Hello Friends and Family,
This is the first update I’m writing with a baby in my lap instead of in my belly J He has hiccups and is very interested in what I’m doing right now. The last two months have been a whirlwind as we have stepped into parenthood.
Justice Matthew Manzari was born on January 6 and weighed 7 lb. 2 oz. He is completely healthy and we feel beyond blessed for that! I was in labor for a little over 27 hours, but delivery was smooth with no complications. It was so strange to be back at the same hospital plaza where Matt had been, but we were there for happy reasons this time J Matt and I were overwhelmed at his birth. It brought Matt to tears, as he felt that he had made it to a huge goal in his recovery: Seeing the birth of his son. He had looked forward to it when he was in the hospital and had prepared for it in physical therapy. His therapists would make “fake” babies out of weights and towels to help Matt gain the muscle to hold his son, and now, we have made it! Matt is strong enough to hold Justice and that is priceless.
Being a new mom has been exhausting, amazing, strange, painful, enlightening, special, and fun! I couldn’t believe when they laid him on my chest after he was born that he had been with me through the whole journey. This little buddy had been feeling all my pain, sorrow, joy and triumph through Matt’s accident… The two of us had been through a lot together and now I was meeting him for the first time. Not only was I overwhelmed by meeting him, but I was so happy to have Matt at my side through it all. It was a moment I will never forget.
Our transition home was not without complication. The day after we came home with Justice, Matt had to be rushed into an emergency root canal to correct a severe abscess in his tooth. He had a bad reaction to the laughing gas during the procedure, which, in combination with his severe nerve pain, left him out of commission for a few days. I got sick a few days after that and it seemed like we were spinning! We made it through that rough patch and it has been getting better.
Matt still suffers more than he lets on to anyone. His recovery is very difficult and painful in ways most of us could not imagine. His nerve pain plagues him, and even with medication, it can be too much to bear. He pushes through and has been diligent in his physical therapy, continuing to gain mobility in his arms and neck. His limp wrist is coming back more as well, and we are hopeful for a full regeneration of the radial nerve in order to use his left hand again. The scar tissue has grown so strong on his right ring finger that it has pulled the tip out of the socket, and causes consistent pain that can’t be fixed without corrective surgery. The more the scar tissue forms, the harder he has to stretch out his neck, which causes gaping holes that bleed quite a bit. When he can manage to fall asleep with the insomnia, he still wakes up with sharp pains and does not get much rest at all. He lives exhausted.
I am amazed at his ability to keep a good attitude. The suffering he endured in the hospital was a test in every way, but to have many constant pains throughout your day and no relief, I can imagine it grinds you down and could tempt you to feel sorry for yourself. Thankfully, Matt continues to push through it with hope and an attitude of thankfulness for his life. If people were to ask me to describe my husband and tell them what he is like, I could sum it up by telling them what he is not: My husband is not a “fair weather” Christian. He continues to praise Christ and pursue Him even in daily struggles. All in all, he is a strong man who trusts God with his whole life.
We just passed the 7-year anniversary of our first date on Feb. 21. As I reflect back to that day, I could never have known where life would lead the two of us. I did not predict such trials, but I could see Matt’s love for God and I knew if we did hit trials, he would not waver in that. This last 8 months has shown the fruits of why I fell in love with him on that first date.
People have continued to bless us in this time and have given us meals, done work at our house, blessed us with baby gifts, and prayed for our needs. We have seen the caring side of humanity and it is beautiful. It still humbles us as we receive the goodness that people send our way. We feel unworthy of all of your love and generosity and we cannot say thank you enough. We look forward to blessing others in the ways that we have felt blessed.