the couch to watch Dora. She then asked me to put a pillow in my lap so she could lay down. I gladly let her. When she fell asleep, my arm was resting on her and she had wrapped her fingers around one of mine. I couldn't help but remember when she was so tiny and so sick in the NICU and how excited we would be when she'd "hold our hands." I also remember praying that we'd have many, many days together after she left the hospital.

God does answer prayer. I held my answered prayer in my lap and thanked God for letting me snuggle with her on her third birthday.

I woke up some time later wondering how many more tea parties we'd have before bedtime and how many Dora movies it would take to pass the time. I wasn't sure I was ready for more play-dough cookies. And, honestly, I was a bit sad to be spending her birthday alone with her in the hospital.

I should back up a moment to remember a message I sent to a dear friend we knew several years ago. She asked what kind of support system we had in Philly. I simply responded that I was counting on God to provide a support system. At times like these, faith might be all I have left but it's more than enough to see us through.

And so today, God provided a sunshiney afternoon for both Lauren and I. Shortly after I woke up from Lauren's nap, my friend Lynda came by with presents, decorations, and milk-free cookies for mommy. We've know each other for several years, but most of our interactions are online.

A little while later, we had new friends show up. Steve and Patti Sikes came over with surprises for Lauren and me as well. God has a way of putting people in just the right places at just the right times. Sometimes I'm amazed at how small our world really is. My good friend back in DC, Vanessa, was visiting her Uncle Steve and Aunt Patti several weeks ago and told them about Lauren. They live near here and offerred to come visit. As we all talked, we realized that Tim actually knew Steve's brother years ago in Oklahoma. (See what I mean about small world.)

Afterwards, the child-life team brought in presents and sang Happy Birthday. By this point, Lauren was really getting into the hang of this birthday thing.

And so it was a "Very, Merry, Un-Birthday" to Lauren. We celebrated a happy, healthy day today with lots of fun and surprises. What a big girl she's becoming! We are truly blessed!


  1. I'm glad you guys had such a shining day! HBD to Lauren. I can't believe what a big girl she is!

  2. What a great story! I'm so sad that I wasn't there to share it. Please give my big girl a hug and tell her how much Daddy loves her!

  3. She looks so happy!! What a blessing she is!! God is good and he always provides!!

  4. I'm glad you guys had a nice day! Happy Birthday Lauren!

  5. Cristi, You had me in tears this morning reading and remembering about the days after Lauren's birth. I don't think anyone could have pictured her the beautiful big girl that she is now...back then;although, we were all praying. She is beautiful, and I am praying, along with everyone else, that you'll be holding tight to her hand for many many years to come, and that when you are old, she will be holding tight to yours. God is able, as we all know. I love you! God bless you, Lauren and your family! Jerri

  6. Cristi, I'm crying with tears of joy. Thanks so much for sharing your story about Miracle Lauren's third birthday. She is growing into such a beautiful, big girl. Happy Birthday, Lauren!

  7. I'm Suzannah Foster's Mom and Suz wrote to tell me the latest. I am keeping Lauren and you and the whole family in prayer. Yes, God really does answer us just when we need it most! Happy (now belated) birthday to you precious little girl.
    Leanne Braddock

  8. Oh Cristi, I am crying. Great big hugs to both of you! You are in our prayers every day. (((HUGS))) Happy Birthday Lauren!

  9. cedockistler@gmail.comJanuary 19, 2009 at 4:57 PM

    Christi & Lauren: It was so wonderful to meet you two young beautiful gals! We will frequently and fervently pray for you and all your family members and while you are here we are available to help you any way we can. Love ` Doc-n-Cathy



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