We have recently added a new member to our family- and oh man has it been an adventure. Adventure is a nice word I am using but can also be substituted with the phrase “Sh** Show” but since I try not to curse we will stick with adventure. Going into having three kids I was pretty confident with our ability to handle another one, and we hit the jackpot with baby Rosie. She has been consistently sleeping at least 6 hours plus every night since she was two weeks old. Breastfeeding was hard (like it normally is) for the first couple of weeks, but has since then been going great. She rarely cries and has a very happy disposition and is fine with hanging out in her swing or bouncer when we have to get something done. What I did not anticipate was the other two kids and the adjustment in general to adding to our family. I also did not anticipate how I would handle the few trials we have had since her birth.
When I say trials I use that word loosely- because compared to some of the experiences families endure we have been very blessed. After a successful VBAC2 I have been dealing with a recovery from a third degree tear that is taking much longer than I anticipated. The pain, emotional side effects and overall experience has been MUCH easier than my C-sections, but my healing in general has taken longer than I expected. I was not released at my six week appointment to work out again and I am patiently waiting for a 10 week follow up to hopefully get the go ahead. The unexpected tear caused me a lot of anxiety the first few weeks after birth. I had not prepared myself and it was where all of my anxiety was channeled. I have struggled with Post Partum Depression and Anxiety in the past- and although it was BAD the first couple of weeks for me I am very happy that it has significantly gotten better as my hormones have leveled out. Health issues is my achiles heel when it comes to anxiety- it is always where ALL of it is focused. So the next few things that happened over the course of these 8 weeks was mentally exhausting for me.
At 6 days old little Rosie had an odd cut on her finger. Overnight the small cut turned into an infection which caused her entire finger to turn bright red, and all of her skin from her finger to completely peel off. It was the weirdest thing, and terrified us. This was right before Christmas- so we got into the Doctor last minute before everywhere was closed for the weekend and into the next week for the holiday. She was put on two oral antibiotics and a topical antibiotic and we were given strict instructions to go straight to the hospital if we did not see significant improvement in 48 hours. Thank God it healed within a week, and I could finally breathe again after the appointment when they said it was better. Over the next few weeks we got a bit of a break- and things started to fall into a routine. Then flumageddon hit our house.
Having a baby smack dab in the middle of flu season caused me a lot of stress when I was pregnant. I took all the measures once Grace went back to preschool to prevent the flu from striking. It felt good to be “in control” of the situation by loading the kids up with vitamins and elderberry syrup, having everyone wash their hands constantly, avoiding indoor play places and having Grace strip down and wash up upon arriving home from preschool before going near the baby. The day before Grace got sick I even wrote an immunity boosting post on my Full of Grace and Greens Instagram. I like to think God has a sense of humor. Then my worst fear came to be- we had the Flu (and Strep to boot) in the house. First Grace went down, then 3 days later Boone and then finally Rose. Even though we separated the kids completely- and we wore a medical mask when handling Rose- she got it. Those first 5 days were ROUGH. I had to be with Grace because if I wasn’t she would cry pathetically until I was. Boone was the same once he went down. I only got to see Rose to feed her before running back upstairs with the other two crying kids. Matt and I divided and conquered- I had the big kids upstairs he had the baby downstairs. My parents even came over to be reinforcements. My anxiety was at an all time high worrying Rose would catch it- then she did. Once Rose had the flu we were all kind of a mess with worry. I had a moment where I was downstairs with Rose, the kids were upstairs, we had taken Grace to Urgent Care because she was having breathing issues- and it was just too much. I felt like I was done- I could not do it anymore. I knew I had reached my limit of things I could handle and I was a wreck. I figured I would just cry and have a mental breakdown and someone could take me into a hospital and I could sleep there and escape and eat Jello (I get dramatic in my imagination). From my own medical stuff, to the infection and now to the flu and my anxiety being through the roof I just had one of those rock bottom moments and I did all that I could and I prayed. I prayed and asked God to show me three weeks in the future, and for the first time in my life a prayer was answered on the spot. It was the most surreal experience. I always thought people were making it up when they talked about prayers being answered immediately. He showed me a glimpse of all three of my kids, healthy, laughing and playing in the snow at my parents house in Montana. Well Rose was inside because babies don’t play in snow. I was overcome with PEACE. My biggest fear was one of my kids was going to get complications and die (thanks anxiety). That was the thought that was plaguing me constantly and God showed me that it wasn’t going to happen. I went from crying to smiling and laughing because the relief I felt was amazing. Sure, the next week sucked, but I held onto the FACT that I knew we were going to make it through. There was still anxiety and tears watching my babies suffer- but in my heart I KNEW they would ultimately be okay.
I think these past 8 weeks God has been working on my heart. He knows I am very stubborn- and no I don’t think he was throwing infections and viruses at my kids to specifically work on me- but he was using those experiences to teach me some things. He was showing me that I am far from in control. I like to feel in control because it makes me feel safe- but it has become very clear I am far from in control of the circumstances and health of my family. He was showing me that when I am in times of suffering He is there. He listens and sometimes He even answers your prayers right then and there. He is ALWAYS teaching me a lesson OVER and OVER that hopefully will stick this time- I cannot do it on my own. I like to think I can and when things are going good I feel pretty smug about my ability to handle my life on my own, but when stuff hits the fan I am learning to run straight to Him. I think he wants me to do that even when things are going great. Living life without Him for 25 years has made it a habit not to seek Him on a daily basis, especially when things are great. He is slowly peeling back all the layers that have built over the years and showing me that even though life will not be struggle free (not even close) but that in those struggles I can find peace through Him. We survived Flumageddon- and along with a bunch of useless knowledge gained about the duration and contagiousness of the flu- I learned some very important lessons.
Oh, and also, I am done having kids.