Here’s the 411: Our Life Updates

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This is a podcast episode titled, Here’s the 411: Our Life Updates. The summary for this episode is: <p>This is a special episode! Today, we are getting real and personal as we share our life updates with you. You are going to get the raw details of what it looked like as we navigated sickness, ICU hospital visits, new babies and potentially life altering scares with our kiddos…and we could not have made it out on the other side without our community and Christ. Join us as we reflect on our challenges over the past few months, what we are still learning today and what God is continuing to teach us.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Craving more from Going There the Podcast?</strong> Come be our friend! Make sure you’re following along on Instagram <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">@goingtherethepodcast</a> and subscribe to our podcast so that you never miss a new episode!</p><p><br></p><p>If you love what you heard, we’d be so happy if you left us a rating and review on your podcast app. This way, more people can find us and join our fun convo!</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Key Takeaways:</strong></p><p>04:32&nbsp;-&nbsp;08:15 Samantha's adoption with her son James</p><p>17:53&nbsp;-&nbsp;24:37 Chaos a week before baby James is due</p><p>25:41&nbsp;-&nbsp;30:41 Surviving the hard times with God and community</p><p>34:04&nbsp;-&nbsp;39:18 Catching up with Christian</p>

Samantha: Let's get real.

Christian: Who wants to have another surface level conversation?

Samantha: Not us. I'm Samantha.

Christian: And I'm Christian, two friends having raw but truth filled conversations about the messiness of life.

Samantha: So buckle up and don't be shy.

Christian: Because yeah, we're going there.

Samantha: We're going there.

Christian: All right. Here we are.

Samantha: I don't even know how to start this. We haven't done this in so long.

Christian: I know. Guys, we don't even know where to start. Well, we are here today.

Samantha: Going there is done. I'm just kidding.

Christian: Stop.

Samantha: No.

Christian: Just kidding.

Samantha: Just kidding.

Christian: Guys, we are back. Just to be honest, we have told you guys this before we both like record some episodes, and so we've not recorded in a while now. We are excited.

Samantha: A month. And a lot's happened in the past month.

Christian: A lot has happened. I don't even know where to start. Guys, we are sitting right now in Samantha's family room, and Tracy, her mother is here and-

Samantha: She's bouncing up my son. So if you hear little baby noises.

Christian: Yeah, Samantha now has a son.

Samantha: Crazy.

Christian: His name is-

Samantha: James Edward. James Edward Miller.

Christian: He's very sweet. He's very sweet.

Samantha: So much has happened in the last month of our adoption process. I haven't really shared a ton about our adoption process this time, because I wanted to wait until it was over. But over the last year, I've had so many people ask about my adoption with my daughter and what has transpired in this last month in my life. Really, I want to share it. Not because of like, okay, this is what we're going through. You feel bad for me. Please actually that's my worst nightmare, but more just like, wow, God has worked so much through this time and I want people to know that when you're facing hard things that feel impossible, God really does pull you through. It can be so hard to imagine like, okay, what would I do if I was in that situation? I don't know. I mean, there's worse things that can happen. I think about, we've talked about a spouse dying suddenly or losing a child in just these horrible events that it's like, I couldn't get through that. But when you are united with Jesus and have a relationship with Him and are walking with Him, He sustains in ways that you couldn't imagine.

Christian: It's incredible even just as we sit here because Samantha and I were joking, we see a lot of each other normally, and we've not seen each other a lot because we're like, oh wow, life is just happening and it's feeling so much. So much of the world right now is feeling really heavy and really hard. And when you just felt that-

Samantha: When it rains, it pours.

Christian: We have felt that personally. And so, we just wanted to take some time to honestly reflect again, not in a way to just talk about ourselves, but in a way to honestly share what we're learning and what God's teaching us. Just in ways that we are being challenged and aren't growing, I wouldn't even say right now either of us are on the other side of what we've been dealing with the past month.

Samantha: It may have a part two in six months.

Christian: But we are just excited to unpack that a bit. So, going back-

Samantha: I love when people share. Especially now with our audience, we're so thankful for new listeners we've had over the last few months. I love hearing from... Maybe it's the nosy human nature in all us, but I like hearing people's details in their life and hopefully it makes you feel connected. If you saw me in a coffee shop and we sat down for coffee, I would be sharing all of this. And so, there's obviously details, especially with our adoption that I'll leave out just because that's for my personal community and family and for my son to share one day or for my daughter, if I talk about her. But other than that, I feel like I'm such an open book that I'm like, I wouldn't want to hear this.

Christian: Yeah, me too.

Samantha: You do? crosstalk

Christian: You know what's so weird? I'm actually sitting here. I'm like, gosh, why am I feeling nervous now? I think it's because one way I've grown over the past couple of years is I used to want to process everything and want to figure everything out before I would talk about it. I think that's a way where honestly the devil works in my mind and in places that are not shared with other people, in ways to just produce lies and things that aren't true about maybe who God is or who I am and who God made me to be, or the situation that I'm in. So I think I'm a little nervous right now because I'm like, shoot, I have not come to peace by all of these things. Or I'm not in this place that I'm like, oh, we've conquered this, or it's done, or I did that perfectly. Or wow, I didn't do it perfectly, but these are all the lessons I've learned. I've not found out all of those lessons yet. So I'm like, shoot, but I can share some of them.

Samantha: I think there are times in my life where I have wanted to have things a little bit more processed, because maybe I'm not emotionally in a place to share, but I do feel like I can at least share the story and the details because I think it's kind of like, I mean, if anything it's probably entertaining of what's happened. But I don't know what do you-

Christian: I know I feel like you have to go back.

Samantha: I know.

Christian: You should go first.

Samantha: Really?

Christian: Yeah.

Samantha: Okay.

Christian: You tell the fun stuff.

Samantha: Well, you can jump in with your stuff too because some stuff happens crosstalk

Christian: Share adoption stuff with James.

