Thursday, August 21, 2014

Keeping Our Cool.... Sort Of.

It has been 5 months since my last post.  I will try to not go into too much detail about what's been going on since then... not because it's not hilariously entertaining, but because it would take forever and a half to type it out and I have three humans to raise!

Just know that since that last blog post, I went for a walk with a friend at 33 weeks and after that, the baby dropped so low I swear he was about to reach out and tie my shoes for me. (which would have been equal parts terrifying and helpful at that point)  I had contractions every time someone asked me when my house was going to be finished, and would we be in before the baby came.  Not to mention, getting out of a chair, brushing my teeth, opening the fridge... I quit keeping track of them somewhere around 35 weeks.

Then, after 3 years of our somewhat urban nomadic lifestyle, we moved into our finished house over the course of a week, finally sleeping there on a Friday night.  I was 37 weeks pregnant and was in early labor the entire week we were moving.  That Sunday morning at 7:21am, the Boy was born.

He was perfect and huge and quickly became the newest subject of the sisterly game we like to call "But it's MYYYY TUUURRRRN!!!"  Holding him, bringing me a burp cloth, getting his passy, unwrapping his swaddle; you name it they fought over it.  All out of love though, I'm sure.

Summer has been a wonderful blur.  It started with a family road trip when the girls were flower girls in a family wedding; Boy was 3 weeks old.  After that, everything went into high gear.  Settling in, unpacking boxes, hanging pictures, going to the pool and the movie theater, a road trip to Texas, working out, and then preparing for another school year.  All thanks in large part to the help of our saint of a baby sitter that came to play and feed and spoil the girls.  No doubt I would still be 40 lbs overweight, sleep deprived, and just plain mean without that girl.  (you read that correctly, I did it big this time.... "Forty Pounds" Big..... future post "Out of the Fog and into my workout clothes")

Last week Bug started First grade with two loose teeth and four already gone.  Peanut is approaching the age of 4; hilarious and in a constant state of "let's pretend".  And Boy has moved into his, newly finished, nursery.  He is sleeping through the night and no longer needing a swaddle.  He argues with me the least, so naturally at this point I like him more than the other two.  I will eat those words in about 5 months when he starts to make me crazy with a "is he going to die if he climbs on that?" thought pattern.

My husband and I managed to pack in (almost) every marital stressor into a 15 month period: Living with In-laws, pregnancy, moving, financial discussions, starting a new job, having a new baby, and traveling with children.  All along the way our sense of humor and our prayer life keeping us sane.

There are so many great stories between all those lines.... from the stress and pain of moving when you are 37 weeks pregnant, to the 10 minute time span of my life when I both met the OB on call, and then interrupted his introduction to tell him I was pushing and he better be ready.  The ups and downs of married life through it all.  And now back to school.  Back to routine.  Back to life.

I have such a hard time with change, it was only a blessing to have too many changes at one time to process each on it's own.  I blinked a few times, swiped the credit card a few too many, and cried quite a bit and finally I'm waking up to see my life and my purpose and my floor that needs sweeping.

After all of that: My husband and I are still married.  We still genuinely like each other.  Our children have not (managed to) run away or kill each other (yet). Everyone is fed and goes to bed "on time", and they seem to still genuinely like us as well.

We have made it to the end of an era and we are all better for it.  There have been hard times and hiccups, and many opportunities to ask for forgiveness.  As we practice thankfulness,  the path is cleared for us to see the blissful moments through our earthly first world problems, and we were able to count them as blessings in stead of stressors.

As the next phase of our life presses on past it's beginning, I have looked to 2 Peter as my August 2014 pep talk:

The whole book is great, but just for starters:

(3-8) "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bringing Home Chocolate Milk and a Diagnosis...Again.

We have been in the trenches as of late.

My brain is already fogged with pregnancy, home building, and being uncharacteristically unorganized in ALMOST every area of my life.

On top of all of that, there are the dealings and stresses that come with having two small children who require food, clothes, baths, attention, and frequent rides to various activities and appointments.  Not to mention, breaking up fights, picking out movies, changing dress up clothes, playing "Hungry Hippo" referee, and trying to make sense of the random tear-filled, complete and utter meltdown; happening in public, in private, or (my personal favorite) in front family members whom we currently "room with".

