On Saturday, we were celebrating Brian’s birthday.
Mom invited us to sneak out to get his birthday present (a new pair of boots!) and when we returned we had Brian’s favorite homemade subs and Derby Pie. It was delicious!
Mary Alice had been sick all week, but was finally feeling more like herself, entertaining us with silly giggles and dancing.
As we were reading a story to Mary Alice for bedtime, Brian noticed that Sebastian looked very pale. Sebastian had been congested all day and I figured he had the cold that we were all sharing. We picked him up and listened to his lungs and you could hear a little rattle. I called his pediatrician and left a message for the after hours nurse to call me back.
As we waited for the call back, Sebastian started crying inconsolably. He never cries like that. Mom and I headed to urgent care to set our minds at ease. The next 12 hours are a blur – chest x-rays, a sweet doctor telling me good job on following my instincts, an ambulance ride (my very first), Phoenix Children’s ER, three attempted IVs (none successful), the respiratory pediatric team, suctioning out his little lungs multiple times, watching his chest retract. We almost went home twice, but then he would do something that was concerning, so we were admitted to Phoenix Children’s hospital. At 5:30am, he finally slept.
I cannot say enough amazing things about the staff at Phoenix Children’s hospital. They were kind, communicative, amazing people. They made sure I knew exactly what they were doing and what was happening. They reassured me and listened to any concerns. They tested me on being able to fully care for him at home and watch for warning signs – which I appreciate greatly. They educated me on how to use a bulb syringe properly. You’d think a mom of five would know this, but I learned some new tricks. I am excellent with the boogers now.
Over the past 48 hours, I’ve been reminded that my tribe is amazing. My friends and family rally like no one’s business. My prayer warriors have a direct line to His ear. He didn’t have to answer with such speediness and mercy, but oh how He did.
I watched Sebastian’s oxygen drop so low and immediately remember the prayer:
“Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.”
Mary’s intercession, along with my mother Mary and my grandmother Mary are such a comfort to me.
I’m so thankful that memorizing prayers was always important to my family. In the quiet of the night, it is the most comforting thing to remember scriptures and prayers.
I’m sure the ER staff thought I was a little crazy as I said “never was it known” over and over. I watched his oxygen level climb step by step right back up to 100%.
We are home now, with a fresh reminder that my family is my mission field. This is where I will fight, pray, feed, and love those in need. This is where my sleepless nights are spent at the feet of My Father petitioning Him for their sake. My home is where I will find the needs that I will work to care for.
People ask me all the time what she is like at home.
Is she really as lovely as she seems? Yes, yes she is.
When I gave birth to my sweet Julia Tirion, I remember them handing her to me. I always thought my babies would have blonde hair, light eyes, and fair skin, just like everyone in my family.
Well, here was this beautiful dark eyed, very dark haired beauty.
When she was four, she started ballet lessons. I grew up a ballerina. I had to work so very hard. I wanted to be center stage and graceful and have all eyes on me when I was dancing. She was an absolute natural. She never practiced outside of class, but she always ended up at center stage. I was shocked when she was seven and told me that she wanted to quit and do basketball instead. She liked to dance, but she hated the recitals. She didn’t want everyone looking at her.
You would think that I’d learn that my children are not going to be carbon copies of me. They might not have any similarities at all, but here we are – years later and I still get surprised.
So, back to the question. What is she like at home? With her, what you see is what you get.
She is confident. She (unlike me) isn’t worried about pleasing everyone. She wants to please God and she would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings, but she is honest and knows it is okay to have preferences that are different.
She is funny. She (unlike me) has her dad’s amazing sense of humor. She can say the perfect one-liner at the perfect time that leaves everyone laughing hysterically at the dinner table.
She is kind. She loves so deeply. She wants everyone to know the joy she has found in Jesus. She wants everyone to burn with the same fire in their hearts that she has.
She is a world changer. She will do whatever it takes to show the world His love. Maybe she will travel to Africa. Maybe she will become a cloistered nun. Whatever He asks her to do, she is ready.
I can’t wait to watch it all unfold. Oh, how I will miss it being under my roof, but I’m slowly releasing my grip into His hands.
All I wanted for my birthday this year was pictures of all five kids together. I wanted everyone, smiling, happy for ten minutes. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but some days, to have everyone getting along feels like running a marathon. Not that I would know how that feels, because you know, running. But, I imagine that it feels about the same – knees hurting, back sore, and no food in the house – hard.
Well, my sweet husband made it happen. Starbucks, a beautiful afternoon, and a reminder to the kids that this was my birthday present.
You turned one month yesterday. Time is such a mysterious fellow. I’m exhausted, but yet I blink and it’s been a month.
I’ve been perplexed at your arrival. I’m not supposed to be able to have children biologically anymore. According to doctors, I’m unable to carry a child. Yet, here you are, my second true miracle.
When Mary Alice was born, the entire community rejoiced and celebrated. I shouted from rooftops of God’s glory. I made a video. I told everyone in the grocery store.
Now, two years later, you’ve arrived. Oh my sweet boy, it’s been a little quieter. I haven’t been as loud and I haven’t shared as much. I was talking with my mom, your grandmother, and she said something beautiful. “Katie Ann, some miracles are for the entire community and some are just for us.”
(Moms say the most wonderful things, don’t they?)
I sat in wonder about the woman who touched His robe after bleeding for 12 years who was healed (Luke 8). Did she spend the first few weeks telling all of her friends and family? If she was alive today, would she have made a YouTube video or an InstaStory? A year later, was she still telling everyone she knew of His glory? Two years later, would she be worried that people were tired of hearing from her?
So my sweet love, I say it now, with certainty in my heart. You are a miracle. You don’t make sense to the medical community and you don’t make sense to people who would rather claim doctors were wrong instead of proclaiming His handiwork. But I will say it. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, who has looked with favor on me, a lowly servant.” (Luke 1)
You are a quiet, beautiful treasure.
Sebastian Carl Louis, your name was chosen to always remind you that you are a miracle.
Sebastian Rupf was your great-great grandfather. Sebastian was Nate’s confirmation saint. That is first time I read about St. Sebastian and grew to love his story of martyrdom. He is the patron saint of soldiers. My prayer for you is that always fight for the truth of our faith.
Carl is your father’s father’s name. He is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. When Nate was young, we were moving to Denton, Texas. We had a very busy weekend and needed to clean our apartment completely to get the deposit back. After Mass, we showed up to our apartment and it was spotless. He had finished loading his suburban with our things and cleaned our apartment completely. This gift is just one small example of the many kind things he has done for us over the years. He always does these things quietly and without fanfare, using his hands to love and give.
Louis. There are three very special parts to this name.
Father Louis Merosne is the priest that had a word of knowledge, with more than 2,000 people present, that “someone was struggling with infertility and the knots would be untied.” That someone turned out to be me.
Your great-grandmother, the one Mary Alice is named after, has a second middle name – Louise. She is my prayer warrior. She talks with God in the middle of the night and takes all of our prayers to Him. I owe so much of his goodness to her intercession for me.
And St. Louis de Montfort. When I was pregnant with you, I consecrated myself to Our Mother. Everything I read about devotion to Her, brought me to stories of his life and his devotion to our blessed mother. I pray that this devotion stirs deep inside your soul and that you carry her with you all of your life.
Dearest Sebastian, yours may be a miracle, quiet and without fanfare, but my heart bursts with love for you.