Samantha: Okay. So we adopted our daughter four years ago. Hopefully this won't be too long. I would've started the adoption process again right away. And we can talk about, I think we should have a whole another episode about my kind of infertility journey and our losses and things like that. I know I've mentioned some before. But anyways, we felt ready to adopt again probably last spring. If you know anything about adoption, you probably know it's really long and hard. I feel like our stories have actually been relatively quick. But our daughter was like super fast. We went through our home study. If you don't know what that is, it's just with legal social workers. You have to be very prepared. You have to be interviewed and go through this very long process. It takes about three months. And so, we had done that last summer with our daughter. When we had finished that, we matched, which means a birth mother chose us to be a parent pretty quickly. And so, I didn't know what would happen this time. We were kind of coming out of COVID and I had heard that adoptions were a lot slower. So we were active. Was it October that we were active this year?

Christian: I thought it was September.

Samantha: Maybe September. Again, it was like from the day we were active with Emerson, it was 12 days and we were matched, and then it was three months of a pregnancy left. And so, this time it wasn't happening right away and we actually weren't presenting our situation. Basically when you adopt domestic infant adoption, you make a profile book. It's basically like a scrapbook, like a Shutterfly book of your family. And it's so weird because you're talking about yourself and what you like to do. I mean, I have pictures of our friends and our family.

Christian: Hobbies and fun.

Samantha: Hobbies and everything in it. An expected mom who is deciding to place their child for adoption would then kind of-

Christian: Be presented these.

Samantha: presented these books and that's how they choose a family. Then for the most part, especially nowadays, most adoptions are at least semi- open or open, then you would be able to connect once they chose you and have a relationship. One of the hard parts of adoption, but I feel very passionate that is obviously right and so good in the end of things, is that you can match and know that you are possibly going to have a baby, but until papers are signed after the baby is born and it's different depending on each state, the expected mom is the mother of the child. And so, we have a lot of friends who have walked through times where they've spent time with their, who they think is going to be their baby. Then people just think that's crazy, but it's like, no, that's their baby until papers are signed. It just, it can be very hard. And so, our daughter's adoption had just gone really, really seamlessly. We have a really cool relationship with her birth mom. I was just expecting this to be really hard for some reason. But I don't know, this fall, don't you feel like I got numb to it. I was just like, okay, it's not happening yet, but I'm not feeling rushed.

Christian: I felt like every month you and Justin would both be like, oh, it's just not time yet. And we were all like, oh wait, I mean, we threw a shower for you back in November. We were ready because it had happened so fast with Emerson. We were like, oh, it could be any day. And you're like, no, I don't really feel like it this time. I think it's going to be a while. So every month and you guys were kind of content. You had a lot of plans laid out.

Samantha: We had fun trips coming in. I honestly, people would ask me, are you really okay? And I'm like, I think it's God, but I felt this weird, weird piece about, yeah, I had wanted it to happen so quickly and I had wanted our kids to be closer together in age and all the things that I knew Emerson was turning four in January and all the ideal things. But I just felt so calm about it. I'm like, I don't know. I just feel like I'm not worried about it. So I was just living life. We didn't really present too many situations and we were just going about life, and then this April... Wait, when was that? What day was it?

Christian: It was literally I looked at the calendar. It was, I think, April 22nd or something.

Samantha: So the woman who had done our home study from Kansas City.

Christian: It was April 21st when you guys matched.

Samantha: April... how do you know that?

Christian: Because I remember it was the Thursday of that work week and we had under two weeks.

Samantha: Yeah, it was a Thursday.

Christian: I already spilled some of the story.

Samantha: That's okay.

Christian: I'm sorry about it.

Samantha: You really took my Christian do anyway. So, I was not expecting anything, had a bunch of traveling and fun trips coming up. And not that that would change anything if we got a call about a baby, but-

Christian: Yes, that sounded really surface level when I said that earlier. I was like, you had a lot of plans and stuff.

Samantha: Well, we did have these.

Christian: Obviously those would pause.

Samantha: But actually things had picked up a little bit. We were seeing more situations. I was feeling like a little bit more hopeful and I kind of like in my mind was like, okay, this summer is when I'm going to really buckle down and apply to a few more agencies and work with some different people. But I was like, I'll wait till this summer. We got a call from this woman, Susan, who did our home study. We were not working with her agency in Kansas City. We were working with some out- of- state agencies. Our daughter was born in Florida. Again, I personally can share more information about those kind of choices and things if you ever want to reach out. But she had reached out and said that there was a expectant mom and she wanted to ask Justin and I. She had no idea if we were even matched already. This woman literally had this-

Christian: This was Tuesday, April 12th.

Samantha: How do you know this?

Christian: Because it was the Tuesday prior and then I remember the whole timeline.

Samantha: Mom, would you even know this?

Christian: I just remember it because we were flabbergasted at the timeline.

Samantha: Yeah, it's crazy.

Christian: You got to get perspective here. It was April 12th and they get a call and they're like, would you guys be open to this?

Samantha: Yes.

Christian: From sweet little Susan. We love you.

Samantha: Yes. I love Susan. And so then, my husband and I had actually received a situation for the first time in months that we also were considering presenting to that would be like a more just traditional, time wise, longer match in the pregnancy, further out from the due date. She told us the due date and it was... so this was April 12th and the due date was May 4th. We just felt so much peace about the situation. Something that was unique about the situation is that James's birth mom is a Ugandan refugee living in Kansas City. It just was such a different situation to us and it was happening so quickly, and we were just like... I mean, all of our friends, we were just in shock. Oh, and she only speaks Swahili. And so we're like, okay, this is just so different. We have this really open relationship with our daughter's birth mom. We text and we go on visits and all these things. And so I'm like, okay. But Justin and I took a day or so to pray about it. He came to me and was like, I have not felt good about any situation the almost past year. But I feel really, really good about this. And so, we presented our book to her and then we found out we matched. I got an email. I thought I would get a phone call because that's how it had happened before. But I was in my-

Christian: She was casually sitting at work.

Samantha: I was in my office at work and I felt really good about presenting, but I mean, oh my gosh.

Christian: We had just eaten Jimmy John's some sandwiches and some vinegar chips.

Samantha: We had eaten Jimmy John's and I flipped around to my two coworkers that were in my office. There's usually five of us. A shout out to Anna, Lyn, and Celia. I was like, guys, I haven't even told you this, but we presented last week and I just found out we're getting a-

Christian: No, you presented that morning.

