It’s been a very long time since I have sat down to write out my thoughts, feelings, triumphs, and struggles. But since welcoming our fourth little one in to the world, I’ve so badly needed to take that time.
I’m just going to remind any one who takes the time to read this that I am not a true “blogger.” I don’t make money off of this, heck I honestly don’t even know how to link things. Writing is a form of therapy for me, and right now I could really use some! So please remember I’m just a girl rambling out all the thoughts and feelings I have as they come, and I’m not looking for anything more than that.
On June 20th we welcomed our newest sweet baby. Our second sweet little Princess Eden Drew arrived in her own fashion, making mama work harder than she has ever had to before! (No joke, I pushed the longest and hardest with her. Her birth story is coming soon.) I am sure though that her size played a factor in the extra work. She was our biggest baby by far. Trust me when I say, when we saw her massive head and body come out of me we all wondered where the heck she was hiding inside my body. Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would have an over 9 pound baby. But alas y’all it happened. And with the way her first month of life went, I am so thankful she had so much fat storage to live off of.
She latched on to my breast almost right away. She didn’t put in a lot of effort, but I really didn’t think anything of it, I just assumed she was tired from all the excitement of being pushed out of my body. But as the days went on I felt like her latch needed work. From the outside it looked good, but it didn’t feel right, and my boobs weren’t being emptied. My amazing midwife was coming over every other day at that time, so we were tracking her weight. As you know its normal for baby’s to lose weight in the beginning. And it’s also normal for them (especially bigger ones) to plateau for a few days. But by two weeks they should be back up to their birth weight and she just wasn’t. In fact she’d actually lost 2 more ounces. She was also more yellow and jaundice than she had been prior. That was when we really started digging deeper in to what was going on. My midwife brought us over two syringes and we started giving her milk via the syringe. I wasn’t trying to breastfeed her anymore at that point because we HAD to get calories in her. Because she had to work so hard to nurse, I didn’t want her using up extra calories she didn’t have and not be be replacing them. She needed to get that weight back on and we needed all the jaundice gone. So I would pump and my sweet husband would sit with her and have her suck his finger while pushing the milk in through the syringe. We wanted to check off every box and try every possibility. We took her to the chiropractor, we started working with a cranio-sacral therapist, we had her tongue and lip tie revised, and we saw another LC. It felt (and still does) that we had another appointment with another doctor every single day. It’s exhausting, and when we have to bring all of the other kids with us it’s a nightmare. But we just want to help our baby girl.
Right now she is 100% bottle fed, with a couple of “let’s just try for a minute before she gets too frustrated and upset” nursing times thrown in.
My mental health really started declining at the time that I stopped putting her to my breast. I’ve never struggled so hard postpartum with anxiety and dark thoughts. I felt as if I was starving my child. I truly thanked God she was so big because in my mind that is what kept her alive. I can’t even explain to you how hard it was to watch this fat, rolly baby become…not that. To watch her rolls disappear. The chunk in her cheeks fade away. For me mentally it was a really awful place to be. To not be able to nurse. I’ve never not breastfed a baby. Truthfully that’s probably the hardest thing for me. To not be the place of comfort for her, it quite literally breaks my heart, and if I spend too much time thinking about it, it sends me spiraling. In my head all I hear is what a failure I am. I can’t even take care of my own baby. I am useless. She doesn’t need me. She doesn’t even know who I am, what was even the point of me being around? I could have left and everyone would have been better off. I told myself that something I did ruined her. I made her this way. Everything is all my fault.
On top of her eating struggles, she has breathing issues. When she was first born we noticed she was a bit squeaky, but I remembered my other babies being a bit loud and squeaky in the beginning as well. But as the days went on the squeaks got worse. And they changed. She sounded like she was struggling to breathe. We called her pediatrician and he got us in right away. He agreed that it didn’t sound right and sent us immediately to an imaging center for an x-ray, and then to the local hospital for a swallow test. While nothing came back perfect, it also didn’t come back extremely alarming. At that point he recommended we make an appointment at a Children’s Hospital for more testing. We spoke with our wonderful neighbor about all that was going on, and she encouraged us to just go. Don’t wait for a referral, just head down now. It was getting later at night and we were on the fence. What was the best thing to do? Well that same sweet neighbor texted us and said she would stay the night with our big kids if we were in fact going to go. So we did. We packed a few days of clothes, loaded up in our motor home, and made the trek down to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Mind you at that point it was already 11:45 PM and we were exhausted. We had been up all night the previous night with her. But by the grace of God we made it safely. We make our way to the emergency room. At the ER she is monitored and looked over. After many questions and discussions, she is diagnosed with Laryngomalacia. In my own words that means that she basically has a soft and floppy voice box. It flaps when she breathes in and out so it makes that horribly scary sounding noise. It could also be a factor in to her difficulty gaining weight. We were glad to know that it wasn’t a life threatening issue and that it would resolve over time, but every day still feels scary because it sounds like she is constantly struggling every breath. And if it is the reason she has a hard time swallowing and eating, that means we could have an entire year or so of spending 2+ hours bottle feeding our baby who has a hard time swallowing. The math comes out to us spending 16 hours a day just trying to get her to eat because it’s so much work for her.
While we were at CHLA, they noticed that she has 2 hemangiomas on her torso. The doctor asked me how many she had total and I said she has 3 total. He mentioned that sometimes when 3 or more are present, there can also be an existing one on the inside that we can’t see. He mentioned us getting in with an ENT to have a scope done to see if there is any present. So now we are working on getting an appointment and getting ready for another trip down to CHLA when the time comes. You know, just another thing I can add to my list of things I did wrong for her.
We have had all these setbacks that have been so hard on my husband and I. We know that things could be way worse. We know that she will be okay. But everything we are going through is very real for us and it’s been so trying. I had this vision that this sweet baby would come in and just be full of peace, calm, and bliss. While we are so thankful for her, she’s been so far from that. I thought this would be a time of healing. A time of mending our very recent and very real broken hearts. That David’s loss would still weigh on us, but some of the heaviness would fade. That just hasn’t been the case. I pray every day that God would show me where He is in all of this. I pray that one day He reveals to me why it could’t just be easy on us. Our other babies, they were easy. Why is this time different? Why now? I don’t like saying “everything happens for a reason” because it feels cliche and over used (sorry!), but I am a believer that it is true. There must be a reason for all the added chaos. There must be a reason our older kids are so desperate for more time and attention. There must be a reason for all the HUGE amount of guilt I carry around with me all day every day. There must be a reason why my husband has had to take time away from work just to help me keep our baby awake and eating. A reason for the lack of bond I feel with my baby.
I have had a lot of people ask me how it’s going and I just wanted to be real and honest. It’s going, but its been really freaking hard. It’s been frustrating. It’s been difficult to figure out. But more than anything it’s been really hard to watch our baby and our big kids struggle. And now I am asking for prayers. I am asking for prayers for answers. I am asking for prayers of improvement. I am asking for prayers of peace. And I am asking for prayers of healing. I am grateful that it WILL get better. Grateful that while right now her health issues seem so huge, I know they are not life threatening. I know it could be SO much worse.
I also just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out. Everyone who has helped us. Everyone who has brought us dinner. I’ve felt so alone and in a deep pit during this time, but your kindness is a reminder that we aren’t alone and I am so appreciative of it.
So much love to y’all.
By grace through faith,