A year ago my world came to a halt as I unexpectedly lost my job and had to scramble to find a new one.
I wound up in retail where I thought I would only have to stay on seasonally until something better came along.
That didn’t happen because my husband then lost his job unexpectedly.
Honestly, things got ugly.
As you’ve seen, the only thing I’ve been able to write has been how I haven’t been writing.
This changes today!
This past year, I still managed to go to my monthly writing critique group despite not bringing anything since February. One of the other authors always talked about how she does most of her writing in a 5 minute time span each morning before she wakes her husband up.
5 minutes…that’s it!
She has managed to write a spectacular horror in 5 minutes a day.
I’ve been thinking if I could commit to AT LEAST 5 minutes a day I would feel much better.
So if anyone is out there reading this, please keep me accountable!
What do you do when these are your best friend’s words?
You cry, you pray, you get angry, you get hopeful, you lose hope, you scream, you sit silently…all in a span of a few seconds.
It has become my routine every time Michele messages me or I see a post from her. I hold my breath with anticipation, never knowing what kind of news I’ll be receiving.
I am honored to be in the inner circle of friends receiving updates on her precious daughter, Leah, but honestly it is hard.
To truly understand the scope of what Michele has been through we have to rewind seven years to her first birth. Her son was unresponsive with a five minute APGAR score of 1 and had a one week NICU stay.
Her second pregnancy was plagued with the onset of a suspected auto-immune disease that resulted in partial paralysis and chronic nerve pain. Her birth, which I had the privilege to be present at, was absolute perfection. I remember her saying how thankful she was for her first traumatic experience so she could truly appreciate her daughter’s birth.
Thankful. My mind was blown that those were her choice of words.
Along comes her third pregnancy; another son. Her health had improved compared to her previous pregnancy and everything seemed to be pointing towards another perfect birth, but several hours into labor a prolapsed cord occurred and an emergency cesarean had to be performed.
Certainly with that much “bad luck” the odds would be to have a healthy fourth pregnancy, right?
August 28th, 2017
Michele’s name scrolls across my phone screen as an incoming call.
I knew before I picked up something was wrong. I don’t think I even said hello.
“Baby is incompatible with life.”
If my world was crashing down hearing those words I don’t know how she was repeating them.
We talked for a while longer about how the recommendation was to terminate the pregnancy and how if she didn’t it was unlikely she would even carry her baby past 20 weeks.
“Is there a heartbeat?” I asked.
“Then there is hope and you need a second opinion.”
Second, third, and fourth opinions came. None were as definitive as the first which offered no hope, but none of them were great.
Down syndrome, congenital heart defect, and other possible complications were all in the mix now for her daughter.
The longest six months of pregnancy followed. By the time Michele was 38 weeks along, doctors had given baby Leah a 50/50 chance at surviving birth, but would be unable to determine the severity of her other health complications until after birth.
She not only survived, she thrived!
“February 17th 2018
Today God delivered the impossible.
Meet Amelia Marie Grace Eastin
Amelia meaning work of the Lord.
We will call her Leah because we love how she was unlikely in God’s plan and he made her central to the lineage of Christ over Rachel. Marie to have a piece of me and a bonus middle name cause shes already special so why not Grace. We will never forget that she certainly was not promised nor deserved nor earned but totally just a gift of grace.”
Blush Little Baby Photography
Blush Little Baby Photography
Blush Little Baby Photography
Even with a nearly 3 week NICU stay postpartum, she was the best case scenario given all her medical conditions. She would need open heart surgery in the upcoming months to repair her AVSD and would need to be tube fed due to poor muscle tone.
Once Leah was released from the hospital it was time to adjust to the family’s new normal. For most people this wouldn’t resemble anything like life before such a special arrival, but Michele is not like most.
She kept life going for her three older kiddos, which included homeschooling, keeping the house running while her husband traveled for work, made it to Leah’s specialist appointments multiple times a week, and decided to open A Pocket of Joy Boutique. Yes, in the midst of everything she decided it was the perfect time to open her own business.
There were moments of frustration and fear no doubt, but everything pointed to a miracle baby that would thrive beyond what anyone ever imagined. Then the bad news roller coaster started.
Days before her scheduled heart surgery Leah came down with a cold. What seems like nothing to you and I can be life threatening for a baby with heart defects.
Surgery bumped 6 weeks.
Days before the next surgery date she began showing signs of infantile spasms.
Surgery bumped 4 more weeks
Then another cold.
This one landed Leah in ICU, and catches us up to what they are battling now.
One thing after another.
Volatile blood pressures.