Samantha: Yeah. We presented that morning.

Christian: You're getting this all wrong.

Samantha: Sorry, Christian. I've been through a lot.

Christian: Yeah, you're getting this all wrong.

Samantha: Okay, sorry.

Christian: And I thought you didn't know the due date until you were matched.

Samantha: We knew the due date. We were originally told May 7th and then they changed it.

Christian: Oh, yes.

Samantha: They moved it up.

Christian: So guys, April 12th, we're all like, oh my gosh.

Samantha: We didn't know the gender. We didn't know the gender. So I whipped around, I hadn't even told anyone in my office I was presenting yet. Only my close friends and fam. Well, mom, I didn't even tell you until a couple days later because I was just like weird. I mean, I told you I was presenting, but not until... No, I told you that day.

Christian: Tracy's feelings are hurt.

Samantha: No. I told you the day that we matched, right?

Speaker 3: inaudible.

Samantha: No, because I didn't want to get out of the line.

Christian: She didn't want to get your hopes up.

Samantha: We didn't tell many people.

Christian: You were like, I don't want to get her hopes up.

Samantha: Then I told you and you were in Walmart. A funny story about when I found out though, I whipped my chair around and told my two coworkers that, and then Christian's office is down the hall from mine at work. I literally went around.

Christian: Oh, gosh.

Samantha: I hadn't told my husband or anything. I go, oh my gosh, I'm going to go tell Christian. And I was like, wait, I should probably tell my husband first. That was funny.

Christian: Oh, too good.

Samantha: No, it's funny.

Christian: Too good. We were just so invested.

Samantha: That was a really exciting day. Then we were just in this whirlwind of like, oh my gosh, we're about to have a baby. I went from being so content that this is not going to happen for a while, to I'm about to have a baby in really what we thought was two weeks, because-

Christian: Under two weeks. A week and a half at that point.

Samantha: We were told that she would probably go any day. When we got the email that we were matched, they basically said pack a bag. So our life just flipped upside down. My husband and I had a trip planned to Arizona and we were like, okay, let's still take it. My mom was keeping our daughter. This is getting very last ride. We were ready though. We're like, we might have to fly back. So this is late, late April. We're figuring all this out. I'm saying like, okay, I'm going to be leaving work. All these things. I mean, guys, I had Emerson's old crib and I had a new glider sitting in an empty room. I had nothing else. Everyone should be impressed with what I put together.

Christian: Guys, to be honest, Samantha can sometimes be dramatic about things. She kept saying, I literally have nothing. I literally have nothing. I mean, my house is a disaster. Guys, her house is never a disaster. One day I came over here and I was like, oh.

Samantha: I said I need your help. I asked two friends. I was like, I would never say this, but I need someone to come help me.

Christian: I came over and I was like, oh, you're not kidding. You actually have nothing. The nursery.

Samantha: I had stuff in boxes.

Christian: You did.

Samantha: People had given us.

Christian: It was just filled with boxes and filled with laundry baskets with stuff. But it was like what you would just have, like all of us have, an extra space in our house somewhere where we just throw stuff. It was literally that.

Samantha: Like a guest room or something.

Christian: And I was like, oh wow. You are.

Samantha: I needed to get a fan put in. I mean, a lot.

Christian: They don't use the nursery, but you had no organization. We didn't have diapers.

Samantha: No, I didn't have diapers.

Christian: Really.

Samantha: I didn't have clothes for a boy. I mean, it was chaos.

Christian: It was pretty bad.

Samantha: And so, even for them just watching it all unfold was so fun. It was fun that obviously our close community knew, but it was just fun to have this giant thing happening in my life that was like, oh my gosh, no one knows about this. This is so weird. So we go on our trip, Justin and I, and it's really fun. We had no name. The week before we got the chance to meet the expectant mom, James' birth mom now, the language barrier is extremely intense. It was so cool though, to just get to meet her and see how like, well, even though you cannot speak any word that I can, I learned jumbo, which is like, hello.

Christian: Oh, there you go.

Samantha: There's a few other words I learned, but I'm forgetting them now. But it was cool to still have the connection. A smile is a smile. Just like the ways that we were able to connect. On that visit, we learned that we were having a boy, which was so exciting. I really thought we'd have another girl.

Christian: That was so exciting.

Samantha: That was fun.

Christian: You just sent a bunch of blue hearts.

Samantha: It was fun. And we got to see my parents that day and surprised them. It was really fun. But so we went on our trip. We had no name picked out. We were just the talk of the trip. We were with some of Justin's coworkers and we were all like, I was like, guys, I need a name. I don't have a single name. So this whole time, we're just planning for this baby to be born literally any second. So we come back from Arizona. What day was that? When was that?

Christian: And he still wasn't born, so we were all on edge. Every day we're like-

Samantha: Every day is could be today.

Christian: Is she going into labor yet? Is she going into labor yet?

Samantha: Obviously it's not my body, and so it's like, I don't know the labor science, and again, language barrier. We weren't texting. I wasn't able to check in with her on how she was feeling.

Christian: You didn't get updates quickly.

Samantha: No. We were just really expecting it to happen soon. We go on our trip. We come back from Arizona. We have this week where I had finished out my job a little bit, transitioned out, and I was just planning on literally having our bags packed, finishing up whatever I could get done. I mean, you guys should have seen, I should have taken a picture, the amount of boxes, my brother, my sweet brother came and stacked them. My whole dining room, you could not see through because I had to order basically a whole nursery. I didn't have to, but you want things to feel good. So I'm like, I'm going to work on all this stuff. Well, as that week goes on, I start having this weird hip pain. Because of my health, history and cancer in my past, I was like, I have an injury on my hip and I had been working out with this new trainer and we had been traveling, and let's face it, we're all at the age now when you're on an airplane for a long time, you hurt.

Christian: Makes you sound so old.

Samantha: And we had had like three canceled flights. But you know what I mean? When you're sitting on a hard airplane and your hips and back are tired. And so, and I had come back and done a really hard workout, and I'm like, okay. I just pulled a muscle. Just need to rest it and stretch it. So as the week goes on, I'm going crazy. I'm trying to get all this stuff done. My daughter's in school. Our friends are all like, what can we do, rallying around us? And as the week goes on, it just gets worse and worse.

