An Everly Update to Keep you all in the Loop, and to Share the Miracles We Are Watching.
I was toying with the idea of an “Everly Update” to close out 2019. I thought it would be most fitting in so many ways, but I wasn’t sure if I was quite brave enough to go there, or quite strong enough to make the statements.
Then my sister Brenna Nobles-Cudzilo shared a video with my mom and sisters that recapped her year. I unwittingly sucked in my breath as I started the video on my phone and the first shot was Everly intubated and swollen in hyper freeze mode.
Before I could fall apart in to the emotions that went with that footage, something in me rose up to the top of my soul as a victorious champion.
Everly is our greatest miracle of 2019.
The things that our family went through when Everly was born are still too painful to rehash in full. What started as a difficult labor for Baby #2 quickly turned into a nightmare that no one could have believed both my sister and her baby would survive from.
But they did.
We still do not fully know the medical details of what Everly endured in delivery. My sister is still not fully physically recovered from her delivery.
She hasn’t had time to address it, drowning in medical bills and specialist appointments and unexpected extended leave from work.
She hasn’t had the mental capacity to address it, walking back into her home with a threenager toddler who missed her parents dearly, not understanding why her baby sister hadn’t come home like we had all promised…
(How many of you out there have had a toddler at home with a brand new baby? And Ricklan is not just any toddler, let me tell you, and I have raised seven children in my home. Ricklan is one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life, and when we say threenager, it is with the fiercest love and admiration for a spitfire determined individual that tops every chart I have ever seen. She lives her best life, loves largely, and flies on the strength that her mama is her Person.)
But when her mama couldn’t come home for days and days, and then when she finally did come home she came home Different, and not with a sissy in tow that she could ever play with… no one knew if they would ever play dolls, no one knew if they’d ever share secrets, no one knew if Life would be Different forever because of some big quiet accident she could not possibly understand at three years of age.
They are just not there yet.
The darkness that came over our family as we battled doctor reports with medical knowledge mixed with stories of miraculous recoveries and hope for the future has no way of being explained.
Brenna’s husband Andy was her champion, never leaving that hospital and constantly meeting with doctors and fighting for her life.
My parents nearly aged overnight, watching their kids fight for their newest grand baby, wondering what the road ahead of them would look like.
My Dad learned how to take his first selfie with Everly in the NICU, not really knowing if she was going to make it, and what her future will look like.
We still don’t know what it will look like.
But here is what we DO know:
Miracles happen every day.
Prayer changes things.
No one is promised tomorrow.
Every day miracles happen all the time, if we are willing to see them.
So, so many things the doctors said our Everly would never be able to do.
The MRI scans made Mom choke out sobs over the phone as she repeated the results to me, driving 600 miles away from them back to the other part of my heart.
They were words that caused cries from my sister and her husband that I am sure are still echoing the NICU halls and haunting the doctors until today.
They were words that no parent would ever want to hear.
I stand in absolute admiration at the bravery of my sister.
She got up every day.
She showed up for her daughter, her new baby, and faced fear straight in the eyes every.single.day.
It was not pretty.
It is the ugliest fight she ever had to contend for: her girls, her husband, her home, her mental and physical well being.
It was incredible.
Every day, wondering if her baby can hear her, see her, move properly, speak, communicate, walk and run…
Day after day, wondering if any wrong move, too little stimulation, too much stimulation, not enough exercises, therapies and appointments…
She calls Everly the Warrior, but the truth is, she came by it honestly.
She still does.
So many prayers and tears went into this miracle baby. So many.
I remember asking, begging God, daily, for the next thing we needed to believe Him for: liver function, kidney function, zero oxygen, room air only, no cannula, keeping down her food, white blood cell count down, temperature steady, no seizures for 24 hours… the prayers came so fast, so constantly, so desperately, I felt like the widow who begged the unjust judge until he finally tired of hearing her and gave her what she wanted.
I didn’t care what I looked like. I was desperate for a miracle.
Day after day, they kept coming. Not always exactly when we wanted, but they kept coming.
When I went home for Christmas, I looked my sister in the face and asked her what the Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist were saying about our girl.
She explained so much, but basically the next big hurdle would be crawling and walking to determine any signs of cerebral palsy among a few other concerns.
(This is the brave I’m talking about that she lives in. My blood ran cold when I heard those words. She just gets to work and goes on the floor with that baby until she gets it done.)
By the end of the day, Miss Everly Jay was scootching and cackling and playing peekaboo behind a curtain she had crawled to all by herself.
It was absolutely incredible.
There is so very far to go, and so much more healing needs to happen in so many people in so many ways, but I know what I got for Christmas, and I know what I saw right before my eyes, and I feel nothing but blessed to be able to be a cheering spectator in this incredible journey.
Would I wish it on anyone? Never.
But if this is what has to happen for God to show off His miracle working power, then I will call it a privilege to get to walk beside them as they beast this test, no matter how hot or ugly it looks.
And that’s my greatest bookmark to close out 2019.
Thank you, Jesus, for our miracle Everly Jay, and all of our miracle babies. And thank you for letting me keep my sister here on this earth longer, even bringing her closer to me in the midst of what looked like the worst tragedy we had ever seen.
Thank you for letting us witness this Christmas miracle, and for all the miracles we forget to give You credit for.
We will sing of the goodness of God.
If you would like to follow Brenna’s story and hear her voice through all of this, you can find her at http://domesticatedhonesty.com/
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