It has been a harrowing week. But thankfully things have stabilized a bit.
Last Tuesday night as I was going to bed something didn’t feel right. I called the nurse and as soon as she came in the room things went downhill fast. I won’t go into graphic detail, but let’s just say there was a lot of blood and contractions coming every 3-4 minutes. The next 36 hours involved being rushed down to the Labor and Delivery floor and being pumped full of magnesium (you know the stuff that makes you feel like you’re on fire and can’t move). They did blood work every three hours to monitor my blood loss. (I completely broke down the seventh time they came into to take my blood – “I don’t have any veins left to poke,” I cried.)
Turns out my placenta partially abrupted. The doctors had suspected it before but confirmed it by sonogram on Wednesday. This was not a good development. At several points during those 36 hours things were dire enough that I thought they would deliver the baby. Thankfully they didn’t and the medicine was able to stop my contractions. On Thursday, I was able to go back to my normal room where they are now monitoring me closely.
Right now it’s a fine balance: they want to keep the baby in as long as possible, but not at the risk of the baby’s heath or my health. If the placenta starts abrupting more they will deliver the baby. Most likely it will be an emergency situation.
If you’ve been following my blog you know this is literally my worst nightmare coming to life. Daytime I can manage ok, but nighttime is terrifying. Because it seems everything bad happens at night. Thankfully my mom and mother-in-law are here so my husband can be with me at night. When I get fearful in the dark, I scroll through all the screenshots I took of encouraging Bible verses my friends have sent me. I’m praying that the Lord will give me faith to trust Him morning, noon, and night with this baby’s life and my life. I am physically weak so that makes me mentally weak, therefore I am grateful for the friends are lifting baby and me up in prayer around the country.
The specialists’ goal is that I make it to 28 weeks (Tuesday) or 29 weeks. I realize that seems so early to many of you, but having had a preemie before I know that 28 weeks is a huge milestone for development. I would love to make it much longer, but I realize I have to be thankful for any day at this point. And thankful for a healthy baby, no matter how long a NICU stay that might entail.
So how is life back on the home front? I feel I have lost control there, too.
(I wrote this update before Tuesday’s crisis. Take it or leave my stream of consciousness below…)
When crises like this happen the truth that we all know deep down sprays up like a geyser into our faces: we don’t really have much control in this life. Yes, we feel like we do when we plan little things like summer vacations and doctor appointments, and big things like how far we want our kids apart and where they will go to school. But, as I’ve learned again and again, in one second our nice, pretty controlled lives can be turned into an upside down world where it’s revealed we never really did own that control.
That’s the state I have been in and, frankly, it’s driving me crazy. I think about what state my house is currently in (probably don’t want to know!), if my girls are watching too much t.v., wondering why my four year old is wearing the same t-shirt on Facetime three days in a row…
Early on in my hospital bed rest I tried to gain a bit of control back by doing what moms do best: making a bunch of lists. I filled in my Target wall calendar with what sitters are coming when and who is picking up who. I made nice little charts for each girl of what they need to do each day: chores, reading, practice their memory verse. (Matthew 25:40 because they have been quite ugly to each other lately…).
Before my mom left last week, she hung all my charts and calendars on the huge burlap bulletin board that my husband sweetly moved into the kitchen. My girls were happy to see a bit of order in the house and I thought having a nice, organized command center would lead them into a smooth transition to babysitters.
The week after my mom left was another nightmare of sorts. It was one facetime call after facetime call of crying and arguing and meltdowns over lost shoes. Most of their daily to-dos were completely ignored unless I threatened them over the phone. One child was even disrespectful to a sitter and that just about sent me over the edge.
At first I was angry they weren’t being perfect little robot children while I am away. But then I realized how foolish I was being: they are confused little people whose lives have been turned upside down. They have emotions and worries – so why I am surprised and frustrated that they are acting out?
Trial and solitude often reveal issues of the heart. Or I should say idols of the heart. And mine, I realize, are my children. Or at least the perception of my children. I want them to dress how I want them to dress, act like I want them to act, speak like I want them to speak. I want them to be “perfect little angels” but when my control has been taken out of the equation, I realize they are not. And they shouldn’t be.
How my heart has softened for my children over the past week. I don’t want exactly changed in my heart from being angry to broken, but it was probably realizing that I am the absolute worst offender when things don’t go my way in life and how God is still so gracious to me. That’s helped me see them differently. Helped me have more grace.
Yes, the girls have been doing so much better thanks to my husband’s leadership and encouragement (the lists do help!), but just peeling away their outside frustrations, I’ve seen such kindness and gentleness and love in their little hearts and minds. My oldest helping her little sisters with their hair, my youngest trying hard to make her bed. The pictures they make and the letters the write for me. Their sweet smiles over Facetime and how much they really want to do the right thing.
How I would give anything to be home with my sweet little, imperfect family right now. I tell myself that I will never take for granted how precious they are and how blessed I am to have them, but I am sure one day in the future when all six of us are back into a routine of humdrum life, I will take them for granted again.
But I sure hope I don’t. I hope I will remember this time alone in my hospital room longing to hold their little hands in mine…