Christian: You're literally like, could you guys pray for my hip? It's really bothering me.

Samantha: By Thursday, I had told my friends. I'm like, something's wrong with my hip, something's really wrong. I think I pulled something. Again, I was scared to tell my mom because she panics about things. I just thought I pulled something. By Friday of that week, again, this was the week before the due date, right? It's the week before the due date, so we're like getting close. I'm still thinking it's any second.

Christian: It was the Friday before the Wednesday.

Samantha: So I cannot put weight on my leg and I'm starting to get really concerned. My husband had been just giving me a hard time all week. Like, you're fine. Just stretch. Toughen up. At that point I was like, something's really wrong. So we had reached out to some orthopedic people and everyone's like, don't go to the ER, they're not going to do anything. This is a Friday. Let's wait till Monday. This orthopedic friend is like, we'll do an MRI on Monday. So I go to sleep that night. I wake up the next morning and I just look at Justin at 7: 00 AM. I'm like, you have to get me to the hospital. Something's really, really wrong. And so, we had another really sweet friend who talked Justin through, okay, maybe you should take her. Maybe I'm getting too much into the details. But I was really panicked. I was like, this is like, something's really wrong with my body.

Christian: Well, for someone who is really in tune health wise with their body, because so much has happened to you, I think you know when it's serious, when it's not. So when you look to Justin, you're like, no, I need you to take me to the hospital, he's like, okay.

Samantha: And one of the things they said is it could be a cancer recurrence. I've had a blood clot before. It could have been a blood clot. This doctor who's so kind and just spent so much time on the phone with Justin, a friend of a friend here in Columbia, was just so kind and was basically like, it could be a torn muscle, but it could be four other things that I'm really concerned about. I think you guys should go in. And so, I go to the hospital. And I'm just like, my mind's racing of what is happening. This baby could be literally born today. Justin's taking my daughter to soccer. We're trying to just make everything normal. I spend the whole day in the ER of them coming in and thinking like, we really think this could be your cancer coming back. I mean, it was really a scary day. We have no idea what's going on. And in my head, I feel like, I was like, okay, maybe I just really tore something. Finally, they came in and they're like, oh, we figured out what it is. You have an infection, but I think everything's fine. You wouldn't be septic or anything because you wouldn't be up talking right now. Well, as that happened, they took my temperature and they're like, oh, you have a 103 fever. This is not great. They come back in the room about an hour later and they're like, your infection is in your bloodstream. You're extremely sick and we have to immediately start antibiotics. It's funny because I keep joking with all my friends how worried you guys over. At the time, I was just like, okay, give me the antibiotics.

Christian: We were freaking out. We were freaking out.

Samantha: It was not ideal. Obviously, I've had so many health things in the past, but that's not something that I've ever had before. Long story short, they found out I had this septic infection that got in my body. Honestly, probably through just a strep without me knowing I had it, being a carrier for it, and my body being so stressed probably about this baby coming in, it settled into some scar tissue that I had in my low back. And so, that's why I wasn't able to walk. I want to like share little miracles because even the fact that if my hip had not... it's really my back, if my back had not been hurting like that, I would not have known to go to the hospital. I think I was probably ignoring that I was running a little bit of a fever throughout the week. I kind of felt weird, but I just thought my back hurt. All the things. So thank God I went in when I did. But I ended up spending six nights in the hospital, some time in ICU. Again, the whole time we're like, this woman is about to have my baby. What's going to happen? I actually had peace the whole time, but I think our whole family and friends are like, what are we going to do? But she held out and didn't have him. I got discharged from the hospital on a Friday and she had him. She was going to be induced with him that Sunday. So at that point, I was home, but I was not walking. I was not able to put any weight still. I really wasn't getting out of bed. I just remember, I mean, that being a very low moment of like, I don't know how I'm going to make it to Kansas City and meet my son. There was just a lot of weird emotions with that.

Christian: Let along get to Kansas City. We were all like, wait, what is this even going to look like? Can you go? Justin's going to baby appointments alone in Kansas City?

Samantha: Justin went to a baby appointment and was downplaying how sick I was honestly.

Christian: Your mom is coming up. Your mother- in- law is staying with you.

Samantha: My mother-in-law has my daughter.

Christian: You're in the ICU.

Samantha: I'm not seeing my daughter. But right before this time that her whole world is going to change and I'm missing dance recitals and soccer games and preparing for this baby. It was crazy. I just, I don't know, I had a peace in the hospital and I just felt like, I don't know how, but I just know this is going to be okay. I mean, not in my weak moments, no. But I would come back to that. There's so many lessons I want to jump back to, but it's just crazy. I mean, I had one friend that was like, should we rent you a minivan and lay down the back seats? I was like, I didn't know how-

Christian: You could have taken mine.

Samantha: Yeah, true. I could have taken your minivan.

Christian: Oh, my gosh. It's the reason I bought a van.

Samantha: So, we go in, and long story short, very long story short. There's so many other details about the adoption and just being in the hospital that are more private details that, a lot of ups and downs when you're just waiting for everything. We ended up spending another five nights in the hospital in Kansas City while he was born. She had to have a C- section unfortunately. And just the way that adoption works. So then it was like back in a hospital bed, not moving my body. I mean, my husband slept on a hospital bed basically for two and a half weeks straight. It's just not fun.

Christian: At this point you're on crutches.

Samantha: I'm on crutches.

Christian: It is rough for you to drive for two hours to Kansas City.

Samantha: I'm on intense, intense antibiotics.

Christian: You were vomiting from the medicine.

Samantha: Constantly.

Christian: Justin's trying to be like, can you just put down your crutches and limp over please?

Samantha: I can't.

Christian: Let's try to like look put together. You're like, I really can't move.

Samantha: It was so bad. My body's still fighting the infection. At one point in the hospital, my heart rate was constantly at 170.

Christian: It's terrifying.

