Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reflections on One Year Ago with a NICU baby and Battling Regrets

Written on Saturday 6/21/14, but struggled to post this until now:

Reflecting again on this day a year ago - it was filled with many tears and fears as we found out via X-Ray (after ridding the fluid from his lungs), that Elijah had air around his lungs, making it harder for him to breathe.

Meanwhile his oxygen levels had dipped down, and they put him on oxygen. Docs removed the air on the outside with syringes. Somewhere in there he had another X-Ray and it was determined he had two partially collapsed lungs due to holes in his lungs.

He would need to have surgery and have chest tubes inserted to help him breathe and to drain out the excess air. Then he'd quit breathing once during that process after he was given morphine for the pain, so they stopped giving him morphine and were doing other things to keep him comfortable.

I'm pretty sure my body gave way when I heard "he stopped breathing momentarily".... That was so hard to hear. It was absolutely awful to think of all that his little body was going through, but we were of course so grateful for good medical care! Not being by his side every moment was torture, and relief at the same time. It was so surreal.

A lot of this time, we were just going through the motions and trying to remember to breathe ourselves. I felt like a dark cloud was hovering over me for days.

Walking the halls of that hospital wing and hearing happy moms taking care of their babies the way it was meant to be, I would be overwhelmed by jealousy and anger. Then I'd walk into the NICU and it was like we were in an entirely different world of subdued cries, shared looks of fear & concern between parents, and looks at other babies... silently grateful that wasn't our child while we prayed that baby would be okay.

I remember asking God why he'd let me finally have a baby just to potentially lose him. I really feared for Elijah's life - even when the doctor's said it happens and he'll be okay, though they couldn't guarantee it.

My sinful heart went right to imagining the worst.

Despite hoping that if I ever went through something deeply traumatic I'd be strong and stand firm in my faith... I have to confess that I am not that strong. My strength is purely in Jesus, and during these days I didn't even know how to pray, how to lean on him, or even how to really process what was happening.

Thankfully, he is faithful even when we are not, and he cares about our needs even when we can't see straight enough to know how to lift our cares to him!! So grateful for his abundant grace and mercy!

I was so grateful my parents and Tim's mom were there. My mom was a rock - praying over us and Elijah at every turn. I needed that. I needed to lean on her faith during that time, more than ever before. I just could not handle what was happening around me. Sure I trust God, but I've never been through something THAT hard and that devastating before.

I wasn't sure which way was up through the thick fog. Tim was also solid {most of the time, though I believe he had one moment where he cracked toward the end} - reminding me it was going to be okay and that we were so grateful for Elijah, no matter what. He reminded me we'd prayed over Elijah my entire pregnancy that no matter how long we had Elijah that his life would be all for God's glory!

That day, I changed. I did not react the way I should have. I got extremely stressed out and shaken to the core of my faith. I hit rock bottom. And not just on that day, but for the next 6-7 months I went on a roller-coaster of regret, anger, bitterness, fear, anxiety, worry, and overwhelming sadness. {Yes, I was on a postpartum anti-depressant by day 3.} 

While I'm not proud of the way I handled it, looking back I can say that I am all the better for it. That I'm not who I was then. I trust God in a new way and rely on him more than ever before.

I'm not perfect and I still have some days of frustration and lack of joy, sadness over our hard start, or concern over the future. But I'm human and we all need grace.

I know that God is good all the time and that my character grew, I was changed deeply, and that this was all for his glory!!

Today we have such a huge blessing of a boy - Elijah is so incredibly sweet, funny, and he changes every day. We love him deeply and couldn't be more grateful to God for his goodness to us in the midst of everything.

We are truly humbled.

1 comment:

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

I love that you have this blog to work through all these things. It's been interesting to go through the first months of Adrienne's life and realize just how BAD I was (emotionally and mentally) after Annalyn was born. I really was NOT OKAY. But I didn't know. I'm not sure having a blog then would've helped me work through it faster, but I think it would. Anyway. Thank YOU for sharing your heart and thought process with us!