Stephen's Story (Part 4)

After the surgery, baby boy didn’t do anything but sleep for hours and hours. He fussed a little when we changed his diaper and when the nurses came to check on his bandages, IV, etc. But for someone who just had surgery, he was such a sweetheart…all of the nurses commented on how he had the best little disposition, despite the fact that he was probably in pain and didn’t know where he was. When he finally did wake up later that night, he actually smiled at his night nurse and tried to “coo” at her. :-) Dr. God-Send came to the room a couple of times to check up on him as well. He commented on how great he was doing each time. He wanted us to try and get him to drink as much Pedialyte from a bottle as possible so that he wouldn’t reject the bottle completely after the surgery (one of the possible complications of this type of surgery is that it can make some babies hate to eat even more, but it is pretty rare for that to happen).

At first he didn’t want to drink anything, but then it got better. He was pretty out of it from the pain medication even while drinking from the bottle, but that helped him to not be afraid of it. He could only drink tiny bits at a time. However, he was doing well compared to a lot of babies who have the surgery. I just kept praying that things would continue to get better with time.

We stayed in the hospital for 2 days after the surgery to make sure Stephen would drink/eat well before going home. On the 2nd day of our stay, the doctor wanted us to try his formula again. Thankfully Stephen was able to drink it, though again, he could only handle little bits at a time. But at least he was keeping it down completely and not choking on it either!

The doctor/surgeon warned us that Stephen’s recovery would take time, as little as 2 weeks or up to a month, for the swelling to go away, his stomach to stretch back out and for him to eat like a normal baby. It was almost like bringing home a newborn again. He had to eat every 2 hours because he could only eat little bits, so we went back to getting no sleep. The doctor also said it was possible he would lose some weight after the surgery, but not to be alarmed because he would probably gain it back and then some once he could eat more again.

Things continued to be difficult for a few weeks. Stephen finally got to where he could eat every 3 hours and eat a little bit more at a time. But he would still fight the bottle at times too. We went to our follow-up appointment with the surgeon to see how he was doing, and I was really scared when they weighed him. He had lost 2 oz., but the doctor said that was a very small amount and not to worry. He scheduled another follow-up appointment for 2 weeks later.

Gradually, things started to improve. Stephen was fighting the bottle less and less, and starting to eat more again. I could lie him down flat on his back for the first time since he was born without worrying about him choking to death! Since we had gotten the okay from the doctor, we traveled to my parent’s house in my hometown so I could attend a baby shower of a really good friend. While at my parents,' Stephen suddenly began to act like a different baby! He began eating like crazy and eating more at a time, and he was hardly fighting the bottle at all! He acted like he actually wanted to eat for the first time in a long, long time!! He ate so much during the day that at night we were able to sleep 4 1/2 - 5 hours straight through, which had never happened before. I was shocked and amazed and beyond thrilled that things were so drastically improved. I think I actually danced from happiness the one night before bed! We returned home a few days after the baby shower feeling like we were finally on the road to normalcy!

However, when we got home, Stephen started acting fussy and fighting the bottle. He also started chewing on everything and eating his hands, along with drooling. He had definitely started teething! Then he started acting like he didn’t feel good, and I took him to the doctor to discover he was teething and had a virus. :-(

So here we are now.

Stephen is still a bit under the weather, and the teething thing is awful. He continues to fight the bottle some, but he is eating, and to me, that is all that matters! I keep praying that as time goes on, things will continue to get better and better.

Some things I have learned the past 4 months: (1) Listen to your heart/your gut/your Mommy intuition/Holy Spirit when you know something isn’t right. Don’t listen to what everybody else says, even if they think they have good advice or try to scare you or try to make you feel nuts. FIGHT for your baby and don’t give up, no matter what!!! (2) You are stronger than you feel and when you think you can’t possibly go on, God gives you the extra strength somehow. (3) Walk by faith, not by sight. (4) Love IS enough to keep you going, esp. when it is God’s love, whether you believe He loves you or not at the time. (5) You can be a good mom even if you can’t be the kind of mom you thought you were supposed to be. (6) You won’t go to hell if you can’t breastfeed your baby (thanks for that quote ____, you know who you are)! (7) It’s easier to judge others when you feel like you’re being judged yourself. God obviously gives us really hard times to humble us.

