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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Life after Delivery

In celebration of Sanctity of Life Sunday:
In a mother's womb were two babies. One asked the other: "Do you believe in life after delivery?" The other replied, "Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later." "Nonsense", said the first. "There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?"

The second said, "I don't know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can't understand now."

The first replied, "That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded."

The second insisted, "Well, I think there is something and maybe it's different than it is here. Maybe we won't need this physical cord anymore."

The first replied, "Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes you nowhere."

"Well, I don't know," said the second, but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us."

The first replied, "Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That's laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?"

The second said, "She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her, this world would not and could not exist."

Said the first: "Well, I don't see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn't exist."

To which the second replied, "Sometimes, when you're in silence and you focus and really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above."
So likewise it is with God.

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
~ Psalms 16:11 ~

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Newsletter

It’s natural to reflect one’s past as the New Year approaches, and with so much having transpired in the short  1 1/2 years of our marriage, we thought a Christmas letter was appropriate to commemorate all our adventures and thank you for your part in them.

So what has happened in that time?

It all started June 6th, 2015 when we vowed before God and our many witnesses to have and hold each other for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or in health. Our adventures commenced immediately with our surprise honeymoon to Hawaii and Southern California, which truly was a surprise to me (Sarah), since I found out our destination when the blindfold came off at the airport and I was handed my plane ticket. :)
In late July we found out that we were expecting a baby, and how joyous that news was! In early September, we bought a beautiful home in central Coeur d’Alene and immersed ourselves, Sarah’s family, and all available friends in giving it {a lot of} TLC.

October came and with it brought a late night scare with the police and the SWAT team calling us out with our hands up, thinking that the previous owners still lived there…fortunately, it ended peaceably with a good night sleep, until the next day…when the {wanted} previous resident appeared at the door and tried to get in the house. For the next couple months, we learned to ‘be wary but not weary’ and trust in the Lord even more. The former occupant, who was wanted for several felon charges in the State of Idaho and Montana has since been arrested, jailed, and released one year later, as of October 2016.

My pregnancy brought some craziness too, with threatened miscarriage early on, extreme weight restrictions, and a torn abdominal muscle—not desirable ever, but even more so when you’re trying to renovate a house, move in and organize it, and prepare for a baby coming!

In November, our sweet little niece Ivy was born, and Sarah was there a bit helping, while Alex continued working long 6 day weeks between his USPS Rural Carrier and Delivery jobs. December was crazy as usual at the Post Office with the package scurry, and we well remember that night we {elves} took our suburban  crammed full of outgoing packages to the Spokane plant and came home past 11pm. [Don’t forget to thank your mailman this year!!] Special memories!!! 
January came, and we finally got the last of our boxes moved into their appropriate rooms. Then…..we hit a moose late one dark night…or rather, unbeknownst to us, the car 1/4 mile ahead of us hit its neck with their roof rack. We, being good citizens, saw their flashers and moved over to the other lane…where we promptly hit the moose and pushed it 30 feet before flying through the air and sliding on our our side for 100 yards. We landed on my passenger side which sent the side mirror through the window and in the process broke my arm. 
Praise God, baby was okay, and I got my elbow-to-fingertip cast off 3 1/2 weeks later…1 day before I woke up in premature labor. Turns out, I sustained a seatbelt injury (it was either that or being beheaded if I hadn’t worn one), which caused a delayed placental abruption (which is when the placenta starts detaching from the uterine wall), and 5 hours later, on February 3rd 2016, our tiny 4 lb 2 oz, 17 3/4” long, 8 week premature son was born. Perfect, whole, alive.
After 2 days, we finally got to see his face and named him - Alexander David - “Beloved Defender of Mankind”. A fighter he was: against his lungs which didn’t have enough surfactant to open, against bacteria, against jaundice, against bleeding, and against the tubes in his mouth. :) We transported him on Day 3 to Deaconess Hospital (best  Level 3 NICU in Spokane!), where he remained for 6 weeks, and I with him at the Ronald McDonald House. All through this, Alex was the exemplary husband—cooking, cleaning, helping in every way he could when I couldn’t even crack an egg because of my arm. He was the perfect support through labor, and the best dad a preemie could want. With his rigorous work schedule, we didn’t get to see each other as often as he still lived in Cd’A for the most part. That was REALLY tough, but it almost felt like we were courting again with those late night phone calls. :) 
Baby Alexander came home on St. Patrick’s Day, at 6 lbs. 8 oz. and we became a united family. It was amazing. That same day, Alex ended his time at his one delivery job, which left us time to figure out our new routine and bond as a family. God has perfect timing!
Since then, Alex has been working USPS, doing graphic design and other projects on the side, dabbling in cars, doing house projects, teaching Alexander to say ‘Da-Da’, and changing diapers.
This summer, I became a consultant with L’BRI—the natural, nontoxic Aloe Vera-based skincare and makeup line that I’ve been using for 5 years which cleared up my rosacea and Alex’s bad acne. God truly did make plants for our healing! If you’re curious, you can find out more here: www.facebook.com/GotHopeWithLBRI 

Alexander is now 10 months old, 20 lbs, 1/2 my length, is crawling, has been wearing 9-12 month clothing since he was 8 months old, says Dada, climbs up or over everything, walks along furniture, loves food (loves Mama more), is almost always happy and laughing, knows ‘No’, and is our miracle baby.
We want to thank each and everyone of you for your prayers, encouragement, support, food, gifts, help, and love during the many transition periods since our wedding. As some of you know, we haven’t finished getting our wedding thank you cards mailed, and I apologize for that. In my defense, the document I had it all compiled on disappeared when my computer hard drive failed a year ago, and miraculously appeared late this Spring amongst other files on my backup drive.  Please know that you each have our deepest heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your wedding gifts and each has been put to good use in our home. Please accept this note in lieu of a separate card.
Looking forward to 2017, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we know that God has everything in control, and we’re really enjoying living life day by day, trusting God, and asking for Him to continue enlarging our borders and blessing us how He sees fit (1 Chronicles 4:10).

