By: Jennifer Murray

Life After Loss

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As much as I’d like to post something light and fluffy, perhaps a post about Hudson scaring himself with his own burps, or how Brooks and Clark have been writing some of the best narratives, or how Isaac scored 12 points at his last basketball game, or how Henry can’t get enough of Jedi Academy – this has been on my heart for some time and I just can’t shake it.

I haven’t wanted to write this post for several reasons. One being because it could be misunderstood. One because it’s just plain hard. But I think it’s needed. Maybe someone needs to read it, or more likely maybe God needs to work inside my heart as I continue to grow through grief. 

Brad asked me a few months back if having Hudson has healed some of the wounds I felt from our miscarriage. It was a question I had already been working through, because being given life after a loss has brought forth a lot of emotions, feelings, and perspective.

In so many ways the answer is a resounding YES! We’ve been given LIFE after walking through the dark shadows of death. The redemption and grace shown through this sweet baby has been such an outpouring of God’s goodness. It’s bandaged my seeping wound like nothing else. 

And part of me only wants to acknowledge the good. Part of me feels like that is what I’m supposed to do. A gift of life has been given to us that we didn’t think was even a possibility.  No one expects you to grieve after you’ve been given life.  It seems greedy, ungrateful, or selfish.

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The reality is, we have both cried more tears over our loss of our “5” in the last four months than we have in over a year. There is something about holding this life we’ve been given – taking in every wonderful way he’s been created, breathing him in, soaking up these sweet babies days, that gives the loss more weight.  You see the life you’ve been given and see the significance of the life taken. It’s this bittersweet dance of gratefulness and a different kind of sorrow.

You appreciate the way God designs, grows, shapes, and sustains life. We watched this baby grow from a blinking heartbeat to a crying, moving, breathing proof of His creation. Yet, the scar feels deeper and more profound knowing what you are missing.

He gives. He takes away.

There is something about grief that richly acknowledges life. And for that I am grateful. Where there is great love, there is great loss when that love is taken.  One thing that has been disheartening in this journey has been how “pro-life” doesn’t always give enough significance to miscarriage. If we fight for life of babies in the womb, we must also grieve it when it is lost. 

I was processing some of this late one night, as I held life in my arms in the dark of his nursery. There were tears in my eyes as I watched him doze off with a drip of milk on his sweet lips. I was thanking God for his life and giving me the opportunity to be a mother again, for healing my heart, for giving me joy through the journey. I was thinking about a verse that was shared with me shortly after our loss,

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:31b

At the time that verse was hard for me to fathom. Tears to laughter seemed like such a disconnected contrast.

In that very moment, Hudson laughed in his sleep – a full out giggle. 

What a kind way for God to show me the truth of this verse through the bliss of baby laughter!!! 

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There is great gratefulness, joy, contentment, and fullness along with a dull pang missing the life we didn’t get to hold this side of heaven. And the great peace of hope, passing our understanding. The hope that promises of love that will be reunited. So yes, life brings healing, but it can never replaces the pain of a life lost.

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By: Jennifer Murray

Young Living’s Video Spotlight on Our Thieves Story

I’m sure you are all ready for some present-day posts after recollecting Hudson’s Birth Story for the past many blog posts, and I’m ALMOST ready to go forward from here. Good things are ahead. Promise.

However, I PROMISED when I was pregnant that I would reveal our Young Living Thieves video clip when it was released, and guess what? They released it at their International Convention in front of thousands the day after Hudson’s early birth. Although it was fun seeing friends post it and see snip-its of their own excitement the few days that followed, it wasn’t even close to the forefront of our minds. I know that God’s timing was perfect even in this, because it introduced our family in a personal way, as those whom we loved there shared our need for prayers. It was amazing to hear from friends even months later who prayed for Hudson’s life during the most critical days of his little life.

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We had SUCH an amazing time with the video crew when we filmed, but were anxious to see how it would all come together. I was nervous about my interview portion and felt like I stumbled on my words a ton, but they covered me well! I think Young Living is the ONLY company I would ever agree to film with late in pregnancy!!!! Hahaaaa! I loved that so much of it was just LIFE. Nothing fancy or scripted, just our home and something that we LOVE.

So without further ado…

As you can see, Thieves has really has changed our home. I’m so thankful to replace my whole under the sink stash with such a natural and safe alternative products that my kids can use!

Young Living has been such a needed and beneficial lifestyle change for our whole family. It all started with a kit that contained 11 oils and a diffuser. I had no idea over two years ago the impact it would make on our health and well-being!

The Premium Starter Kit that we started this journey contains everything you need to get started. We use something from this kit DAILY in our family, the perfect place to start your own family off on a better path! #KnowBetterDoBetter

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And just to make the deal even SWEETER…

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Because I believe in this kit and how it can change your home, I want to share a bottle of Thieves Cleaner with you when you sign up for a Premium Starter Kit through October 31st This cleaner is AMAZING. We use it for countertops, toilets, mirrors, floors, YOU NAME IT! Signing up is super easy and there’s no obligation to sell, order, or any other annoying strings attached. I’ll walk you through it when you click hereOh and Young Living is adding a bonus bottle of Oregano this month, so it’s just too good to pass up! 

