Friday, May 6, 2011

Being Real

Some days I wonder if it’s ever going to get to point where I don’t wonder if my kids are going to keep breathing on their own?

 *****


I have had an incredibly rough week. Some of it is directly related to the babies, and some of it is weeks of living at the NICU building up and overwhelming me. I had a complete nervous breakdown at the hospital on Wednesday afternoon that was the culmination of several days of trying to hold myself together. We have become very good friends with some of the nurses, and Cathy caught me trying to bug out of there in an emotionally frazzled state. I ended up just dumping everything on her. Like I said, some nurses have become wonderful friends (and I could type out a whole list of these wonderful women!)

It was decided that I should probably go see my doctor to talk about getting something to help me though the next few months. Yesterday, I went back to the midwife who found our quadruplets originally, and we talked about where I was emotionally with everything that we are dealing with. While we both don’t want me on medicine long term, we decided that for the next three months, I would use Zoloft to help with the anxiety and possible little bit of depression that I’m dealing with. I definitely do not have full-blown postpartum depression, but the anxiety has become more than I can handle by myself. Why am I throwing all of this out there? Because I think that anxiety and depression medications can have a bad rap in some Christian circles, and I think that’s incredibly sad. Consider this my little way of trying to help bring to light some of the problems that Christian women have to deal with. Tangent. Anyhow, I’m grateful for the help that the medication will provide so that hopefully I can sleep a little better at night and not drive myself crazy during the day.

That was yesterday morning. Pretty good timing considering what happened last night:

Elijah had another nasty episode while we were at the hospital. I was nursing the poor little guy and he quit breathing again. He has been doing so well, that for the last couple of days, we’ve been taking him off of his monitors so that he could nurse without wires pulling on him. I’m SO glad that I kept a close eye on him. By the time I realized that something was wrong, he was that horrible ashen grey color. I pulled him upright as quickly as I could and started pounding on his back but his tongue literally just rolled out of his mouth and his arms flopped at his sides. Thankfully, Martha, his nurse (and another good friend!), was still in the room. She ran over as quickly as she could and began trying to get him to breathe again. Unlike the last time he did this (which wasn’t nearly as bad), she couldn’t get him to inhale. She put him back in his crib and used a bag and mask on him, but he still wasn’t doing anything. She started going for the “Staff Assist” button, but I got there first and pushed it. Within about 15 seconds, Dr. Anderson (neonatologist), Paul (respiratory therapist), and the charge nurse were at his bedside trying to get him to come back. As soon as someone was there to take my place at Elijah’s crib, I stepped back into the corner to be out of the way and give in to the tears. It took a little longer, but Paul finally got him to give a gasp and a single wail and then his color started to come back.

I do pretty well in a crisis situation until it’s either over or someone can take my place, but I shouldn’t have to watch my kids do this. I HATE this. I HATE THIS SO MUCH! I can’t even nurse my kids without wondering if they are going to crap out on me. Obviously, when they come home, they are staying on those monitors 24/7.

Today, I took the day off from the hospital. I just needed a break, but all I’ve been able to think about are my kids. I don’t know how long Elijah wasn’t breathing before he started again, and that scares me. It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity. With the events of the last two weeks and the awful episodes that the boys have had, I can’t help but wonder if the hospital is going to send them home and then they are going to die on my watch. The neonatologists have promised over and over that they are not going to send them home until they are past this, but we are in a perpetual state of “they are coming home in the next 1-2 weeks.” What if they behave themselves for a week, come home, and then act up again?

I’m in a low place today. It’s one filled with anxiety, fear, and tears. I don’t want to watch anymore of these episodes. It’s too hard to see my kids like this!

But then I remember that my kids are relatively healthy and we are blessed to have four kids who are alive and have extremely good odds of living. Not every quad mama can claim all of that. There is such a sharp faith learning curve that Sean and I are experiencing. And sometimes it is so incredibly painful and exhausting. Somedays, I just don’t feel up to the task of taking care of my kids or even trusting God to watch over their need to breathe.