To say that I expect a high blood pressure reading at each pre-natal check up is an extreme understatement.  (my BP is fine, by the way.... as of yesterday)

If you know me, at all, you know I am a bit of a germ-a-phobe.  Which at this point in time, I would like to say is a misnomer.... I like to think of myself as having more of an appreciation for germs than a fear.  I get them.  I know how mean, strong, lasting, and scary they can be.  I appreciate how awful they can be.  My germ awareness came about after a few years teaching small children, followed by my baby being diagnosed with a condition that compromises her immune system.

After her diagnosis at 9 months and our 6 night hospital stay, we left with a lot of information, books, gear, toys and clothing from the gift shop, and with one bit of information that stood out to me like it was surrounded by a flaming hoop, in neon letters, with fireworks and glitter and a soundtrack:

"You should be fine unless she gets strep throat or the stomach virus... those two could send you to the ER pretty quickly."

Enter: my hand washing, Clorox wiping, and Lysol spraying regimen.

Five years later, we have survived multiple bouts with the stomach virus, among many other illnesses so, please don't allow yourself to think my efforts have kept us illness free thus far.  Although, I think it has kept us from getting sick often; even with a weak immune system and a little sister that HAS TO touch everything... every.thing.

This Winter has been nasty for everyone, I know.  The snow, the ice, the germs, the doctor visits... gross gross and more gross!  (My husband always says I'm reptilian, and I've never felt more so than Winter 2014.)  As expected the dreaded stomach virus started it's tour around Bug's school about a month ago.  I was on *high alert*... level Red, or whatever the worst color is for a terror attack alert.  We had our armor in full effect.  We did probiotics, Lysol the backpacks, wash hands, wash clothes and coats VERY often.... ALL the crazy person things you are thinking of, I did them and found comfort and pride there in my wintertime crazy person place.


*Diabetes Education Moment:  When people with type one get a virus it makes their blood sugar go up.  They still need insulin to combat the high blood sugar, but with strep and GI issues they are usually unable to eat so it gets tricky when deciding to give insulin.... worrying that giving insulin to correct a high blood sugar will give her a low that you won't be able to fix because she can't keep down the juice or the sugar to bring her back to normal.  When the blood sugar is high, her body makes something called ketones:

(from webmd)
Ketones are substances that are made when the body breaks down fat for energy. Normally, your body gets the energy it needs from carbohydrate in your diet. But stored fat is broken down and ketones are made if your diet does not contain enough carbohydrate to supply the body with sugar (glucose) for energy or if your body can't use blood sugar (glucose) properly.

Ketones leave your body through urine, and to make urine you require hydration.  If you are dehydrated from a virus and your body doesn't make any urine, the ketones just camp out and make ACID in your body.  (does that sound as scary to anyone else as it does me?!)  If you can't get rid of the ketones and you can't rehydrate, your blood becomes very acidic and starts to break down the fatty acids, and your body begins to break down.... everything in your body hurts, your heart rate elevated, your breathing is labored, you start to vomit and you have now gone into a complication called Diabetic Ketoacidosis: DKA.  

DKA untreated results in death.  

This concludes our Diabetes Education Moment.* 

There will be a time in your life when all at once, a great fear is realized and materialized too quickly for you to blink and understand.  And when you do finally blink; it's a slow blink.  When your eyes are closed, it's gone; the fear, the sadness.  And then your eyes open to a your life in front of you.  And you see it differently; the awful and sad, scary, great realized fear.  For me, this is a reminder of the promise of Heaven and the end of all the heaviness and the grey that you want to ignore and forget with every fiber of your selfish being.  Breathing DEEPLY with something along the lines of "I didn't want this cup Lord..."  or maybe if you're me: "this is awful and I hate it and it's really just not fair".

On Sunday, Bug woke up with a stomach virus.  One I had been awaiting due to the amount of cases going around her Kindergarten class.  All the other moms were saying "It's not a big deal, she got sick one or two times and then it was over."  So I was ready.  And true to trend: she got sick two times and then was fine!  Her blood sugars were not crazy high, her mood was great, she seemed fine and by lunch time she wanted to go for a walk.  I left her in front of a movie and went downstairs to work on the laundry and attend to the other human I raise, whom I had sequestered to another TV watching situation, in hopes of keeping the virus in one location/human.

When I got back to the patient 30 minutes later, things had turned drastically.  Her face was grey, she looked listless and was asleep.  I checked her blood sugar and it had jumped up almost 100 points in an hour.  I gave her some insulin via her pump and watched and prayed and waited.

Over the next 12 hours she got sick every 15-30 minutes as her blood sugar climbed quickly; not responding to the insulin corrections we were giving every 2 hours.