One of the saddest things is that I am beyond terrified of having any more children. I absolutely do not want another C-section. And I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to VBAC either. Nor do I want the emotional trauma of failing to breastfeed again. We’ve talked seriously about adoption, which was already something we really wanted to do even before we got pregnant. I wish I could go back and change things, or peer through a looking glass to see what might have gone wrong while pregnant. The truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever know. But whatever happened, I don’t want to put a son or daughter through it again. I don’t want to be the cause of another precious baby’s hurt and pain.

So, there are still parts of me that are trying to stay cold and bitter towards things that have happened and towards people who have stomped all over my heart. There is a lot of brokenness in me from everything that has happened, and a lot of unnecessary guilt and feelings of failure. My heart still hurts. And sometimes I am angry with God. It know is going to take time for that to heal, but I am thankful that the Healer hasn’t left me. More than that, I am thankful the Healer has had His hand on Stephen since I found out I was pregnant over a year ago. I continue to ask “why” about everything, and I feel like it’s not fair that we had to struggle so much. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an answer to most of my “why” questions. But I do know that I’m going to be okay, that Stephen’s going to be okay, and that if God can get us through what we’ve already been through, He can get us through anything that may happen in the future!


StephieD said...

I have to admit, when I got to the quote about not going to hell for not breastfeeding, I laughed out loud. It felt good to hear someone else say it also. :) I love how strong and determined you are. I understand how you feel about having more children. The pain and complications I went through with the pregnancy and the complications during the delivery with Monster have me not wanting more children either. You are a good Mommy and Stephen is blessed to have you... And I'm blessed to have you as a friend! :)

USMC Wife said...

You are a wonderful person Sara and a wonderful mama. Thanks for sharing your story and everything you guys have gone through. :)

Jeannie said...

Sara, You don't know me but I am Aprilles mom. I remember praying for you when Stephen was born. But I had no idea of the struggles you and he have had since. I just read you Stephens story and your reasons for leaving facebook. If you were here I would just give you a hug and try to let you know that I care. You sound like an awesome mom. Never feel guilty for feeling what you feel or taking a stand for what is right for your child. Keep up the good work. I will be praying for you.

So Worth It. said...

I heard about your family through a prayer chain on Faceplant. :) I wanted to tell you that I am a mom of 3 girls, 11, 8 and 20 months. My 8 year old was born 4lb 11oz, full term. I couldn't breastfeed for the same reasons as you. her mouth was too small, my breasts were too big and she had severe GERD that was keeping her from being able to eat or thrive. At 2 months, they said they NEEDED to do emergency surgery. The second opinion said it could wait. She never had the surgery, but had issues (vomiting, pneumonia, low weight, daily meds for 6 years) for a long time. She will be 8 this month and has been off her meds for a year and her last endoscopy was clear and healthy. We just got her sports physical done and she's cleared to play. She also has a migraine condition that has begun to fade with time. My point in telling you is this: My experience as a mother has been anything but easy... for more reasons than just this... and it looks as though you've been through your trials as a mother, too. I applaud you for making the decisions you feel best for your baby and your faith in God to guide and support you through this. But I also want you to know, from someone who read your story like a memory, that this too, shall pass... and your son CAN and WILL heal and live a full, happy life. :) Keep your faith strong and when the hard parts threaten to steal your joy, look at your baby boy and take it right back.

Heather Gasper Rhodes said...

I was not sure exactly what had happened from all of Stephen's issues. I knew he had some stomach stuff but never had a chance to get in touch with you and find out more. I am so glad he is doing better. I was unable to breast feed as well, but I figure that God had someone to prevent formula for Moms like us that can't. We need to get together soon. Life is hard between work, baby, and keeping everything in life caught up. However, spring break and summer are fast approaching. Hope to see you soon.

KC Christian Doula said...

I love your blog, but I can't follow it because your network blog link isn't working.

Thank you for the link from the moms group on Facebook.

Proud Marine Wife said...

It's been a loooong time since I read your blog. A long time since I've been able to write,too. First, congrats on your baby boy, despite all the obstacles and difficult decisions, you are one AMAZING moma !! God has a mighty big plan on his life as well as yours. He is already being shapped into a wonderful little boy ! :-) I had a little girl named Airlie on February 16th with an emergency c-section, as well. I do wish they would just all do dissolvable stitches or something easier, I had stapples too. Such a pain. And got a rash and then an infection on top of that. Our battle scars, right ? We are certainly going to adopt next time, too. I felt awful for not being able to breast feed but now it's not so bad. I'm so sorry it's been such a rough road for y'all ! Will be keeping you and you're family in our prayers. He's absolutely precious !