July 17, 2012

In Repair

I've taken an unintentional month-long break - not for lack of things to say, but because I keep thinking of what our mamas told us in the first grade: If you don't have anything nice to say...
What I have to say isn't unkind or even untoward, but it isn't the motivational reading or guilt-free cupcake recipes we coo over on Pinterest. (Though I have found a Greek yogurt cupcake worth chatting about - stay tuned!)

Instead my thoughts and words, like the rest of me, are wrapped up in the slow work of recovery.

This afternoon I got my third steroid shot in six weeks; at this rate I'll be the Incredible Hulk by Labor Day!

Steroid shots are to 'open' me up. Not quite sure what that means specifically, but so far, so good. Nursing means I can't take some of the 'good drugs' for sinus and ear infections, which I'm rocking for the second time in a month, so I'll take what I can get. Add in some breastfeeding-related symptoms (and another steroid shot for a $exy batch of stress-induced hives earlier this month) and I'm a ball of good times.



Or should I say a balding good time. The baby bald spots are back with a vengeance; ponytails make it uber-obvious, so this is my only cute off-day option.

Thankfully the balding came for a purpose: this gal. Totally worth the carpet of dark hairs on my hardwoods.
Wearing her sleep sack but SO not ready for naptme.
Mary Brooks turned five months old on July 14. She is an angelic, rolling, giggling ball of sweetness from the moment she's awake until we grudgingly put her to bed. She is an exceedingly happy baby, lovely in every way. I honestly could spread her on a biscuit and just eat her up, this bean of mine.


She's also tiny. Itsy-bitsy-tee-tiny and gaining weight very slowly. For the most part, praise God, there are no health concerns. There are, however, lingering questions about her growth, size and occasional digestive tract-related symptoms that could be side effects of her surgery.

 
The last six weeks have included many a call to the surgeon, pediatrician and lactation consultants' offices. And about a million lost minutes of sleep. Gone is Anne-the-champion-sleeper of old. Gone is Anne-the-girl-she-used-to-be anyhow, so I suppose it makes sense.

(If you'd told me this time last year that my daughter would sleep through the night at five or six weeks but I'd still be sporting dark circles of my own doing, I'd have questioned your sanity. I've come to realize why people say, "When you lie awake at night..."  It never quite clicked because I never did lie awake. My head hit the pillow and I slid off into dreamland. Blissful.

There's a lot of time in the midnight hours for contemplation and prayer. If you'd like me to include you in those prayers, please send me an email. The Lord has put several friends on my heart during that time, and always for good reason. I'm happy to lift you up in those moments, and I'm finding God is using these times, undereye bags and all, to draw me closer to Him.)

As far as Mary Brooks goes, I remind myself that a happy baby is a healthy baby. If only there were percentages and growth curves for happiness! I tell myself that, as before, I'll know if something is wrong. 

Her cries, rare as they are, still stop in my tracks, though. On some level I picture her in a white metal hospital crib every time she makes a noise of a certain pitch - yesterday it was a squeal and some practice 'talking.'

Those one-off cries send my pulse skyrocketing, put my guard up and have me hanging around MB like a hair band groupie, which amuses her to no end. She thinks the stare-down is part of a really fun game involving the two of us and Sophie the Giraffe, so clearly I'm the only one here with a panic problem.

Macky and Mary Brooks remain utterly besotted with one another, beginning what I hope will be a lifelong friendship. It's a joy to see. Mac has taken to calling her "my Mary Brooksie," which the rest of us have picked up.

My dynamic duo accompanies me everywhere this summer, so the baby Bjorn has earned its keep for a second go-round.



On July 4th I (yes, I!) whipped up four dozen muffins, wrote the world's longest thank you note and brought the whole Yankee Doodle family down to the hospital.

Stepping back onto the peds floor was a big moment for B; he hadn't been back since she was discharged, while I had visited friends whose daughter stayed doors away from our old stomping grounds.
Heading back to the peds floor.
I've also paid several visits to the lactation consultants in the same building, so the smells and sights of the hospital don't knock me off my feet as much as they once did. No more flashbacks, just an odd sense of comfort in being back.