Samantha: And it was getting down to 115 resting while I was in Kansas City. So I'm trying to like play it cool and not act like I'm dying. But I was taking my little, you know the finger thing?

Christian: Yeah, total oxygen meter.

Samantha: I'm constantly doing that. I'm being like, oh, dang, thank goodness we're in a hospital in case I go into cardiac arrest or something. But things were not good. I was taking a lot of Advil.

Christian: She's being really casual right now because Tracy's over here with her wide eyes. It was nerve wracking. It was a lot.

Samantha: It was hard.

Christian: It was crazy.

Samantha: And we were alone without family. And so anyways, we got out of the hospital and again, really cool lessons, even just with adoption. And if you ever want to talk about that personally, I'd be open. But we left the hospital, got to have family in Kansas City with us before we were able to come home, and still not doing great. But then, we've been home now for, how many weeks? A week? Less than. Today was a week we've been home.

Christian: Wow, it felt longer than that maybe.

Samantha: He was two weeks yesterday. I know, but I really will say I-

Christian: He is so cute, guys.

Samantha: He's so cute.

Christian: He's so cute.

Samantha: He's so sweet.

Christian: Well, make sure to post more pictures on our Instagram of him because he is really cute.

Samantha: I'll go back and share things I learned in this, but even this last week has been hard of like, I'm not recovered at all. I mean, I am every day I've gotten so much better. I got to go out and about today. But I think I'm just like, it's all hitting me of like, I was really sick. I'm still on a lot of medication. I still am battling an infection, so my body just feels so weak. Like I came out of sepsis. My body literally just went through battle and that's just been hard for me to not feel like I can jump up and be a normal mom. I mean, it's been so hard on my husband. He's missed so much work and has literally... I mean, he gets up with James every night. He'll hand him to me, but he has to be up and also taking care of our four- year old. We've had so many friends and our family help, but it's just been really crazy.

Christian: It's been a whirlwind.

Samantha: So here we are.

Christian: It's been a lot.

Samantha: Yeah, for real.

Christian: But honestly amazing in a lot of way.

Samantha: I think I share all of the details just because I want to point out a few things in it. I think first of all, I was reflecting on how, I was telling Christian, my quiet time and time with Jesus is really important to me in my daily life. We've talked about that so much. It's not to be annoying, but I was just thinking in the hospital. I wasn't sitting there opening my Bible. I was so sick. But in my weakest moments, I was so connected with God and able to cry out and feel such peace. I'm not saying that He would not show up like that if you're not already connected with Him, but it's almost like you can't try to get close and intimate with God when you're in the thick of the fire. Thankfully my disciplines had put me in a place when all this happened three weeks ago, four weeks ago, it was like God had prepared me. Because of my intentionality of like, no, I want to know you so deeply, that when you are going through these fire moments, He's there with you. I didn't feel like, oh my gosh, well, I haven't opened my Bible in a year. I haven't spoken to God, but now I need Him. It was like, no, we're doing this together. I know you're going to sustain me. I don't know how, and this feels really cruel and this feels really wrong, but why am I still feeling peace? I don't know. I just don't think I would've felt that if I hadn't had been in his word and consistently meeting with Him every day. I don't know.

Christian: Well, I think that was just so cool to walk alongside because as we are all just praying so urgently and just wanting answers and healing and protection of all these things, all of us did know that ultimately though God does have this under control and that doesn't just come from a happenstance of like, yeah. I mean, it's a blind faith of the way of like, yeah, we don't get to see day to day what God is doing. Maybe literally and in person, we don't get to touch and feel that, but we are so confident in that because we know Him intimately. Because we spend time with him. And so, that doesn't feel like a far away thing that we're just hoping in because we've never seen Him work or we've never seen His love or blessings in ways. We have seen those things and we're, we're intimately in tune and in relationship with him. That brings so much peace in the moment knowing ultimately it will all work out. It may not look like what we wanted it to be. I mean, you kept saying this feels like such cruel timing, but it'll be okay. And truly that was so true. This is not what any of us would've picked for you. It was terrible. But we knew that it would work out.

Samantha: And I don't think I would've seen, I want to share a few tiny things that I think if you're just living life, you would not call these miracles. But I really do believe they were, to the point where it was an infection, but it could have been much worse. I mean the whole day in the ER, they were saying cancer again. So that, for itself, is just crazy. The fact that his due date was May 4th and he was born May 16th, guys, like what?

Christian: It's insane.

Samantha: That's crazy. And they really thought she was going to go until they were actually early. That is insane that I was able to be there. Little things of nurses in the hospital at KU Med, where he was born that we knew from Columbia, sweet girl we knew. And just other people that came alongside us. Weirdly, our Airbnb, we had had to get one Airbnb. We weren't expecting to have to be in the hospital as long as we were. And so, we had to then get another Airbnb. We couldn't find a single Airbnb. I was searching constantly, randomly messaging people on Airbnb, found one house, but we were going to have to move out of an Airbnb, stay in a hotel one night, and then move into another one. With my daughter, because she wanted to come meet him, and a baby and all the things, we were like, oh gosh, that's going to be miserable. Randomly decided to message the host and was like, I know it says it's booked for Friday night, but is there any chance it's not. They message me back five minutes later. And they're like, actually someone tried to book that, but they never did payment so let me cancel that. You can have it. Did you even know that?

Christian: No, I did not know that. That's awesome.

Samantha: It's such a little thing, but just tiny little blessings that were just... I needed to be in physical therapy. I found this really cool physical therapy place in Kansas City with the nicest people that really helped me start being able to move my leg again. I mean just little tiny things that I'm like, those are miracles. I don't think if I wasn't in tune with God during that time, I wouldn't have seen them as that. They really propelled a lot of like hope for me because there were a lot of days that I was feeling very down. I mean even recently, a couple days ago. If you don't have those things to cling to, I really don't know where you have hope from. So that was something that was cool. Another thing is just community. I feel like it was on my heart with Jenny Allen's new book. We mentioned it a little bit about finding your people. But guys, the way that our community has stepped up. I mean, Christian literally sponge bathing me in the hospital. I mean just friends.

Christian: It's a moment to remember.

