I hear your whimpers ring through my ears as your big, bright eyes stare up at me. You’re so tiny and frail yet you don’t look away for even a minute. I wonder how this was the life that was chosen for you, chosen for me. How did we end up here? How have we spent more of the past month in the hospital than at home? How have you managed to be so sick that you need around the clock medical care? I don’t understand sweet boy. We’ve worked so hard to keep you healthy yet even a little trip to urgent care turns into a dramatic ambulance ride to the ER where nurses and doctors rush to your bedside. Never did I think sweet child this is where my journey of parenthood would end me up at.
If I were to be honest with you sweet one I would tell you that the nights and days have been hard. Seeing you swarmed at times with 4 different nurses or doctors holding your little body down as you’re stuck with needles or swabbed for viruses. I can barely handle it. I can barely watch as you scream in agony and pain and look up at me with those giant eyes as to say, “Mom, make it stop.” Sweet boy how I want to take your pain away. How I want to strengthen those frail little lungs. How I wish that the way you entered this world was different, how if different decisions would have been made while you were still in the womb things might not be as they are. Sweet child I cannot change those things though, as desperately as I wish I could. Oh darling boy, I beg Jesus to just let you rest, to let you get better. I plead to family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers to pray for you. Hoping, wishing, believing that Jesus will hear their cries and heal you.
Your medical team is strong. The doctors, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, and specialists, they all seem to know what they’re doing, but that is not without some strong advocating on my part. I see now where Jesus has prepared me for years just to bring me here. Foster care, teaching, being in the trenches of life has brought me to this point, the one where I can fight for you in a territory that I know nothing about. I see the amount of people around me that have given me strength when I need it most. I see where they have lifted me up and kept me going when I was weak. I thank God for them, for allowing me to have an outlet in a time of uncertainty and difficulty. Without them I would be lost and as a time such as now I need all the guidance I can get.
The lack of sleep, the inconsistency of a daily schedule, the ever beeping machines that keep us all alert all day and night, they dictate our new normal, so much that my body becomes worn and torn. I feel as if I can’t go another minute in the four walls of your room. The problem is that even to take a breath of fresh air I feel a swarm of guilt surrounding me, you look at me as I leave your room and that look stays with me from the first step into the hallway to the first step back into your room. I question over and over how other mothers and fathers do this. How do they spends months or years in the hospital? Your conditions are not life threatening. They require high needs now in this moment but upon a release to go home they are minimal in comparison to most. I question on a daily basis how others survive this life. I think of my medical mamas, better known as medical warriors, and I wonder how they ever find the strength even on their best days. I praise them for pushing through it all without wavering. I gather my hope and strength from watching them and knowing that if they made it through I can too.
This may all be hard right now. It may feel as if there are days I cannot take even one more step but what I’ve learned is that our strength is found in the most unexpected of places. I’ve cried out to nurses when it seemed no one else was hearing me. I’ve hugged coworkers when I felt like I had nothing left in me. I’ve poured out my soul to respiratory therapists whose only job is to make my child better, not to counsel me. Doctors who no longer care for my child come and check on him and it feels like I can breathe again. It feels like there is hope, that tomorrow will come, the night will not always be dark, and that we will make it, one way or another we will make it.