I don’t think that makes me a bad Christian. I think that makes me a real Christian. Transparency can be uncomfortable, but there it is.

--Posted by Rebecca

27 comments:

  1. I am soooo praying for you guys! You are not feeling anything abnormal. Everything is totally normal! This is such a spiritual growth time as well- it has to be, right? I remember so well! Your babies will come home when they are ready. It will be scary, I remember watching each one sleep for a few nights as they came home- it's soooo normal! It will get better and they will get more mature each day! Hang in there- chat if you need to anytime. We're all here for you! I'm glad you have meds to help you! Do not feel you need to explain yourself as a Christian. God provided Dr's who can prescribe what you need! :) Sending you lots of love! Kami

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  2. I still think about you all so often... but I realized today that since the babies were doing better and you were doing better with nursing etc... I have forgotten to pray for you all as often as I should... I will do better. Hope that the medicine will help you get past this slump and hard time...

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  3. Sharri Adkins ZahnterMay 6, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Rebecca u have been a remarkable Christian given what u have been through. Don't feel bad about needing a day off. To have the demand of 4 special babies would take everything out of the best of all of us. Just know that God is in control & the doctors wont send the babies home until they are out of danger! God Bless U & may u have a. Wonderful 1st MOTHER'S DAY! Butterfly Hugz! Sharri Adkins

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  4. Hi, I am Kathy Brinson's niece, Lora. I don't have magic words but I wanted to share one thing...When I got discouraged with my situation (a daughter with an incurable disease that little is known about, who is now 34 and every day is new data to all, as there are few adults with her disease) Anyways to the point I wanted to make...I used to question God, I used to ask why, I used to think I was being punished or God just hated me....and then one day it came to me...perhaps from Him? I was given Emily because I have the intelligence, the ethics, the morals, the strength, the support, the ability to care for her. If she had been given to some she would have died at day 10 when she slipped into a coma, or all the times we were told she would not survive, all the times we flew to the hospital for month long admissions...had God not give this child to "me" she might not be....I just want you to keep that in your heart when you feel overwhelmed, God gave you these babies and their issues because HE BELIEVED IN YOU! HE trust you! HE knows your heart! Although it feels horrid to go through, know that it is God's plan and you are the center of it working!

    My prayers are with you!

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  5. I just want to let you know you're in my thoughts and prayers.

    As for your question about worrying: you're their Mom so you'll never stop worrying, but it will gets far less extreme. Hang in there!

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  6. I love you, Rebecca! Ah! ...so hard, so much~ God. Is. There.

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  7. Sweetie, Christianity has nothing to do with "keeping it together". Remember, His strength is made perfect in our weakness. If Zoloft will help you function better and it's the best choice at present, you'd better be on it. Those babies need a strong and peace-full mother. Do whatever you can to keep yourself healthy spiritually, physically and emotionally and don't worry about what anyone else might think. This is for your husband and for your babies, as well as yourself! You are in my prayers. I love you, Rebecca! You are an AMAZING mother.

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  8. Rebecca,

    You are perfectly normal and deserve already so much credit for all that you have already survived with the babies. Also it is important for you to be healthy in every aspect, so if the zoloft helps then that is what you need. Keep your chin up, you are strong and the babies will be just fine and definitely the dr's won't send the babies home until they are ready. Happy Mother's Day!!!! Try to relax and enjoy it, because you are a mom and that is never going to change. Your life has eternally changed and in my opinion for the best.

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  9. Nothing to say that hasn't already been said but just wanted you to know that we are still praying!! Thanks for being transparent, it really is helpful to others who are burdened with doubt about what they can and can't do as a Christian. God gives each of us what HE knows we need and will be with us as we deal with each situation. Happy 1st Mother's Day!!! =)

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  10. So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

    Isaiah 41:10

    I love you and am incredibly proud of you!

