I can’t do this.
I’m not made for this.
I’m not strong enough.
Just a few, of the many, negative thoughts that has clouded my mind for the past few weeks.
It’s awful, right?
LB’s journey, so far, has been a lot harder than I ever anticipated. I knew there would be hard days. In no way did I think I was being naive about what was ahead of us. But I absolutely did not factor in how much I would actually struggle.
How weak I would actually feel.
If you are following along with LB’s journey on Facebook (click here to follow), you know that she has been struggling a bit herself lately.
A few days after her birth, she began losing weight. Not just the “normal” weight that babies lose when they leave the hospital. She did not gain any weight for her first two months of life. In fact, it wasn’t until this week that she actually met and surpassed her birth weight (at 9 weeks old).
She’s been considered as a “failure to thrive” baby.
We had a two day long stint in the hospital, that resulted in her leaving with a feeding tube — which is now her arch-enemy! At only two months, she knows what she wants. And she wants to rip that tube out! (and she will, any chance she gets!!)
Her inability to eat/gain weight, and now the many issues that come with having a feeding tube, has left me exhausted — mentally and physically.
Let me briefly say, I am fully aware that her medical condition is no where near as bad as it could be. We are blessed. That I know. There are mothers out there going through far worse than me, and I have stopped to pray for them many times, because I can not even begin to imagine what hurdles they are facing.
But, it doesn’t make what we are going through any less difficult.
Her first week on the feeding tube left her in a fit of rage.
Every moment she was awake, she spent screaming; and, the only way to get her to stop screaming was to rock her into a restless sleep. Any moment when I stopped rocking her eyes would pop open and the screams would begin. Which left me with very little time… and sanity.
LB went from a happy, content baby that would lay on the floor starring up at her toys in amazement, I often described her as a “perfect” baby except for her feeding issues –> to a baby that was down-right miserable.
And this broke me. It tore me apart.
Not only did I begin to feel consumed by my pity for her, but I quickly became overwhelmed with her new medical needs.
I AM NOT A NURSE.
And this situation just proves to me that I could never be one. They are definitely special people who I applaud, because everything seems foreign and scary to me.
The most experience I have ever had at performing any “medical” task has been checking my children’s temperatures or extracting a splinter.
Now, to add to my completed lack of medical qualifications, I am a complete worrier.
I worry about EVERYTHING.
J is two minutes late coming home? He’s been in an accident.
Every passing minute I visualize the 50 million different accidents he could’ve been involved in.
(No, I’m not exaggerating… just ask him.)
So, not only do I constantly worry about her little heart, but now I had to add on the worries of a feeding tube.
In the hospital, we were handed a baby with a feeding tube, had a quick run on how to cut the machine on, and they sent us home.
That’s a lie, they did show us how to check to make sure the tube isn’t in her lungs.
But then, that’s literally all they showed us how to do.
Didn’t tell us what to do if it did end up in her lungs. Didn’t tell us who to call if we had any problems. They didn’t even tell us how long she would have it in for.
My days quickly became consumed with fear.
And I felt completely inadequate for the job.
Not only does LB need someone who is confident in her ability to take care of her, but my other children deserve a mom who isn’t so frazzled and hanging on to her wits-end all the time. It’s not fair to any of them.
And then the cycle of self-loathing begins.
I hate that I can’t do all this. I hate that I feel all these different emotions. And I hate that I’m hating things… you see the cycle?
Along with all the turmoil in my mind, my once happy baby seemed like she was in so much pain. So, I would hold her and just cry.
All I ever did was cry those first few weeks.
I would hold her in my arms and cry right along side her. She would sit in the swing, and I would sit on the floor in front of her, and we’d cry together. Or I’d watch her sleep in my arms, struggling to breathe, sweating, and gagging on her tube — and I’d close my eyes and cry.
There was nothing I could do to help her.
I found myself looking at her through my tears and wishing this time away.
I BEGAN WISHING TIME AWAY
That’s not something I ever thought I’d do…
I am holding my last baby.
This is the last time I will ever have an infant. As the seconds tick by, I am losing my baby as she grows right before my eyes.
And yet, instead of enjoying this time I have with her – I am wishing it away.
And I get so mad at myself for that.
All I want is for her to be healthy. I want to be able to hold her and love on her without worrying if she is hurting in any way or if I am doing something wrong.
Then I find myself caving into it all.
I feel so helpless. I feel like I am not, or cannot be, everything she needs.
And, again, I find myself wishing for the future. Wishing we had her surgery behind us. Looking forward to a time when she will be able to successfully eat on her own. Longing for a future where she is a “normal” baby. A future where our biggest complaint is a lack of sleep (because, if she follows her siblings footsteps, sleeping through the night is not in her immediate future – even if she’s healthy).
Then, in the same thought, I realize how absurd that is. I am allowing all this worry to steal my joy, because — no matter her health condition — she does bring me so much joy.
Just looking at her, my heart quickly becomes full.
She makes me so happy; yet, I don’t allow myself to soak that in all the time.
I should be kissing every piggy she has, laughing at the many faces she makes, soaking in the coos of a babbling baby, and basking in the lovely aroma of the aftermath of a full belly (haha okay, maybe a bit too far on that one)
But, my point is, I don’t want to spend this precious time with her crying and overwhelmed. I want to be grateful and create memories that will last me a lifetime. Because I know this phase will not last forever.
One day this will all be a memory and I will realize:
I AM strong enough.
I WAS made for this.
And, I CAN do it.