From the moment I found out I was pregnant I began to question my ability to be a mom. I think it’s normal to wonder “will I be good at it?”, “will I know what to do?”, “will I make the decisions that are best for my child?”. People assure you that you’ll be a great mom for your entire pregnancy, and naturally, you start to build up confidence. You start to believe that you can take on the world and that being a mom is just going to be easy, fun, and natural….. and then you give birth. Your world is turned upside-down, and, from that day forward, you second guess yourself on every decision you make because of the impact it may have on shaping your child’s life. It is true that being a Mother is the hardest job in the world. Not because changing a diaper is difficult or because feeding a baby takes time and effort, but because the emotional commitment it takes to love someone so intensely is the heaviest weight that can ever be placed on your shoulders. I know all you mom’s out there are saying “but it’s so rewarding”… and you’re absolutely right. It is so INCREDIBLY rewarding. But when challenges arise, and you aren’t sure if you’re making the right decision or you don’t know if you’re doing a good job or how to handle a situation, it consumes every ounce of your entire being. A challenge is no longer just something you ponder for a while, make a decision, and move on from. The term “let’s sleep on it” goes completely out the window, because these “challenges” consume you. They keep you awake worrying all night. There are things that happen that put you in front of the computer, where you research for hours (Google has actually become a part of our family, it’s last name is Mouw). And there are situations that make you fall on your knees in surrender to God because you have absolutely no clue what to do.
Motherhood. Is. Hard.
I would love to believe that as life goes on and you get more settled into being responsible for someone else’s life, you figure things out. But I’m not sure that will happen, because each day brings something new to the table. In my previous post I had talked about Zachary’s dairy and soy intolerance. He really seemed to be improving and we really thought that was it. Well, it wasn’t. Literally days after my last post, things got bad again. Basically overnight. He was screaming all day long and had more bloody diapers. (For those readers who aren’t yet parents, here is fair warning that the topic of “poop” no longer is funny, gross, or private… it is the story of your child’s health and you will talk about it, research it, and worry about it regularly, it actually becomes fascinating to you)
This past weekend was a complete wreck. Zachary was in so much pain and I was so helpless. We had continued playing around with my diet to see if we could figure anything else out that was upsetting his stomach. We had been to the Pediatrician a few times where they continued to tell us they didn’t see anything wrong. We had researched for hours and hours. Nothing seemed to be leading us towards the answer we were looking for. As a mom, I was feeling a tremendous amount of guilt believing that something in my diet was possibly hurting him so badly. I basically hated eating. (I say this in past-tense but I’m still struggling with the guilt of his pain and am trying to focus more on being well nourished than anything else, because not eating isn’t an option)
From our research we found that soy and dairy are the only allergens that should be causing bloody diapers – he doesn’t have any of either in his system to cause blood. If he was having a nut, corn, wheat, or other allergy reaction, he would be breaking out in hives – he isn’t. We also found that most of the time, allergy tests will come back negative for infants so there really isn’t a simple “test” they can do to find out what the problem is. We are learning that there is much more to the story than just something I’m eating. On Saturday, my dear husband researched (again) for hours while I had an emotional breakdown on the floor by Zachary’s crib. Nathaniel ended up e-mailing a local allergy clinic to see what our options are since our Pediatrician hasn’t been giving us any resources. In his e-mail he listed Zachary’s symptoms and what we had already been doing to try and fix the problem and the lack of results we were getting. To our wonderful surprise we got a reply on Monday morning from a nurse with some great information. She believes that Zachary’s “issue” is much more severe than just an intolerance to the foods I’m eating, she believes he has an intestinal infection. She thinks it’s a disease, but before a diagnosis has been made we’ll keep the name of it private. We don’t want to worry anyone unnecessarily and we don’t want to get our hopes up that we’ve found “the answer” in case this isn’t truly what is wrong with him. I will tell you this, from what we’ve found out so far, this disease is treatable and it doesn’t look like it would be something that affects him for the rest of his life. Praise the Lord!
As much as I would hate for my poor child to be diagnosed with an intestinal disease at such a young age, we hope and pray we are able to get answers so that he can start feeling better and we can truly put this behind us.
We have an appointment to go to the allergy clinic on Thursday at 10:00. It will take a couple of hours for them to run tests and fully examine the situation. We may or may not walk out the door with an answer but either way, I know it’s one step closer to getting Zachary better.
Again I’ll state: Motherhood is hard. I think that being a first time mom is especially hard. Mostly because I don’t know what’s normal and what’s not and I’m not emotionally prepared to face problems. I didn’t know that I would love Zachary so much and that his pain would bring me to complete despair. How can you ever prepare for these feelings?
Well, in the season of Thanksgiving, I’m trying to set aside time each day to be thankful. Even in the middle of such a huge problem, I know that God has given us so many blessings and they are just as important to think about as the things that worry me. Today, I am very thankful that Zachary is still developing normally, that his pain hasn’t hindered his ability to gain weight, to grow strong, and to learn new things. He’s so interested in the world around him, he’s watching where things go when they fall, he’s grabbing things (everything to be exact), he’s rolling around, he’s responding to my voice and my singing, he’s completely entranced by Packer, he loves to look at food and watch us eat, and he’s sitting up on his own. These are all things that seemed to happen over night, they are all incredible things, and they are all things that make me so proud. I fall in love with him more and more each day and I’m hoping that things settle down after we get his stomach problems figured out so that we can all be happy and comfortable. But, as I said before…. Each day brings something new.