a heart full of gratitude

Maybe it's because the holiday season is among us or maybe its because Asher has finally hit the mark where he has now lived at home longer than he has been in the hospital, but lately I have been overwhelmed with amazement in how far we have come and how lucky we are that we have been surrounded by with the absolute best people. So today's post is a shout out to those that have been with us since day one, who have held me up when I knew I couldn't do it anymore and who have been an integral part in Asher's success.

To my sisters, thank you for knowing me sometimes better than I know myself. Thank you for the caffeine and food you forced me to eat in the hospital, thank you for kicking me out of my son's room so that I would go home and shower. Thank you the constant texts, phone calls and snapchats to check in on me and thank you for understanding when I just don't have the capacity or strength to respond. Thank you for your comic relief and for making me smile when I forgot how to.

To my brother-in-law, thank you for giving up your wife for the last 10 weeks to do everything she has done for me. Thank you for embracing our family and our "it takes a village" mentality. Thank you for agreeing to be Asher's godfather and thank you for loving my sister so much. You both have the marriage that I want my son to have one day and I am so lucky that he will be able to see that day in and day out in the two of you.

To Asher's NICU nurses and doctors, thank you for caring for me as well as you cared for my son. I know Asher was your responsibility, but thank you for holding my hand throughout the whole process. Thank you for making the hardest days even just a little bit better and thank you for taking care of my son so wonderfully. Thank you for sending us home confident that we could handle the real world.

To my two best friends, thank you for standing by me on this journey. Asher and I are so lucky to have you both. Shannon, thank you for loving my son *almost* as much as I do. Thank you for the pride you take in him and thank you for being my partner in this when I really need one. Thank you for taking so much care with him, for wanting to know everything about his medical background so you can be the best babysitter, and for simply caring about every little detail, both good and bad. Catherine, I know you don't live here and sometimes its hard to keep in touch with our busy schedules. Thank you for always keeping us in mind regardless. Thank you for being the type of friend that I can go days and sometimes weeks without talking to, but will pick back up with me like no time has passed. Thank you for being the type of person that will drop everything she is doing to fly home and help me move out of my exes house and who will do everything in her power to make me feel like that was a success instead of a failure.

To my extended family, I have started thinking of you as our prayer warriors. Thank you for loving us so deeply and consistently praying for Asher since the day we found out something was wrong at my 20 week ultrasound. It brings me such comfort when I get a random text or phone call asking about Asher. Thank you for sharing Asher's story with your own friends and family. I know he is being prayed for all over this country and that is because of each and every one of you, thank you.

To everyone who has kept us in your thoughts or prayers, you mean the world to me. I can't explain how incredible it feels to know that so many people care about my son and want him to succeed as much as I do. It was an amazing comfort when I was pregnant and we weren't sure he was going to make it, and it means even more now that he is here and there are still being prayers said all over the world for him. Thank you for lifting us up when we need it the most. Every time we get good news, I credit you all. So thank you.

And to my parents - I will never be able to thank you for what you have done for Asher and I. Thank you for loving my son like your own. Thank you for taking on my pain when I can't bear it on my own. Thank you for raising me the way that you have, for giving me the strength that you have given me. Thank you for your constant belief that I can handle this and for being there when I can't. Thank you for being there for doctor's appointments and ultrasounds and hospital stays and the works. Thank you for always being my right hand.

And for the short life update - as you can notice there is someone that should definitely be on the above list, but is missing- Asher's father and the man who was supposed to be my partner on this journey. Emphasis on supposed to be. As some of you know by now, I have been doing this on my own since essentially day one which has only been made clearer as the days go on. We are okay, I am okay. I am thankful that this happened when Asher was too young to know and understand and I am thankful that Asher is surrounded by so many other people that love him that he will hopefully never notice that gap in his life. We are okay and I am okay.

And for an Asher update - He is doing as well as we could hope. He is in occupational and speech therapy and finally starting to take bottles by mouth instead of fully though his feeding tube. We learned last week that we might not need surgery on his feet and that we might need surgery on his brain sometime this year. We are seeking an additional opinion by a neurologist next week. Life is a constant game of a few steps forward and a few steps back, but he is a beautiful baby boy and he continues to fight every day. AND he gained TWO POUNDS! which was a huge win for us since he has been struggling to even maintain weight since leaving the NICU. We now live in a wonderful apartment in the same building as my parents and life is good. We are so lucky and so grateful.



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