Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Treasuring what is

Here we are, exactly one month since my last post and wow, has life changed. Timothy is a 7 week old, on the sweet cusp of sleep training. Mary Kate is 3.5 and is equal parts sweet and sass. And our Tom. Well, our Tom is expanding our hearts every day.

When I envisioned Timothy's first weeks at home, I thought that our  family would hole up during the winter months, playing, nursing the baby, and enduring the sleepless nights with cozy days at home. I thought we would start feeling normal again right about the time spring rolled around and we would all come out to play, enjoying our new home, new hiking trails and beautiful nature.

Tim was born amid such relief and gratitude for another healthy baby. Thomas turned 15 months a day later and our pediatrician agreed to see them both for their well  child appointments on the same day, assuming like I did that we would be in and out in 20 minutes.

2.5 hours later, we left with a severely jaundiced baby and a host of concerns for Thomas. We spent literally every day of Tim's first two weeks of life at the doctor getting his little heel pricked countless times, spending one awful night under bilirubin lights, and waking every 2 hours to feed him. We even did blood work because the doctor could not figure out why his levels weren't decreasing. It was exhausting. And that wasn't the hard part.

7 weeks later, I am not nursing my baby (I am pumping 6x each day, which may kill me), I am not sitting around, cuddling a newborn (not that this was a realistic vision. I don't think any of my mama of 3 friends sat around cozying up to their 3rd baby). Timothy is fed many more bottles from other people's hands than mine. He is not held often during the day by me. My heart aches for the mama that I can't be to him right now. He is loved immensely though and our "village" is giving him lots of TLC. His daddy is more smitten with him than any newborns past because of lots of quality time.

Instead of cuddling my new baby, I am advocating and fighting and trying to help our middle baby. I spend my days on the phone (all too often on hold), or in doctors offices. Thomas will be 17 months old in two weeks. He is no longer on the growth charts, after a year of being very low on them. He has gross motor and speech delays, nowhere near walking and not saying any words in context. The older (and heavier) he gets, the more obvious his challenges become. I cannot carry two babies at once, when one weighs 27 lbs so we are learning how to juggle twins who are 15 months apart. We don't yet know a reason why all of this is happening.

And I am learning how to cope with a baby who needs more than I feel capable of giving. Thomas is phenomenal. He is smart and mischievous and incredibly curious. He loves figuring out how things work and his fine motor skills are definitely compensating for the gross motor skills. He is a social butterfly and can flirt like you have never seen. He is happy and funny. He is learning signs and is able to communicate a little more. Intensive therapy starts next week while we wait, wait, wait for blood tests and specialist visits. My heart explodes and breaks every day I spend with him.

I am 7 weeks post partum and haven't even been to my post partum doctor's visit. I am sad that our boy's path has these unexpected curves. But as I told my friend the other day, I know that every minute I spend grieving for what we may be facing, I am not treasuring exactly who God made Him today. I have hard days where I let the 'what if's' take me to a sad place. I googled his symptoms one night and vowed to never, ever do that again. It does not matter one iota what his eventual diagnosis, if there is any, may be. My heart bursts for this little guy, and his siblings, any way God chooses to give them to me. My friend Natalie gently suggested that it may be a very long time before we know anything. She is right. The waiting, it is hard. But each day that I wait, I get to renew my trust and faith that God knows what He is doing with our son. He has a great and beautiful plan for Thomas's life. God is making me into the mama he expects me to be through this journey. I only want for Thomas what the Lord desires for Him. It's all I want for all of my kids. So each day, I will continue to fight against fear and worry, choosing instead to praise and treasure these  gifts.

And if you are reading this, please pray for our boy. Please pray that God equips Ross and I to give him everything he needs to thrive and to live out the Lord's plan for his life.

a little physical therapy at the germ factory/bounce house

fun times with dad at the doctor. Dad is now a pro at handling Tom during blood draws :(

tired mommy on her first walk with all the kids

first smiles from timothy

no smiles from mk
Little Timothy meeting his Godfather Fr.Tim
surviving waiting rooms

how mama gets dressed