And yet she keeps fighting.
So what do you do when your best friend tells you, “we need something! Prayers. Miracle. New lungs. I DON’T KNOW!” ?
You write out her incredible story in your own words, words that don’t do her justice, and share it with the world.
Oh I have so many other words to say, so many emotions that flood my mind every time I think about different aspects of their story. For now this is the best I can do.
I ask that you keep the Eastin family in your thoughts and prayers in the upcoming days, weeks, months. This is going to be a long battle, but we’re not giving up hope.
Despite her reluctance to ask for help we know that is one of the only burdens those on the outside can help lift. If you feel led to help financially a GoFundMe has been set up, or you can message me for her PayPal email if you’d like to avoid donation fees.
A quick update:
My sequel to You Will Never Be Him has been sitting on the side for a bit due to some serious writer’s block.
My critique group suggested I take a break instead of forcing words onto the page. So I started working on another project and hoped that inspiration would strike.
I’m excited to say that as of this week I’m finally working on draft number two of I Will Never Be Her!
I’ve had a lot of readers asking when this next book will be out, and unfortunately I’m still nowhere close to having an answer to that question. I would LOVE to have it out this year, but life outside of writing is a *bit* chaotic right now to say the least.
Let me start by saying this is not a light or emotionally easy book to read. It is, however, powerful, gut wrenching, and thought provoking.
The story follows Sidney Shaw through a horrific senior year. Just when you think things can’t get worse for her, they do. The safety of her brothers and the far off thought that she may be able to escape her town for college are the only things that keep her going.
When the possibility of new support and friendship arises, Sidney’s defenses go up. She doesn’t want to admit she may not be as alone as she thinks.
I was shocked to read that this was the author, Kyla Stone‘s debut novel. She did an amazing job at portraying difficult subjects with enough detail to make me feel the emotion, but not too much graphic detail to where I couldn’t continue reading.
Prompt: A house plant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.
I thought we had a mutual understanding. You keep growing, I keep gloating.
For the last seven months I have received an odd satisfaction when I see your green leaves, knowing Liam was wrong when he said I was too irresponsible to keep even a plant alive. Some may say it’s ridiculous to always be posing for my selfies with you in the background, but my hope that he will see you thriving keeps the tradition going. You could very well be the most featured plant on Instagram. Isn’t that worth living for?
You were supposed to be a sturdy plant, an impossible to kill plant. This can’t be the only time in my life I achieve the impossible. So if you want to do a girl a solid and, you know, not die that would be great.
3/14/18 Prompt: You have a time machine, but it can only go back in time two days. What would you change?
By the look on Jana’s face as she opened to door to apartment 31, you’d have thought she’d seen a ghost. From her perspective, she was looking at a ghost.
“Oh good you’re still here. I need my phone charger,” Sadie said casually. She walked passed Jana who was still too stunned to react.
“You disappear for nearly two years and suddenly you’re back for your phone charger?”
“What are you talking about?” Sadie asked as she walked back towards Jana. “I was here yesterday. I just spent the night at Sam’s.”
“Sadie, stop messing around!” Jana’s voice was starting to tremble. “You left. You left last April. You ran off in the middle of the night, changed your number, deleted your Facebook. I thought you were dead!”
“You’re scaring me,” Sadie said as she realized her roommate of nearly four years wasn’t joking.
“You don’t really believe you were here yesterday do you?”
“You don’t really think I’ve been gone for two years do you?”
Jana couldn’t respond.
“Let’s call Kyle and—”
“Who is Kyle?”
“Sadie, I don’t have a boyfriend.”
3/7/18 Prompt: A houseplant is dying. Tell it why it needs to live.
Still unsure how the formatting will work best on this so bear with me as I experiment with different options each week!
Prompt: A man jumps from the 40th floor or a building. As he passes the 28th floor he hears a phone ring and regrets that he jumped. Why?
My response:His eyes closed softly and the wind blew freely through his hair. This is surely how birds feel while flying he thought to himself. A smile grew across his face as he realized this was the best he had felt in many years. Nothing could take this joy away; it would be the last thing he felt. The ground grew closer as he plummeted through the sky, but he was blissfully unaware. A familiar tune began to chime, his phone vibrated in his vest pocket, and his peace was disrupted. How is it that even in death the world can ruin my happiness? Anger grew inside him. His 5.64 second fall was coming to a close. He wanted so desperately to feel the weightless elation again but it was gone. He had chosen the wrong way to go and nothing could stop this last mistake.
Favorite Reader Response: @ittybittykitty on Instagram “He should of called his parents before he did that and said he loved them.”