Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A single raindrop

As I was driving along the road yesterday a single raindrop fell against my windshield. In that moment I was reminded of a conversation I had with Bennett in his last few hours of life.

When we got to the hospital that Tuesday afternoon we hoped against hope that Bennett would somehow pull through this devastating blow he had suffered. As more and more tests were run it became clearer that God was choosing Bennett to come back to His home. It was in the following 72 hours that I had to share a lifetime of conversations with my little man. If you have children you can imagine fitting their lifetime into a few hours…seemingly impossible, but we took our lemons and attempted from that moment on to make lemonade. We talked about everything from here to there and back again. In one of my last days with Bennett I felt compelled to tell him that I would never forget him…ever and that it was okay for him to go. I would think of him for every first raindrop that hit my windshield, for every lady bug I would crawl on my skin, and for every rainbow that I was blessed enough to see. I would remember him when a beautiful butterfly would dance near me and when the birds would sing. He could remember me by the smile that all of those things bring to my face. It was a private conversation between my angel boy and me…until today.

The moment that the raindrop hit my windshield a smile crept across my face. That day and that conversation gave me chills and I sat there driving and remembering. All of a sudden Ellie chimed in from the backseat with, “Bubba, Bubba?” I am not a woman that believes in coincidence, so moments like that are special to me. Bennett was there with both of us yesterday…aren’t we so blessed…

Today my babies are 20 months old. It seems impossible to think that tomorrow will mark 14 months since Bennett died. Impossible. Impossible to think that is the last time I held him. Impossible to realize that time really does march on and the impossible starts to become a little possible…maybe.

We finally got the final call about Bennett’s medical records. You won’t believe this…or maybe you will. For his last month of life it will cost us $780 to view the records. Just to see what happened and relive it all over again. You would think they would take mercy on parents that have lost a child and just give them a portion, but no! And the cost is absolutely ridiculous. I mean after 6 million dollars of medical bills (some covered, some not covered) you would think they could just give you the records, but no! So, in the middle of preparing to meet with our doctor about another IVF round (that’s NOT covered from the 1st one) we are faced with choosing to pay almost $1000 for Bennett’s records…for his last month of life. It is just such a deflating feeling. I always see people standing on the sides of our Houston roads with signs about needing help or donating money to them and I always feel for them...So, I recently thought to myself about what my sign would look like if I were out there:

Please help!
Can’t get pregnant on own ~ want to try IVF again
Lost a child and need to buy medical records to understand what happened to him

Sure! That will never happen, but I just had to vent! It’s frustrating to be in this situation. Frustrating that we live every 15th of the month with a sad and lonely feeling in our hearts because it’s Bennett Day. Frustrating that something that should be so natural (getting pregnant) costs me upwards of 15,000 a try. It is just a long and exhausting life until that one little raindrop hits your windshield and you are reminded of how lucky you are...

Biddy (B’s mom) came over to watch Ellie Grace today while I did some work and she walked through the door with a pink balloon (for her 20 month bday). By the end of the day she was saying “Happy Birthday to me” ~ NO KIDDING! She is amazing! We are working on going on the big person potty and she thinks that she needs to tear a piece of toilet paper off every few seconds and just throw it in the potty…I am thinking I need to get to Sam’s quickly to get some more TP. Silly little lady!

I have a small prayer request for my sister-in-law’s mother. Her name is Janet and she is going to have deep brain stimulation surgery tomorrow to help her Parkinson’s disease. I would appreciate all of you keeping her in your thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

While you slept

This had to be is everything that I feel daily for my precious little girl and it is something I hope she grows up knowing.

To my sweet little angel girl,

While you slept this morning I watched you. The rise and fall of your chest, the way you gently moved your mouth, the way your hair stood straight in the air and the way you cried out “mommy” in your sleep. You are truly the most amazing being on this planet. The love I have for you is indescribable. At the same time you can make me feel the most love and the most fear I have ever experienced. I have never wanted anything more in this world than to be a mommy. You and your bubba gave that to me. I am so afraid to hold on to you too tightly, but I can’t seem to let you go. We spend every minute of every day together and I can’t imagine it being any other way. You are truly amazing.

I have so many hopes and dreams for you. Not mine…but, your own. Dreams that I can imagine you accomplishing. I hope that you live your life with the highest morals and values. I hope that daddy and I raise you to know the difference. I hope you are the one that people come to because they know they can trust you. I hope that you believe in the Path that our God has created just for you and that you follow it with faith in Him. I hope that your happiness in life overshadows any pain you might ever feel. You are the best.