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  11. Hi there....just want to say thanks for being real with your emotions and feelings. I don't look down on you at all for taking the meds to help you. I am a Christian and I have been on anti-depressant for years to help me. Sometimes I also have to take something for anxiety. Hopefully just being able to vent was helpful. Maybe you should do that more often! If you ever want some company at the hospital just let me know. I am starting school next week, but I still can probably sneek in a couple hours to pay a visit....(that is if they allow visitors)
    Hope this helps, a quote I heard this week on K-Love radio....Jesus WILL meet ALL of our needs, AS OUR NEED ARISES....so, don't worry about coming home, He will give you grace for that day when it gets here! He will give you just the grace you need for each day as it happens!
    Praying for you and your family! Hang in there! You can do it! You are the best Momma for those babies!
    Jenny Slagle

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  12. I am so happy to see you are being real with yourself and even more happy to see you are talking about it openly! Good for you Momma Bear!!! You are shouldering a great deal and I am so proud of you for knowing when to say 'when'. Breaks are a wonderful way to recharge your battery and it is a very good idea to take a break when you realize it's time for one! I am pleased you have chosen to do a medication that will assist you with the emotional stress you are under. You would be surprised to know how many patients confide that they are on a mood stabilizing medication... to the tune of about 85%. You are among friends and I am so proud of you! All my love beautiful!

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  13. Becca and Sean,

    "Courage is not the absence of fear. It is fear in its proper perspective" ~ Mr. Bill Jack

    I have never seen parents with more courage than you two.
    Your testimony is going around the country.

    God has the 6 of you hidden under the Shadow of His Wing.
    He promises that and I know it is true.
    Let the rest of us hold you up in prayer. That is what the Body of Christ is all about.
    You rest under His Wing and the rest of us will pray and be there for you. We are here if you need us.

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  14. Virginia SeniorMay 6, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    My dear, you are a wonderful Christian & sometimes wonderful Christians need support & meds to help them through a crisis. A young mother isn't supposed to have such traumatic events & of course it becomes too much to bear. I pray for you & the babies daily & I'm sure many others are doing the same. God bless you & uphold you.

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  15. To be teaching us all during your most stressful moments AMAZES me!!!!!! You are such a wise christian woman and hopefully and prayerfully soon a peaceful, although very busy, christian woman!
    Much love, awe and prayers sent your way!!

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  16. I so admire transparency! Praying for you and your family daily!

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  17. Hi Rebecca,

    I have been following your journey but have never commented. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I am a Mom and a Christian and also on Zoloft. It took me until my daughter was 10 months old to admit I needed help. I have to force myself not to think about the times I missed out on because I was too anxious to live in the moment. Asking for help was a huge relief and the Zoloft has done wonders for my relationship with her and my husband. There is no shame in needing help. Good luck to you. Many prayers.

    God Bless,
    Mary

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  18. There is a reason for the word "faith." We cannot do it all on our own. We trust our Higher Power, and we have faith in that Power. You are amazing. Never doubt that.

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  19. Rebecca, Mike and I go to church with your parents. I have been reading your blog and praying for you all. Can't pretend to know what you are going through but I know God is in control and He won't let go. The meds was a great idea! It will help you cope with the stress. I admire you and Sean so much for the courage you are showing. You are going to be great parents! You have been given a road you may not have chosen but God didn't make a mistake, he chose the perfect parents for those little babies. Keep talking, rest when you can (if that is possible) and have faith in God that His plan is perfect, and just take it minute by minute. You aren't alone!

    Still Praying,

    Ellen

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  20. Rebecca and Sean-

    Hang in there. It's so scary and you're doing great. I played this game for 7 weeks with 3 of my 4. Just know we are all praying for you and your miracles. They have overcome so much already, this is just another little road bump.

    Rebecca, I'm proud of you for taking a day to rest and just think. Even though it was hard and you were thinking about the babies you needed it.