Samantha: So many people bringing meals, helping with my daughter. I mean, just checking in, praying. It's so important that you have community. I really don't know how we would do it. My parents had to come back and forth. My in- laws, people were supporting them. It's like, I really just don't know how you do things without community.

Christian: That's what we, I think I've mentioned this before, but my husband and I are from Kansas City and our family all the time is like, when are you guys going to move home? A large reason why we never want to leave here is our community because we just feel really at home with the people we have here. I don't even think... I mean, yes, I do think Columbia has great people, but I do think it takes a lot of work. We've talked about that before. Community doesn't just happen. It doesn't just come. I think it's just really cool to see people really show up for, not fun, not flashy things. It's like, no, we're just showing up to bring a meal, or we're just showing up to help clean your house. Or we're just showing up to do whatever. I think that's just so cool. And I think it also speaks to you. I know how hard it is for you to ask for help, and the number of times I've seen you ask for help because you're like-

Samantha: I have no option.

Christian: Yeah, you had no option. Honestly, what a beautiful thing that you have the ability to go to people and say, I need help doing this or I need help folding laundry. I just think, again, community is hard. It takes a lot of time. So if you're sitting in a place that you don't have that, it will take time. It won't just happen overnight. But feel encouraged that it feels like just so nice and what a peace. And we're meant to live in that. That you are not meant to do this alone. Justin's not meant to take care of the two kids alone. That it really does take a village and that's how God created it to be because we're better with people.

Samantha: And me. He's literally taking care of me too. It's been crazy, but no, that's true. I think the last lesson, I guess, is I'm still processing, but it is crazy how close and just at peace. I have felt in my relationship with God, and just how I would not trade anything that's happened in the last three weeks. Even though like two days ago I was texting my friends, asking for prayer because I was feeling really down and just having a pity party. But every time I'm in that really hard spot, if I can be vulnerable about it, I really feel God swooping and just say like: You're acting like I've forgotten about you. You're acting like, I didn't know this was going to happen. I literally planned every step of this. You're not going to see why, you don't understand it. But this is so ordained by me. If you would just trust that, it's going to be a lot easier. It's such a freeing feeling to have everything in your world being so out of control, but to feel so at peace because you have Jesus. That's all you have. I know it can sound weird to people that maybe don't understand that, but I just want everyone to have that same peace. And so if you anything, if you're battling anxiety, if you're struggling with a friendship conflict and it doesn't have to be a big thing like I'm talking about. You need Jesus. You have to have Him. I don't know how people do it without Him. That sounds so preach-y and Christian-y.

Christian: No, that is true.

Samantha: I just don't know how people do it without Him.

Christian: I think it's just so cool because I think what you're describing there is a freedom that's found in... I mean, I think a lot of us struggle with control and I think all of us want to clamp down on control of our lives or control of details or control of our kids or control of our schedules or whatever it may be. But I think ultimately when you find that there's so much freedom found in trusting your creator and the one who literally made everything, there's so much freedom found when just handing over control. The past month, our life has felt so chaotic and some stuff has happened with my daughter and my husband and all of these things.

Samantha: Yeah, share your updates.

Christian: But that's one of my biggest lessons I've learned is that I kept swinging from these pendulums of really wanting all control. I literally felt like my wrists or my hands grasping and just wanting all control. And the next minute I would be like, no, no, no. I'm so thankful, God. Thank you for loving her more than I love her. Thank you for caring for her more than I could ever do for her. And so, yeah, around at the same time that Samantha... honestly, right after you got matched, it was that Saturday. My husband and I just had a really scary thing with our daughter happen and, long story short, she broke out in this what's called like petechiae. Your capillaries are exploding underneath your skin. It's like these red dots all over her body. She is a really sensitive girl and she constantly has skin breakouts, so it wasn't that weird when we saw the first few, and then it turned into a bunch more and she started immediately bruising. I'm loading her into her car seat and she's bruising to the touch. It seemed really weird, kind of off. We took her to the pediatric doctor we go to. She immediately was like, you need to go to the ER. You need blood work on her today, and I can't get that to you. So, we go to the ER. Long story short, it was pretty terrifying. We get admitted to the children's cancer and blood disorder unit at like university hospital here. And long story short, we find out that she has this blood disorder. ITP is what it's called. It's just low platelet counts in your body. A child's supposed to have like 150 to 400, 000, somewhere in that range, is the average. And we walked in and she was at 11,000. Then we did this treatment that essentially they're running vitals every two minutes, and then every 15 minutes. It's very sensitive. And so, we had this whole treatment for four hours in the middle of the night. Her platelet count drops down to 8, 000, so more doctors are coming in. Just talk about so much stress. I was just sitting there clinging to my daughter and going like what I'm describing, going through this whole pendulum swing of like, I want all the control, but oh my goodness, thank you, God that I don't have the control. It was just the weirdest 48 hours. Honestly, we were there for 48 hours and praise God that the treatment then worked and we got to leave and we think it's an isolated event. We're now going to weekly blood draws and we'll do that probably until November. A long time. And this could happen again, but they don't think it is anything to worry about. But when you are sitting there and they're like, well, yeah, we're watching out for childhood leukemia or watching out for these really scary things. And they're like, we can't rule those things out yet, but this is why we're going to team up and we're going to be in this together. It is just... So thankful for our medical team. So thankful for people who are really wise and thoughtful and just see things and are willing to, I don't know, just go to bat for your kid. But it was just one of those things, I really, I struggle with control in other areas of my life. Anyone who knows me knows that. But my children have never been one of those things. I don't know. That's just not something I really think about with my kids a lot. It was the first time that I was just like, oh my goodness, I just want this so badly. But I'm so thankful I don't have it. It was just one of those things we went, we left that season just feeling so emotionally drained and so physically drained, just like even from, it was really honestly felt like whiplash a lot. Everyone in like our community was like, wait, what the heck is happening? Everyone was really confused. We had people surround us and bring us meals for days. It was so nice just to feel completely surrounded by prayer and just tangible things as well. Then we walk into my husband pretty much just like having this freak, I don't know, even know how to describe it... this freak GI issue.

Samantha: I was going to say gastrointestinal still to be determined. Weird, you're just constantly feeling sick.