I love the way you talk and wave to bubba like he is standing right next to you. I love that you already know that he is a part of our family even though he is not here with us. I love how affectionate you are…even with strangers. I love how you beat the odds! I love that when I look at you I don’t remember the pain and fear I felt while you were in the NICU. And I love that you make me think it will be easy if we travel that road again. I love that I can still remember how it felt to feel you move inside of me…you never stayed still! I love that you like the same types of food as me and that you look so much like your daddy. I love to watch you play golf and I love to watch you dance. I love that you came into this world so “girly,” but you act like a linebacker sometimes. You are the love of my life.

You are the one that brings a smile to my face daily. Your presence has gotten me through some rough days. You are my Ellie Grace…the one and only.

I love you with all that I have…forever.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Take a deep breath...

Take a deep breath…okay…here is what I have been dreading…the recount of our trip. I have sat down on more than one occasion to blog about our weekend, so now I am really going to finish. I thought that breaking down the trip by day would be more efficient to write and to read. So, here it goes…

Friday: Friday was filled with running errands and last minute packing. We left for the airport that evening after Brandon got home from work. We were excited b/c this was the first time we would ever be on an airplane together. I flew several times last summer and last fall, but Brandon was never with us for those trips. We ate dinner at the airport (never had a $50 dollar meal that consisted of 2 hamburgers in my entire life) and then with a hope and a prayer we ran Ellie around the terminal in order to tire her out. Our plane was delayed…surprise…due to a mechanical issue with the AC unit. If I can give any of you advice it would be to NEVER board a plane that is having any type of issue with the AC. I have NEVER been so miserably hot in my entire life!!! Ellie fell asleep (I don’t know how in that heat) and was sweating profusely on my arm as I slowly melted myself. To top it all off Brandon had a 7 year old boy next to him that kept trying to put a string of elastic on his ear to pretend like it was an “earring.” We were thankful to finally land and soak up the air conditioning in the Orlando airport. We got our luggage and we were off to The Peabody in Orlando. We arrived at 1am and Ellie thought it was dinner time. We got a snack from the restaurant and headed off to our room. By 2:15am we were all settled into bed. Ellie was restless b/c she was off of her schedule and Brandon was snoring like a freight train. I didn’t have any room to move without feeling like I was going to bulldoze over Ellie Grace. Not to mention (again) that I don’t sleep anyway. I decided to put the comforter on the floor and make myself comfortable there. From 2:30am until the wake-up call at 6:30 I thought about a few hundred things…but, sleeping was not part of the plan. We got dressed and had to wake Ellie up at 8:00 in order to make our 8:35 appointment with the Mears Shuttle that would deliver us to Animal Kingdom by the time the gates opened at 9am. My one mission was to find hot water to mix my coffee up, so that I could properly function for the rest of the day…mission accomplished! Take a deep breath.

Saturday: Brandon, being the VERY friendly guy that he is, made friends with our driver immediately. Hakeem was from West Africa and Brandon was talking to him about a nonfiction book that he read a few years ago about their culture. He also demonstrated his vast knowledge of the world of sports which led to the funniest thing I have witnessed in years… All of a sudden Hakeem looked in his rear view mirror and said, “Man, I know you from somewhere…you play in the NFL right?” I started laughing hysterically b/c I knew who he thought Brandon was…John Lynch! “I WISH,” were the words that came flying out of my mouth! It took Hakeem a few minutes to believe us that Brandon was indeed, NOT, John Lynch. We finally arrived at the, “House of the Mouse” for a much anticipated day with the animals. The day was fun. I say “fun” b/c in my eyes Animal Kingdom is simply a glorified zoo. The neatest part of the park was the Tree of Life. As we stood in front waiting to have our family picture taken all I could think of was how our little man wasn’t going to be in it with us. Would he like the animals...would he like riding the train as much as Ellie did that day…was he there watching over us? A million thoughts and feelings raced through my head. I like WDW, but I wouldn’t say that it is the best vacation spot we have visited. The day was long and hot, but we were prepared for that this year. After sweating in the heat for 7 hours we were off to the hotel to shower before dinner. On our way we had to drop another family off at their hotel and we were surprised to run into presidential candidate John McCain! It is amazing to see how many secret service men they have protecting a man that isn’t even the president. I have to admit it is pretty exciting to see that sort of scene. Dinner was nice…I don’t think it’s ever a wise idea to take a toddler to a 5 star restaurant, but what choice to you have when you are on vacation with them? After dinner it was off to bed early in order to wake up on time to go to Sea World on Sunday. Take a deep breath.