May God bless you as you seek to know and serve Him more in this coming year!
Alex, Sarah, and Alexander Henkoski

"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."
- 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 -

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Son Is Born

It has been WAYYY too long since I've posted anything (despite my starting this post in late March!)... so first things first. The newest addition to our family:
Alexander David Henkoski arrived 2 months early on February 3rd, 2016, weighing 4 lbs 2 oz, measuring 17 3/4" long with a 29cm head circumference. My labor was completely unexpected and happened so fast that is was easy to just roll with it. Unfortunately, it was so fast that the steroid shot didn't have any time to take effect and mature his lungs, so their continuing development was his biggest struggle in the NICU. So much so, that we ended up transporting him to Deaconess in Spokane when he was 2 days old on the ventilator. I'll let the pictures tell the story:
Our last maternity photo before he came
Waiting in the Kootenai ER
Why did he come early you ask? Well, we got in a car accident in early January by hitting a downed moose (the car in front of us hit it with their roof rack). After our car sailed through the air, it skid on its side (my side) for a total of 110 yards, making the side mirror come through the window and breaking my arm in the process.
My arm one week after the accident
To the best of our knowledge, although baby seemed fine during the ER checkup (I was 29 weeks pregnant at the time), I sustained a hidden seat belt injury over my placental site. 3 1/2 weeks later, my placenta started detaching (partial-placental abruption) which sent me into sudden premature labor. Praise God, my body prepared fast, and although I was hemorrhaging and his heart rate was quickly decelerating, he was born alive and well.
Praise God, I got my cast off the DAY before he was born!!! And although I was supposed to wear a bulky splint for another 3 weeks...well, that got quickly scrapped. ;)
My best friend - the Birth Ball
Taking details with my awesome Doc and Nurse
Part of my labor team (Jordan and Terri not shown) 
After a 5 hour labor, and 10 minutes of pushing, "Baby Boy Henkoski" was born. Even before they said that he was a son, I saw, and in that moment, everything was so worth it...We had a son. Someone to carry on our name!
Dr. Kimberly Judd was our Neonatologist, and an awesome one at that! This was my first real good view of him.
I got to hold him on my chest for a few seconds and kiss him before they whisked him away to the NICU with Daddy following.
My calm in the storm. My shady oak tree. My beloved husband, who has always been there for me--leading me closer to God.
First real photo
He's always liked his hands next to his face!! Even at the 14 week ultrasound.
For his size, his hands and feet were so long and big...they nicknamed him Puppy at Deaconess. 
MY son.
"Daddy & Me"

Later that day, they wheeled me in to see him..oh, touching him never felt so good! 
I got to swab his mouth out with colostrum...really be a mommy, you know... ;)
Papa came with "Wise Old Owl" flowers and got to lay hands on his first grandson too...and a prouder Grandpa, I've never seen! (Well, except Alex's dad--they were pretty comparable ;) )
 When I laid my hands on him for the second time that day, he knew it was me, and when I tried to leave, he cried until I put my hand back on him--twice. I cried...
 Bed has never felt so good. Kootenai's food and staff are awesome too... Selah was the first to visit me and bring me a baby gift.
On the 2nd day of Motherhood....
Oh, so tiny!
Kootenai NICU
My cousin Britney who was in this same room 5 months before with her Preemie came to visit with my Grandma, and that was so precious time spent!
We were told with his lung issues that Day 3 is the worst, and sure enough it was...bad enough that he scared the doctors, and had to go on the ventilator...which meant that at 4am, we transferred him to Deaconess. Bye bye home. Bye bye being able to stay down like I'm supposed to for the first 2 weeks (which I desperately needed with my other birth complications,loss of blood, and anemia).
He was a 'very sick baby', but I was sure he'd make it...I just wasn't sure when we'd get back home.. ;)

Under the Bili Light for his Jaundice...
Size difference (He was 3 lbs. something here....)
First real family photo!
He has his daddy wrapped around his finger!

4 days old, and back on the CPAP! Looking pretty comfortable....
This was my first time "holding" him!!!! (Even if it was just for a weight check!)
My very first time holding him
Daddy's first time holding him on his birthday!!
My Mom and Grandma
His very first outfit--that's a Newborn Shirt folks! (He really wore Preemie clothes, they just got the wrong one. ;) )
My mom and dear Oma
Finally, after 6 weeks, he came home on St. Patrick's Day - March 17th. What a joy it is to have him home! He is such a happy baby! He is an easy keeper, and only wakes up to nurse once at night, and loves to talk. He is also extremely expressive and tactile. Lots of facial expressions and hand motions. He's pretty determined too. (written back in March, I'm sorry!)
Green for St Patrick's day--and then his first blowout. ;)
Home, Sweet Home!!!
Welcome home baby Alexander David!!! We thank God daily for giving us the precious gift that you are!