Christian: Constantly feeling sick, constantly just having major stomach pain. Pretty much just like he barely gets through a workday. Hasn't worked a full work week in a month. Finally, he is now on the mend. I'm coming to you on the better side. But for weeks, pretty much right after that instance we walked right into this, and for weeks, he barely got it through a workday and would come home and just fall asleep, and just be in so much pain. Stayed up many nights, just sleepless, trying to get through it. So it has been like a long month and we think we're finally getting answers of just his gut needing repaired and needing healing of different kinds. And so, we're working on that through diet changes and just some medicines. We've done a lot of CAT scans and scopes and all the things. But even in that, I think, I mean, we were just talking about this prior, but what God is currently teaching me is just how to live day to day not banking on being happy because my circumstances are happy, or being content because my life looks good. It sounds like such an elementary thing I should have learned, and I think I have learned this before, but God is just refining me in areas that maybe I carry idols in ways that I am happy when my life looks good or is easy or isn't hard. And being a single parent the past month where my husband is pretty much just sick every single night has been so rough.

Samantha: We keep joking that you should just put Andrew and I in a room, throw us some food and you and Justin just go at it. crosstalk

Christian: For real. I came over the other night and Justin and Samantha are arguing about the same thing my husband and I are arguing about. Because when one person is like, you could easily just say, not carrying your weight in the home, it just takes a toll. It is so easy to so quickly find just the fault in the other person. And so, my husband and I have grown a ton and it's not been easy and it's not been pretty. Even today I was sharing with a friend. I think if anything, it's really teaching me kind of what I said at the beginning of this podcast. That I think God's really showing me how to share ugly things with people that I'm not one. It's not a thing I consciously do. It's not a thing I try to fake. But I think it's really easy for me, I don't know, to just not talk about the hard things. Because I'm still figuring it out, or maybe someone doesn't know me well enough to understand when I say the ugly thing, but it's been-

Samantha: Or you're also someone who you can have a positive attitude, and so sometimes it's just like, yeah, I mean, life sucks, but I'm fine. Everything's good. I'm fine. I'm powering through. I'm making it happen.

Christian: Yes, maybe that's it. It's always, even just talking about perspective, I do always try to choose to have the hopeful perspective or the good perspective, because there is always something to be really happy about. And so, I'm not one to necessarily talk about just the hard thing. Or just I'm not one to walk into a work day and be like, eh, I'm just not feeling it today. I'm like, eh, I'll grit through. I will be fine. I just think God has so sweetly taught me, Christian it's okay to feel really broken. It's okay to not do this well right now. It's okay to say the hard thing. Because in that, I'm willing and like, or I'm making myself more willing for God to work in my life and say, no, you're actually, you don't have it all together. And it's okay, you don't, because I do. It's not about you. It's not about you having it all together, you having all the answers, or you having the energy. I mean, how many times did I text you Samantha, and I'm like, I need, can you please pray for energy and empathy? Those were my two things.

Samantha: And I'm like, yeah, can you pray that for my husband?

Christian: Energy and empathy, energy and empathy, because, and it sounds so dumb again... We were just saying other people are going through so many harder things. This is literally nowhere on any type of scale of hard things that we are going to walk through in life, I'm sure, and that other people have walked through. But just when it's so unexpected in your life and something that you were not planning for and something you wouldn't choose, it was just has been so hard. But again, God is just teaching me how to really just break down some walls that I didn't even probably know I had. But just really be willing to show the hard thing, and walk through the hard thing. Be stuck in the hard thing and say, this may be a while. I think even as you finished your story there, Samantha, I think part of the hardness is like, you are still on crutches. You are not well yet.

Samantha: We're sitting right here. Although I have been walking around a little.

Christian: She has been walking around. But I think that is a little bit like, this is not what you expected.

Samantha: It's not over.

Christian: For my husband, we are probably looking at a month of a really different type of lifestyle than what we live. And then months after that, as we make adjustments to what we figure out are working for him. That sounds so dumb, but it's just different. It's something we're not used to.

Samantha: It changes things.

Christian: And so, I think just being willing to show up and say, God, what do you have for me today? Because ultimately, no day is promised to us and it's a gift we get to live this. Just figuring out, what am I going to learn today, I think that's been such a valuable lesson that I've probably learned in my life, but I'm learning it again.

Samantha: I think one other thing I want to say, and then if we have any... I was like, do we have any really funny stories that have happened through all this? I mean, honestly, I'm sitting here like, wow, the devil is really trying to work in our lives. He was really trying to like stir some stuff. But I was just thinking, I just want people to grasp and it's so much easier said than done because no one would choose this if you got to just choose out of two options. But it's like, I really want young women, young wives, young girls, whoever is listening to this, to not be afraid of hard things in life. Because we're sitting here both talking about, I mean, our lives have been a disaster this last month and we can joke about it in a way, even though we're still both in it, like Christian just said. But my life truly feels so rich right now. I mean, again, I still have weak moments where I'm like, this is horrible. But when I really have perspective, I'm like, wow, life feels so rich. I'm getting to just I can't carry my baby, but I'm able to hold him and snuggle him. That's something that I will never, I wouldn't just be sitting here on the couch hour on hour just holding him. It's like, life is so good. Life is so rich. I'm seeing God work. I'm seeing God grow my four- year old. I'm seeing God grow my marriage, through really, really difficult circumstances. I know it'll be so much more rich. Why would I trade that? We cannot be afraid of hard things. I really believe when you were living, full- heartedly not perfectly like Christian and I are trying to express, we are not doing this perfectly, but God is going to bring you through hard things. He is going to test your faith. He's going to challenge you. He's going to push you. It's not out of cruelty. It's not out of spite. It's out of His love for us. It's out of Him wanting us to become more like him. I just think we live in a culture and a generation that would argue that's like, why would you want that for yourself in a world that preaches self care and that you should just have the best happiest life? That is not where richness is found. It's in these moments where we're sitting here together and saying, look at what we just went through today? I mean, we wouldn't have the same friendship we have. Our families have been stretched and had to sacrifice, and that grows us in ways we would never be able to if life is just always normal and perfect.