I brought before and after pictures so our nurses would recognize the beaming, tubeless girl in our arms.

Before and after: March and July
We were happy to see a few familiar faces and I hope the gesture expressed one iota of our indebtedness to their tremendous care. Plus, anyone working on America's birthday deserves a few delicious carbs, don't you think?

If I sound like a broken record (treading water, recovering, worrying, waiting, praying, grateful, tired...) or it seems as though our life revolves around 'what happened' (our euphemism of choice) in March, you're probably right. I'm working on it, I promise.

There are a few heavy external stresses on us as a family, things I will be able to share shortly, that have monopolized whatever brain cells aren't kid-focused lately. It's been a battle to stay or try to stay joyful in some of the tougher days, to be candid. Some days I don't win.

Thankfully I feel the tide turning, but I've decided my best path is to be gentle with myself, as easy as I am with everyone else.

Time, rest and grace are the only prescription I know for picking up the pieces and resuming the new life ahead of us. If it's not mandatory or life-giving, I'm trying to take a break from it and tone down the 'do everything' desire so many of us have.

In short, we're all recovering - Mary Brooks from the surgery that saved her life, me from the trauma that came with being a helpless bystander, and  Mac from the slightly lesser indignity of wearing too-small tighty whities (read: potty training perma-wedgie) earlier this summer.

Adventures in Potty Training, size 4T
In my defense, the train-themed briefs had been in a drawer since last fall. How was I to know he'd need a 4T before he'd want to wear them? We're still a little stuck on the, er, more difficult half of the process, but hooray for being mostly done with diapers!

I hope to finish MB's story (the miraculous part has yet to be told) and carry on with chatting about normal, non-medical things.

I plan to reveal a big change, an upcoming challenge, a leap of faith and the many ways God has shown His hand in every facet of this wild year.

I hope to share what I've learned about helping others, how my heart has been broken for hurting families and what we can all do to be of immediate, effective use to those in our community. It's a concrete lesson I'm thrilled to be figuring out as a result of our own unexpected, unavoidable crisis.

Thank you for checking in on us, friends, and for always being here. xoxo

10 comments:

Leslie said...

I love your hat. I hope you feel better soon. Your children are adorable!

Whitney said...

Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

You are brave. And a wonderful mother. And He will (and is) gently lead(ing) you through the healing process - YOUR healing process! Take your time, Sweet Anne :) Keep on enjoying those beautiful babies!

Our Family said...

Anne, I only wish my comment would be half as eloquent as your post. You are an amazing woman and I am so happy that our paths have crossed. I still want to meet MB in person and get a good squeeze! :) Lana

Anne said...

As a fellow midnight praying worrier, know that you are in my prayers! That is one beautiful baby, Anne. Hang in there Mama.

Cindy said...

I love reading your posts-you are so real, humble and simply amazing. I wish I had gotten to know you better when we worked together, but am glad I can now through the virtual world!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

good to hear from you sweet friend :) let me know if you want to hang out next tuesday :)

Samma said...

Those eyes! Oh, they just kill me- I could eat those eyes and cheeks up. Love the picture of y'all in your flowery dresses- beautiful mama and baby. Thinking of you!

Lauren said...

Anne, as usual I have read and re-read your post...amazed at your faith, your grace, and your beautiful writing!! I'm no IBCLC, but I've dealt with my own breastfeeding woes, my own peanut-sized baby, and am working towards becoming a volunteer Breastfeeding Counselor (through BreastfeedingUSA). If you want to pick my brain or just need to talk, please don't hesitate to get in touch!!

Kathryn Whitaker said...

Girlfriend, you are such a gifted writer. Hope you know how many lives you touch and make better, just through your blog posts! Much less your thoughful calls, texts, notes, etc. Stay strong and have faith. I am confident He has amazing plans for you and yours! Xo.

~Kristen~ said...

You make ball caps beautiful, bestie! (Alliteration for the win!)

Still praising God for the miracle of Mary Brooks’ healing. Love y’all more than you know.

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