My husband Russell and I had been married 5 years when our first son, Max, arrived. We had all the excitement that young couples have, along with being totally clueless! Looking back now, I see how naïve we really were. While it was a blissful time, it was not without fear.
When Max was born, he had abnormally low blood sugar, and we had to scarily rush him to the ICU where he spent the next 17 days. It felt like the longest 17 days of my life.
Here’s the thing, Max’s problem almost wasn’t discovered in time! We had already been released from the hospital and were literally waiting for a wheelchair escort to leave for home. A nurse (or angel, depending on perspective!) asked to run one more, quick test as we waited. That test literally saved our son’s life. Without it, he would have gone into a coma at home, or it would have been too late and he might never have come back.
I had the normal “Oh my goodness” feelings that new moms have. I couldn’t believe I was bringing home a newborn and was bewildered at how small he was. It was fantastic and overwhelming! But, on top of all that came the worries and fears that, “Dear God. Our son almost died and we had no idea we were that close to tragedy. What if we’re that close again, and we just don’t know? How will I know if he’s in trouble? What if I miss something and the bottom falls out again?” I was full of anxieties I never imagined I would ever encounter.
We got home and health problems continued. He was soon diagnosed with RSV and we had several scares of him going blue and gasping for breath. Feeding problems meant that Max never slept longer than 45 minutes for his first 5 months of life. That kind of exhaustion was unlike anything I’d never known possible!
At six months old, he had surgery and came home with a catheter…Can you say double diapering? Hearing the doctor say how careful I needed to be (me, with zero fine motor skills) brought me to my deepest point of inadequacy. I felt like I was constantly trying to just keep my head above water. I questioned why “everyone else” was able to have a baby and seemingly cruise through so well while I felt like I was treading water at best and usually, gulping water. I was drowning in my fears and insecurities.
Still, it wasn’t all bad. Through all the duress, I was also falling deeper and deeper in love with my son. I was fascinated by his growth, his emerging personality and his desire to be independent – already showing itself during that first year!
When we celebrated Max’s first birthday, it was even more than the typical first birthday milestone – it was a pivotal change in all our lives as (praise God!) his health stabilized, his countenance relaxed and our parenting lives changed from a sea of fighting not to drown to calmer waters.
And just as the calmer waters encircled us…we found out we were pregnant again! OH MY! Once I got over my initial shock and feelings of “oh my goodness oh my goodness oh my goodness…” we had our second son! Little did I know that later down the road we would welcome a third and fourth son as well! What blessings
We’ve experience the love, joy, celebration and elation of raising 4 boys…along with the sanctification God brings through facing things that feel like a tsunami and coming through the other side more humbled, more dependent on Jesus and therefore, more alive. It hasn’t been easy. Sometimes it’s seemed downright unbearable. While we weren’t entirely prepared for all the ups and downs parenthood brought with it, we can honestly say we’re thankful for it all!
-Memories from a brave Mama of four boys in Middle Tennessee
*Names have been changed for confidentiality