Christian: Amen to that. That's so good. I do think, I mean, I just love everything that Samantha just said. I think, too, it just taught me so much to live. Just how quickly I am to think about myself and think about my own circumstances. Just even, I mean, if you call yourself a Christian or not, even if the way that you live, just thinking of others before yourself, or thinking of how you are loving on other people and how you are just displaying God in your life every day. Because the moments that I had to look back and think, gosh, am I really wanting this for myself, or am I actually living to serve my husband better or to serve my family better or to just be a good employee at this time or whatever it may have been? And so, wherever that finds you today, I hope that's encouraging to you of just like some of the lessons we've learned, because it's been a lot. But we are excited. Maybe we'll report back here some time from now.

Samantha: If we learned some more things. There's been so many funny random things.

Christian: I can't think of any funny things. Have you fall down the stairs yet with your crutches?

Samantha: Almost, once. Then, that's an improvement. A week ago when I had been here in between going to Kansas City, I couldn't get up the stairs. My husband was basically had to carry me. But I was going to say, if you've ever thought Christian and I are cool, which I'm not saying you should, but if you've ever thought that, let me just tell you, the amount of times I've puked in public in the last weeks because of these antibiotics I'm on, and on myself. I mean, my mom had to go grab me a bag in the middle of KU Med where people are walking through.

Christian: Oh, I forgot about that story. That's fun.

Samantha: And while we were trying to get to my baby's weight check at four days, five days old, whatever. Puking on myself. You should have seen Justin. He was mortified. I'm like, sorry that I'm vomiting. Then, at my daughter's soccer game, just sitting in the car with vomit on me. If you think anything about me is cool, please know it's not.

Christian: Then, let's stop that. That's just embarrassing. No, I'm trying to think of anything funny. I can't think of anything funny off the top of my head.

Samantha: You and my sister sponge bathing me was like, hello?

Christian: Yeah, guys. We did sponge bath her. I literally had tears in my eyes because it was really sad, honestly. You were shaking. It was really nerve wracking.

Samantha: It was crazy.

Christian: But her lashes looked amazing. She got her lash right before you went to the hospital.

Samantha: I just had lashes done. That was the one thing going for me.

Christian: It was everyone kept saying. Wow, your lashes look so good.

Samantha: That was one thing going on.

Christian: I mean, Andrew and I joked that we think Callahan, our daughter, is going to look back on the time of our hospital visit, and we're going to be like, she's going to be like, can we go back to that trip? That vacation we just took? Because she literally had the time of her life. I think she was born to be an only child, and she's never been one because she's the second child.

Samantha: Second child. She will remember it.

Christian: I think she's going to look back. No, she won't. But she ate popsicles. She's riding on a wagon down the hospital thing.

Samantha: crosstalk.

Christian: I mean, she had a blast. So I'm like... Justin loved the hospital food.

Samantha: Justin made friends.

Christian: How many times he said that.

Samantha: It's funny because I've been in our marriage now. He did not grow up with any kind of health stuff. And so, that's been my whole life. I've been in the hospital a few times since we've been married. But truly, if you live in Columbia Missouri Boone Hospital, there's a lady that works, I think, I don't know, because I never left the freaking room, but there's a lady only to go to ICU and like MRIs. She works the cash register and he literally went and got chicken tenders. If you know my husband too, he eats...

Christian: So healthy.

Samantha: Does he not eat like psychotically clean and healthy and works out every day. He would go get chicken tenders every day. And on the last day, he went and said goodbye to her. When I was getting discharged, he was like, my wife's getting discharged, I won't see you anymore. She said to him, you are the most frequent customer, in all my 15 years of working here that I've ever had, and I'm thinking about your wife. I'm glad she's better.

Christian: You should have taken his cholesterol prior to walking in and after.

Samantha: That's true.

Christian: Or something. No guys, I was only at the hospital a few times when you were there and literally every time he had chicken tenders.

Samantha: It was very bizarre.

Christian: He couldn't stop talking about it. And still to this day, he talked about it the other day.

Samantha: I'm like, babe, you're very bizaare.

Christian: He said the the hospital food, the hospital food.

Samantha: I think it was just crosstalk

Christian: Can you go there and eat?

Samantha: Yeah.

Christian: Maybe you should just get him a gift card.

Samantha: Maybe. So his birthday's-

Christian: This father's day.

Samantha: True, true, true.

Christian: Oh, yeah. Justin, don't listen to this episode, then you'll know.

Samantha: If you have any questions about our crazy life. I hope you liked this. Maybe this is boring. I think it's probably entertaining because I hope that you might be... Well, I don't hope that you're experiencing hard things, but if you are, because we all are, I hope you could hear this and say, wow, their lives aren't put together. They're just trying to figure it out. It's still a mess. If you want to pray that I can get off crutches soon, that would be great. We're both appreciative for people that listen to this podcast that are in our real life that have prayed and reached out and just been thinking about us. We're excited for this summer and random things we want to talk about and more personal things. If you like this personal kind of episode of us just going into stuff, we have other opportunities to share things like this. We've always shied away from it, but if this is something you've liked, let us know because we'll do more of that.

Christian: And please do always share any prayer requests with us. I know we've said that before, but we would love to be praying for you guys too. So make sure just to DMS or email us to... you can do that.

Samantha: goingtherethepodcast @ gmail. com is our email.

Christian: So please do that because we'd love to be praying for you all. We hope that this is again encouraging to you in whatever hard thing you're going through. Because I'm sure it's something, we want to be low walking alongside you guys in that.

Samantha: Bye. Hey, thanks for going there with us.

Christian: If you loved what you heard, don't forget to follow along with us @goingtherethepodcast.

Samantha: And it also means so much to us if you subscribe to our podcast and shared it with a friend.

Christian: Talk to you soon.


This is a special episode! Today, we are getting real and personal as we share our life updates with you. You are going to get the raw details of what it looked like as we navigated sickness, ICU hospital visits, new babies and potentially life altering scares with our kiddos…and we could not have made it out on the other side without our community and Christ. Join us as we reflect on our challenges over the past few months, what we are still learning today and what God is continuing to teach us.

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