Cow Comfort December 18 2014, 5 Comments
While I was pregnant for Bryer, we knew the baby would need a blanket. Well, obviously. But, I'm not just talking about any blanket. See, Remy has Giraffe and Sander has Tiger. They are made by Angel Dear. A super soft and so darn cute extra layer of love. We wrapped Remy in it, tucked it under her arm and covered her in the carseat with Giraffe. She developed a sweet and binding relationship with that blanket. So that's what we did with Sander and Tiger. Same result, maybe even a touch deeper with those two! These blankets are like additions to the family and completely necessary to their physical and emotional well-being. No exaggeration. My kids never took a paci. But, these blankets…oh boy, these blankets.
So it was a big deal what he would get. But, it wasn't until the day he was born that it was decided upon, and not necessarily by me. I think I gave a few ideas; however, Aunt Kari came to visit and brought us a package. It was Cow, the big, full blanket in all its soft and spotted glory. Ahh, I immediately fell in love with him and I knew Bryer would too. Not so coincidentally, I choose to believe divinely, my cousin Tarah came to visit later. She also had a gift. A smaller one. I opened it and to my delight and surprise, it was another Cow, but a little one. She didn't know we'd received Big Cow earlier. Little did we know how much we would need both Big and Little Cow over the course of the next 10 months 26 and beyond days. But God knew, didn't He? :)
And so Bryer and Cow's friendship began in the NICU at St. Ann's hospital.
Cow was a constant. Even more so than Justin or I. After all, more nights than not, we had to leave him. But Cow never left. Nope. Maybe one would travel home with us for a wash, but Big or Little, Bryer always had one or the other. He was either wrapped up in spotted affection, Big Cow's head nuzzled right between his chin and neck. Or, Little Cow was tucked under his arm with his little head pressed into Bryer's cheek or lips as if to say, "MOO-wah."
Bryer's brain did not work as it should have from the beginning causing many of his issues, and it only got worse as time went on. We knew he could see, but never knew how well. He could hear normally in the beginning, but for one reason or another (that might be for another post) that declined. For many months, he didn't even have the pleasure of eating by mouth and tasting food.
Oh, but he could FEEL.
If only you could have seen his face during a warm and soapy hair wash…or saw how he'd melt into my hands during a massage…or how he calmed when his rear-end was firmly pat…or saw him completely soothed during our skin-to-skin time or when I'd run my fingers through his hair over and over and over. You can imagine and now grasp how and why Cow became so significant to him. A true blue 'er moo companion. A constant, familiar and oh so velvety touch. Of course I always tried to leave my scent on Cow in hopes Bryer would think I was still there with him…. even when I was in bed 35 minutes away:(
And because I knew all of the above to be true. Cow comforted me too.
And now, Cow comforts Remy, who has all but traded Giraffe for him.
It's in this spirit, we wanted to give each baby in the Nationwide Children's Hospital NICU a Little Cow. Some Cow Comfort. Some moo-re love. Some Cow kisses from us to you, "Moo-wah!"
But it gets better... I hope you'll keep reading!
For the 2nd year in a row, Bryer's Song has sold T-shirts leading up to and then after The Columbus Marathon. The first year, we took all of the proceeds and put it towards the rest of the fundraising efforts that went directly to NCH NICU. This year, we wanted to do something a little different. We again raised money in conjunction with The Columbus Marathon which was something to the tune of $16,000! THANK YOU TEAM BRYER'S SONG!!
But, this year, the proceeds from the shirts sold would be earmarked for uplifting, encouraging and supporting medically fragile children and their families at Nationwide Children's Hospital. We would decide who, what & when. Exciting, but also not something we take lightly. We wanted to use this gift wisely and for the most impact. We had been tossing around the Cow idea OR sponsoring a select few families. We were really torn as to which direction to go.
So I asked Justin….I asked my Mom…. I asked close friends and family. And above all, I asked God. I was leaning towards the Cows, so I started checking into some of the details. I decided to reach out via email to Angel Dear in hopes I could possibly buy the cows through them at wholesale price. So, I typed up an email with a little bit of our story…the what and why…and included a link to our blog and FB page.
The next day, I received the kindest response from Kim at Angel Dear. She passed along her sympathy regarding our loss of Bryer and said she had jumped on our FB page and saw the video of me running The Columbus Marathon with Little Cow tucked into my shirt. She then went on to say, "We'd be honored to DONATE 112 Cow blankies in honor of your son, Bryer". What?!?!
God answered and said, "No reason to choose, Dear. Do both!"
This sweet wink from Him said, "I'm still right here in this with you."
So if you happen to be reading this within the walls of the NICU, navigating your way through those very deep and unchartered waters, receive this as a message to your heart as well, "God is with you!"
I pray you will be wrapped in the light of His Presence and that His Peace and the Hope only He can provide would take up residence in your heart on this journey and forevermore.
I pray this over you, Mommy, skin-to-skin with your delicate little someone whose climb seems so steep.
I pray this over you, Daddy, trying to hold it all together, just wanting to fix it.
I pray this over you Grandmas and Grandpas, who carry the heaviness of a double ache.
And oh sweet precious baby, I am praying for you too.
This season is to celebrate and remember: Emmanuel, God with us! This is the essence of Christmas! I pray this truth fills your heart with comfort.
Katie Kibler on December 20 2014 at 03:00AM
Though I have a thorough respect for animals, going forward I have a new found respect for cows. Going to keep Angel Dear cows on my radar for baby gifts.
Gwendolyn on December 18 2014 at 09:47PM
Your beautiful story, prayful heart and love for your children is inspiring. From one past nicu mommy, it is those stolen moments when you have one glimpse of your baby without the tubes, tests and alarms doing something baby-like that melts your heart. Clutching or nuzzling a lovey like this will bring so much joy to so many families and babies. May God bless your family the same way you blessed your son and others. Merry Christmas!
Cheri on December 18 2014 at 05:03PM
Carey, as always, you bring tears to my eyes and wonder to my heart. May God continue to shower you and yours with his love and blessings.
Shelly Falkenberg Barr on December 18 2014 at 04:04PM
Carey, this is beautiful & so so awesome! God is good! I think about your family so often & pray. Merry Christmas & Love to you & your whole family – & your sweet Bryer who is celebrating with Jesus!
Lia on December 18 2014 at 03:03PM
You truly have a way with words, Carey. I have so enjoyed getting to know you, meeting your beautiful children, and learning all about Bryer and his journey. What a special blessing to have been able to give a piece of him to so many other sweet babies – and their families too! Much love to the Largents this Christmas season.