***{Just let me know in the comments that you signed up due to this post, so I can get the FREE bottle of Thieves Cleaner sent to you!}***

We’re honored to share our Thieves story, and hope you’ll have your own to share soon!!! 

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By: Jennifer Murray

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 7 (Final)

If you’re still around for this FINALE of Hudson’s Birth Story, I wish I had a medal for you, or at least a HUG! I’m seriously sooooo grateful you could celebrate Hudson’s recovery with us and how God healed his little lungs. We are beyond grateful that God chose to spare his life and these past two months we’ve been given to love on him. I can’t wait to finally wrap up this series on his birth so I can share more about our life with 5 boys! 

If you are still catching up, I don’t blame you. Here you go! 

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 1

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 2

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 3

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 4

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 5

Hudson Bradley’s Birth Story: Part 6

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After celebrating Hudson’s major accomplishments on Tuesday of first bottle, open crib, and getting to visit his brothers, Wednesday felt like a hurry up and wait day. We knew Hudson was starting to flirt with the “H-O-M-E” word, that you don’t dare say out loud in the NICU for fear of setbacks. He went back on phototherapy for his jaundice, but this time was able to wear a blanket version, so we could continue to care for him and hold him.

Our little dude was figuring out the whole eating thing like a champ. Although he didn’t have nursing down just yet, he loved his bottles, finishing 7/8 feedings completely.

Can’t you visibly see the change in him through these pictures? We were loving this newborn look!

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With his vent and chest tube removed, we were able to be much more hands on parents, which was so nice, even though it made it harder to leave him when we had to return home.

Wednesday was our last day to have our favorite nurse, Erin, who I’ve gushed on already in these posts. It was an ugly cry goodbye for me, because I felt like she had truly fought for and loved on my son in such a personal way. {And yes, I’m still tearing up just writing this!}

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On Thursday Hudson got his face back! For the first time in over a week we were able to see his face without a feeding tube or a nasal cannula. And what a precious face to behold! 

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Things started moving on his “escape plan” and conversations started taking place between us and our team of neonatologists. Our neonatologist on duty was kind, conservative and cautious. He wanted us to be prepared for possible setbacks. However, we felt strongly that he was almost ready and were anxious to get him out of the NICU. As much as we loved the people there, we wanted him HOME so badly, and were tired of the back and forth tango. This also wasn’t our first NICU rodeo, so we knew he was never truly “safe” from infections this environment. We also felt prepared transitioning from NICU to home, having already survived it x4. We had our first successful nursing experience, which was a huge confidence builder for bring him home as well.

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Friday, you could feel the anxiousness in the car ride up to the hospital. Brad and I had had several conversations about when/if we would push for dismissal. At this point Hudson’s oxygen levels were perfect, and his lungs were no longer showing any signs of distress. He nursed all of his feedings when I was present like a pro, which typically doesn’t happen so easily when they are transitioning from a bottle. The only thing we were waiting on was his weight gain to be headed up – he had lost almost a pound with not being able to be fed the first few days, decreased feeds, plus the normal newborn fluid shed. All other indications were that he was ready to come home to us. I packed his going home outfit in the diaper bag to have ready for him when the time came.

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When our neonatologist, Dr. Jansen (who we had also had with our quadruplets) made his rounds for the morning, he stated that Hudson was on track for a Saturday dismissal as planned in his notes. Brad calmly asked him, “Any chance we could talk you into today?” Instead of a pushback, he quickly and confidently responded, “We could do that”.

We were ecstatic, relieved, and a little shocked. Things moved so quickly from there – paperwork, calling the boys to let them know (one of the best moments ever!), texting/calling family and friends, hugging fellow NICU parents who graciously came by to celebrate with us, calling our pediatrician to make follow up appointments, packing up things from his bedside, making trips back and forth to the van, grabbing a final lunch out, cleaning the van, etc. It was the happiest rush!

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After one last hospital feed, saying goodbyes, and signing some final paperwork, Hudson was ours for the taking. Our 11 day unexpected NICU journey was coming to a happy ending. We made one last walk out the locked down NICU doors, down the long hallway, into the elevator, and then out into the sunshine of that first day of July.

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Our hearts were grateful that God had given us this moment, knowing that there were no guarantees for a homecoming just a week prior.

After we had a little time to get adjusted, our friend Amy dropped off our boys. They came in running and could not wait to hold him.

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My four boys holding their little baby brother – I didn’t think my heart could handle it without bursting. 

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And that, My Friends, is Hudson Bradley’s birth story – from early labor, to uncertain NICU days, to home and healthy. Only God knows the number of his days, but we are so thankful He walked with us through his challenging first 11. He held Hudson when we couldn’t, and continues to shine His faithfulness through these past 12 weeks.

We are so thankful for these 5 miracle boys and the joy they bring to our lives! We are all adjusting extremely well. Thank you for continuing to allow us record our journey here. You’ve been incredibly kind to us over the years and we are looking forward to sharing this new chapter!

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Photo by: Rachel Vanoven 
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