Sunday: WOW! I was exhausted after our two days of excitement and activity and I finally slept Saturday night. We decided to let Ellie sleep in (and we joined her) which got our day started at 8:45. We ate breakfast and took off to visit Shamu. There was a trolley that picked us up at the hotel and would drop us off at Sea World, so we decided to brave public transportation with Ellie Grace for the first time. Interesting experience! We entered Sea World and I swear it was 150 degrees outside with about 200% humidity! We were miserable right from the start, but Sea World was magnificent! I would totally go back and I have even considered buying a family pass for next summer in San Antonio. We love animals, so it was truly amazing to see the penguins, dolphins, whales, polar bears, etc. in their recreated natural habitat. We spent hours walking around and Ellie was a champ through all of it. I believe her favorite part of the day was the Believe show with the killer whales…spectacular! Brandon’s favorite part was the Budweiser brewery and the tasting room they had. It was pretty interesting to see the different brews and be schooled about the different ingredients and methods for distilling each beer. The Clydesdale horses were there and BOY were they beautiful. You would not believe how well they are taken care of. It was a truly amazing day! We wanted to let Ellie play in the splash pad part of the park until Brandon spotted a little girl relieving herself in the middle of the park and other children began splashing in it. Needless to say we didn’t stay there very long! After we chased down our trolley to go home (literally) we were off to dinner, but we weren’t so lucky this time with Ellie’s behavior. Oh well, take a deep breath…one out of two nights isn’t that bad…

Monday: We packed up and headed to bed. We had to leave at 4:30 am (3:30 Houston time) in order to get back so Brandon could be at work on time. It was another one of those nights where I didn’t sleep and I literally watched the clock from 1-4am. We arrived at the airport to find breaking news on CNN about a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico…it was headed straight for Houston! Take a deep breath… After being so busy for the last three days the last thing we had time for was the news, so we were completely caught off guard with this news. We boarded the airplane (with AC this time) and got news from the pilot that he would be flying a longer distance in order to stay above land and away from the Gulf on our trip home. This turned out taking 45 minutes longer to get home and it was a horrible flight! I was afraid that Ellie was going to suffer from shaken baby syndrome from all of the turbulence! We hit the ground and ran to get our bags. B dropped us off and headed to work. It was 8 in the morning and I felt like I had been up for days! I watched the weather all day and at 4pm I decided to “panic” like every other idiot in the city of Houston and I headed to the grocery store with Ellie in tow. You would have thought they were giving away free food given the number of people at the store that day. There were people with 7 cases of water in their carts. They had employees rationing out the number of cases you could purchase! They were out of almost everything, so it made shopping very easy! Uncle Dave didn’t want to be stuck all alone if it was indeed going to be as bad as they were predicting, so he packed up and came to stay with us. We stayed up for hours talking and goofing around waiting to see some kind of stormy weather…nothing! Take a deep breath.

Tuesday: B got up and went to work (even though most of the city was closed and prepared for a natural disaster to strike). Uncle Dave, Ellie Grace and I waited…and waited…and waited for some kind of storm, but nothing ever happened! What a joke! The media gets everyone pumped up and prepared for this horrible situation and then nothing! Take a deep breath. Don’t get me wrong ~ I am relieved that nothing happened~ I just think it is ridiculous that we allow our media to put the fear in us like that (or I am just disappointed that I allow them to get to me like that). I usually don’t fall for that kind of nonsense, but with Ellie I feel like I have to be prepared for the worst just in case. Oh well, we are prepared for the next threat of a hurricane/tropical storm!

Wednesday: It is half way through the week and I am exhausted! I finally admitted to Brandon the other night that the last month has been torture for me. I don’t know why I find it so hard to admit that type of thing. I guess it is because I like to think I can handle anything and still do it all. I have felt a little better and at least the poor guy has had a homemade dinner every night this week. We are still waiting to hear from our doctor (it takes a few weeks to get an appointment) and that is weighing on my mind as well. There are so many fears that run through my mind about trying to have another child. I have always felt as if we were supposed to have more kids. Even after the twins were born and they were in the hospital people would ask if we were done and I would say, “Probably not.” I truly feel that God has it in our plan to have more babies. I have peace with that feeling. It feels right to me. It is not something I wonder or worry about (okay, that’s a lie). But, I do still have fears. I struggle with the ease in which the decision to have more kids was made. B and I both were convinced that we should try IVF again and that it was a part of our plan to have a bigger family, but what if…what if we are faced with a similar situation again. What if the IVF doesn’t work this time? What ifs keep me up at night. I am a type A, anal personality. I like to be in control and make everything perfect. I know this about myself and I think that is why infertility rocks me to the core. I have absolutely no control over whether or not the love of my life and I can ever have more babies. The one thing I have always dreamed of is not a sure thing for me. What can I do? What can I say? How hard can I pray for this miracle? All I can do is…take a deep breath.