I called the Endocrinologist on call to make sure we were doing everything right.  I was so confused!  How could this quick "not a big deal" virus have turned into THIS?!  He said we were doing everything right but if her blood sugar continued to not respond to insulin, we would need to go to the ER.

Doesn't that sound so drastic?!  Of course I brushed it off (slightly) and decided she needed a shower and we'd be fixed!  The Emergency Room seems so serious and final!  The ER is where you go when you aren't breathing, or you break a limb, or your bleeding so badly they have to cut your clothes off to get to the wound to hold your body together.... too much TV watching on my part???

3:30 AM rolled around and Bug woke to get sick and I checked her blood sugar, getting a 595 reading. (normal blood sugar is 180)  I woke my husband to look at her.  She looked so skinny and her skin all over her body as a weird grey color.  Her nail beds were blue and purple and there were circles under her eyes that were a dark grey/navy color.  Her blue eyes were more blue than I've ever seen them; (another side effect of a high or low blood sugar in her specific case.)  She was completely out of it and making no sense... babbling about random things and asking for warm milk.  Her breathing was labored and quick.

We packed a bag and carried her to the car, too weak to walk.

By 6:30 AM we were settled in our room in the ICU and I finally felt relief in a strange way.

I can't fix it.  But all these lovely smiling people in matching clothes seem to be extremely confident and have it all under control.  I sat at the edge of her bed, remembering how tiny she was when we were there the first time 5 years before.

She laid still, almost lifeless, with her eyes closed while they poked and prodded and asked her what day it was and what her name was.  She was completely emotionless but managed to open her eyes long enough to ask for chocolate milk multiple times and "is it almost time to go home?"

A full day of worry, number and level quoting, advice and questions, doctors and nurses, visits from friends and so very much hand washing.  I laid down to sleep that night on the foam-cushion-bed provided, feeling the same emotion I felt 5 years ago, in that same spot.... total and complete defeat and exhaustion.  I did everything right!  How did we get to this point?!  All at the same time, grateful to be safe and no longer in charge of keeping her alive.  I watched the nurses come in every hour to take labs and check blood sugars while she slept, amidst the beeps and honks and constant noises of the ICU.

If you have ever reached the point of total defeat, it's hard.  It's hard to admit you are not enough.  It really really stinks to know and feel inadequacy on an (almost) daily basis.  But as soon as you do; as soon as you throw your hands up and say "TAKE IT, LORD, BECAUSE I CAN'T",  as soon as you stop trying to do it all, or be enough, or make it work for you... as soon as you just flat out lose and submit to the mystery of the Will of God; that's when you win.  You WIN.  You close your eyes.  You let go.  You breathe again.  Your heart remembers to beat.  You find rest in your loss and in knowing Someone else, Someone greater controls your days and nights, and will take on your great fears for you.

I finally gave in at 4:30am and went to sleep.

With the morning she woke with pink cheeks, asking for food and her daddy.

The rest of the day was full of more tests and pokes and blood draws, naps and jello, scrambled eggs, and yes, chocolate milk.

By the afternoon we were packing up to leave the ICU, and the hospital all together.  Still weak but happy to leave, she asked to get her nails painted on the way home.  Her daddy, of course, obliged.  We arrived back at her grandparents' house with red sparkly nails, flowers, balloons, and big hugs.

We got home and I jumped back into laundry and cleaning up all the things we brought home from the hospital; for fear that if I stopped to think, it would all come tumbling down and I would melt.  I tried to take it all back again.  The control, the order, the need for a normal.

My husband could sense I was on the edge, gave me a huge hug and I finally cried.  I couldn't breathe or talk or stand and could only get out the words "that was awful".

That is the only way I can describe it.  Watching your child's body be taken over by a condition you thought you knew and could control.  It was almost like being diagnosed all over again.  To re-feel the fear and uncertainty.  To remember it all again.  Remembering how serious it is.  Remembering how much I hate it.  Remembering that she will be living with it forever.  Remembering I can't fix it or take it on my own.

It WAS awful.  But it's over now.  I hate that it happened and that she has a "chronic illness" but I'm thankful in the midst of it ALL.

Still weary of germs and a do-over, and conscious of my defeat and my limits; I am grateful for the reminder of Heaven, thankful for the opportunity to see a light in a dark place, and in awe of how the Lord shines through those bright blue eyes.

He cares.  He loves. He takes it all because I can't.

Not that for one second I deserve it; but challenge accepted.