    Sending quad mama hugs! (prayers too!).

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  21. I just have one thing to say: the time my babies were in the NICU was the HARDEST time I've experienced thus far (and now they are 20 months). Hang in there momma. My heart and prayers go out to you.

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  22. Loved your honest, vulnerable post... the enemy wants you to feel "bad" and guilty for your emotions and isolate yourself from others. On the other hand, this post is one of the bravest and wisest things you could do... openly share your needs and allow others to minister to you. You also ministered to others as you wrote! I agree with all the above - God chose YOU and will guide you and help you do ALL that is needed for your little ones. Take heart... take courage... He is with you always... and we - and many others will be praying! Love to you!

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  23. Rebecca,
    I just wanted you to know that we're
    always praying for you fervently- no matter what! Go Ishum's!
    -Joshua

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  24. Rebecca,

    Happy Mother's Day! I had taken a FB break when your sweethearts were born so I wasn't in touch, but I wanted to say you are a remarkable, amazing mother and I don't have to meet you to know that. Being a Christian mom, we want to always do what is best, right, and amazing for our children and you taking care of you is included in that. I am definitely on a journey like yours and learning these same things. I am so sorry you are feeling this way, but know you are not alone and your quad mommas are here to support you in any way we can. You are real and human, have emotions, and girl you have 4 babies in the NICU!!!! I had to realize that myself too early on, I put way too much pressure on myself. I will pray for you and your babies and know He is holding you, it's during the most insanely difficult times that he is the closest. I know I don't have to tell you that, but just thinking on that helped me so much. Sending you so much love. Michelle

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  25. Oh sweet Rebecca, I can ONLY imagine what you are going through. First, I want you to know Bill and I support your need for a medication for your anxiety and depression. Afterall, you're human, and you're under a tremendous amount of stress with such tiny little lives that you expect to come home someday soon. Taking medication isn't a bad thing when it's needed. Period.
    But it's wonderful to hear your faith. Real Christians will always struggle with real life situations, and when those situations involve one or more of the people we love, the struggle is greater and the test of our faith is greater as well. But I KNOW God will get you through, that He continues to watch over you in this life. Your precious babies are no different to him.

    Allow yourself to cry, and cry out to God when you need to, take a walk, take a break, take a day for yourself if at all possible. Remember...if you were on an airplane and suddenly the plane lost pressure, you would be instructed to put on an oxygen mask FIRST so you will be able to take care of your children NEXT. The principle here isn't much different...this is only one of many times to come that you will need to place your care first so you can continue to be the best possible mother that God know you are.

    I will pray and continue to pray for you, for our Father to strengthen, comfort and encourage you, for Him to provide some time for you to step back and refresh yourself so you can continue onward in this incredible journey, and for you to continue to rest in the knowledge that He's got the little bitty babies...in His hands, just as he does the whole world. I will also ask our Father to continue to place His hand of protection and healing on those 4 babies as I know has from the beginning of time.

    You are an amazing woman, Rebecca. Sean and your children are so very, very fortunate to have you in their lives.

    Matthew 6:26-34

    Patty Hubbard

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  26. Praise God that he is here to help guide you through the questions and decisions you have for the health of your little babies and the hospital won't send them home until all is well. I love you two and those four little babies, I hope that one day, we too will have a place in your heart to help you when you get home. I strongly believe with Mrs. M's comments, for they are true. I also agree with Mary. don' miss a moment in your babies lives. When you all get through this, you will see so many more miracles that God has in store for you and never feel shy about asking for help. He alone will help guide you through all.
    Love you, mom

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  27. As a new mom on PPD meds, I couldn't agree more. I don't mind telling anyone I am on meds because I don't want anyone to ever think there is something wrong with getting help. If anyone would say anything negative, I would ask then if they would seek treatment for cancer if they had it. This is no different. Good for you for getting help. You will be able to be a better, more calm mama for it. Praying for your babies! (and you and hubby!)

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