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Heart of the Earth

So the past few days we have gotten a glimpse of what life with Leo might be all about. As newborns go, he is pretty much what parents would wish for. Sleeps through the night, doesn't cry too much, and is pretty happy to just hang out while the daily DuMoulin life ebbs and tides around him. He has also graduated to being a successful breastfeeder, which I am very grateful for! He made his debut visit to church on Sunday and was a model parishioner. Of course, I have been a parent long enough to know not to brag too much about this and that, since your kid will almost immediately prove you wrong. So enough of that.

Today Leo had the first visit from the VNH. After a phone call or two, they finally found their way to our cabin, and promptly helped me to shed any illusions and preconceived notions about what visiting nurses are like. They are really the backbone of our society, traveling through the little known circles of disability, real sickness and tragedy. Little known, because unless you are intimately connected to those three things, you wouldn't necessarily be aware of them. We go through life blatantly denying death and sickness, pretending that those things will never happen to us. However, when they do happen, (it's inevitable that they do) these angels dressed up as hardy VT nurses, with eyes who have seen it all, are there to help. For them, disabled children, and those as severely as Leo is, are still beautiful human beings that need to be treated respectfully and lovingly as possible. At the hospital, though the docs were fantastic, Leo to them was just a problem to be solved, not seen as the wonderful and purposeful being that he is. He was sent home as a hospice case, and they looked at us with pity. Better luck next time folks! These nurses, these noble hearts of the earth, look at us like we are normal parents of a precious baby boy who has a right to life just like any other one. These past weeks, through out all the emotions, and grief, I have felt like all the joys of having a new baby; all those silly stupid things like admiring your newborn, even saying "congratulations," have been stolen from me. His baptism, which should have happened with all the pomp and ceremony it deserved, happened in silence and alone in the operating room. His first communion, the night before his surgery, was washed down in tears. So when these earthy angels came and loved Leo for being a miracle of life, and as they were leaving, they said, "Congrats you guys, you have a beautiful son," I felt bits of my broken heart starting to knit together. Perhaps I can still reclaim those little joys as mine, and feel proud of this lion-heart that I helped bring into the world. The tears will always be there, the grief as sharp as knives, but at least I can look at my son and feel proud to be his mother.


  1. He is beautiful and I'm so glad you have him at home with you and that you have nurses that are there for all of you.

    If you are ever interested in a family photoshoot just let me know.

  2. Your words (and pictures) fill us to the very fibers of our beings with much joy and gratitude, dearest Anna. Leo is thriving under all that love you, Justin and Nika are giving him. No better way to celebrate his wonderful LIFE!
    "Fearfully and wonderfully made!"
    Love to you all...again and again.
    Kelley & the Barberg gang

  3. That is a beautiful wee face in the second photo.

  4. Your poignant posting makes me weep with joy. Congratulations!
    Blessings on your family.

  5. So grateful for all you're sharing with us. We care a very great deal, and what you write is very important. Today's post is amazing. Thinking of you on the birthday of the Theotokos.
    Love from the Bouteneffs

  6. Beautifully said, Anna. You are so right about those who serve "behind the scenes" and are willing to look beyond the surface. A true picture of Christ. He looks so cozy in the lambswool- can't wait to meet him :)

  7. I love that you're able to breastfeed! So important :)

  8. I learned about Leo last night from Tim & JoAnn and this morning while having coffee with a friend was informed of this blog. I hope you make this into a book someday as God will continue to use Leo to bless and give hope to many parents. As God shapes us into his image some folks are asked to suffer great things so they can emerge as servants of our Great Lord and Savior. You folks are simply amazing............Leo is in our prayers in between many tears as we read your blog...Gary fm Florida

  9. Your old friend Leesha is finally catching up with you. My gmail delivered your blog to me. It's been awhile getting set up here in Montana. I'm ready to start reading. You all sound wonderful. Love, Lee


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