Finding Firm Footing on Shaky Ground

I’ve had some time now to process the events that began to unfold on Friday, and amazingly, my head feels more clear than it has in a long time.  Perhaps it is a lack of wailing ringing in my ears or the bits ofdreamless sleep I have enjoyed. No, I think it’s because God’s been speaking and I’ve been listening.  Loud and clear.

You see, things in my life never go perfectly – although there seems to be moments of harmony and rightness.  Yet, things are often okay, tolerable . . . fine. And when things are fine and nothing earth-shaking is taking place is when I inevitably inch away from God until I find myself quite alone. And frustrated.

Our world began to quake a little over a month ago as Lyla went from being a somewhat fussy baby to an absolutely miserable one. Jason and I found ourselves scrambling to find, something, anything to calm her down. Little did we know just how simple and complicated the solution was.

I knew something was wrong.  She wasn’t colicky, although I tried to convince myself she was.  She was tiny, too tiny. So I went with my gut and took her with me to the lactation specialist last Friday only to discover that a big part of the problem was me.  While I had some milk, it wasn’t near enough to feed Lyla.  She has lost an entire pound.  As I struggled to get her to take some formula, which she flatly refused, I lost it.  I sat in that blue plastic chair and blubbered as Lyla howled in frustration and hunger.  I had this crushing feeling of being a complete and utter disappointment, for failing to be able to feed my child.

Listen, I know I’m not a failure as a mom, but at that moment – no one could have told me otherwise. Lately, I struggled to provide anything beyond the basics for Jonah because I was so tired and consumed with tending to Lyla. It all came to a head in that tiny office, and I couldn’t keep it together anymore.  I knew that my dreams of breastfeeding were pretty much over.  I had not been able to breastfeed Jonah for more than 6 weeks.  He never latched on, and I didn’t have the knowledge to get help.  I felt like a failure then too.  I mean, wasn’t I created to do this?!  Why wasn’t it working? 

Here I was again, but this time armed with months of research, reading and finding support from moms who, in my eyes, were super moms who were able to breastfeed for over a year. And in the end, even though I did everything right, here we were driving Lyla to the OU Medical Center Children’s Hospital.

We drove to the Children’s Hospital from the doctor’s office, sad but determined.  Jason was my source of calm, my smile, my encouragement.  As I exited onto I-40 East I began to pray, “Lord, I promised to trust you with my child. She’s yours; they both are.  Help me to keep my promise.” And literally, a peace came over me, and I knew that no matter what – Lyla would be okay.

The hours that followed included Lyla getting an IV, blood taken, waiting on test results and there were no more tears, not even from Lyla.  Even she seemed to understand that she was in a good place. We were admitted at 4pm and taken to a room with robots on the wall and a hospital crib. Lyla was dehydrated and needed to eat. Now.  They would give us a couple of hours to get her to take a bottle or she would have to have a feeding tube.  We tried off an on for a couple of hours when suddenly, it was as if she understood the inevitable unpleasantness that awaited her, and she promptly gulped 2 oz.  We cheered!

It only got better from then on.  We spent the next two days watching her eat and transform into a new baby.  A happy, content baby. And I’m pretty sure we both fell in love with her all over again. And despite the long hours of TV, tolerable food (with the exception of the amazing meal brought to us by Mark & Christy), the beep of the monitors and cries of other children in pain, Jason and I enjoyed just being together.  We talked, we laughed and got a little sleep, and we thanked God for our little family of four. 

We were discharged on Sunday morning, and the nurses and team of doctors said they were a little sad to see us go – I guess they don’t get a whole lot of kiddos who improve so quickly. As we re-entered the real world, the sunshine – it was a little surreal.  We know that things will be different from here on out.  Mainly, there will be a disticnt lack of crying and much more calm. It’s funny, we get really excited every time she eats and rejoice over wet and dirty diapers. 

While I know that a time will come when I’ll take things for granted and slip away from God, I know myself too well, I want to learn from all this, to remember and to grow as a wife,a mother and a believer.  Both kids are asleep now in their room, and we listen to their gentle, rythmic breathing on the monitor, I just feel unbelievably blessed.

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