Making Choices and Accepting Not Having Control

I apologize that this was not posted yesterday.  Our internet was down, so it was out of my control.  I’m trying to get in the habit of early morning posts.  However, I’m just going to do my best, and it might not be 6am everyday.

I’ve been reflecting on the first month after C was born, I learned so many lessons during that time.  Today, I want to write about what I think may be the most difficult thing about mothering.  We must make choices for our children as we bring them up, and all of our research, due diligence and personal conviction can not guarantee the results we want.  I re-learned it during a 7 day stay at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

As you may recall, I was a both of a wreck already.  When C was 10 days old, he felt warm.  I took his temerpature, and it was 101.  This is of course too high, and I got him in a cool bath while I waited to hear from the doctor.  It was terrifying, and we were instructed to head to CHW immediately.

Mom, I do not like this hospital gown

Mom, I do not like this hospital gown

We packed for an overnight stay since it was already late evening when we left.  Unfortunately, we came right on the cusp of visiting hours.  My husband had to take our daughter home, while I stayed with C.  In the ER, I was devastated to learn that with a newborn they have to look for every possibility, and that a 48 hour stay would be the minimum.

In the ER my baby had 3 pokes in the arms and leg before a blood draw was successful and an IV was inserted.  He urinated right before they used a catheter to “empty” his bladder,  this procedure was repeated again the next day because there was not enough urine in the first test (duh!) to draw accurate results.  He also had a botched spinal tap, and a successful one.  He was put on two strains of antibiotics until the cultures came back.

The last dose of antibiotics!

The last dose of antibiotics!

It was horrible, now bear in mind I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL that we were able to receive the care he needed.  However, watching your newborn endure all of this, while being separated from your partner and toddler is heartbreaking.

After 6 hours of antibiotics it was clear that he had a bacterial infection, but it was a few days before we knew it was a urinary tract infection.

You may already know that UTIs are uncommon in males, but they do occur more frequently in males with intact foreskins.  Our little man happened to be one of those rare cases.

On this topic we had the entire spectrum of advice from different doctors, residents and specialists.  Some of the advice we received was given with great information, some of it was given with great emotion, and some of it was given very disrespectfully.

At the end of it all (and many more procedures) no doctor could explain how he got a UTI or guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again.  We decided that the best way to treat a male UTI is the same way you treat a female UTI: antibiotics, good hygiene and hope for the best.

Now, we had an added layer to these debates or conversations with medical staff.  We had already made a series of unconventional choices for our son, and all of them were questioned:

Home-birth

Water-birth

Using Donor Milk

Declining Erythromycin (antibiotic for the baby’s eyes after birth)

Using oral vitamin K instead of injectable vitamin K

Declining Hepatitis B vaccination

Opting against circumcision

I’m used to scrutiny and lots of raised eyebrows for my crunchy ways, but none of these seemed has intense as it did during our stay after the UTI was discovered.

Baby of Steel, the IV stayed in for 7 full days. Here of our amazing nurses removes it.

Baby of Steel, the IV stayed in for 7 full days. Here of our amazing nurses removes it.

A few reflections on making and living with my decisions as a parent:

At some point you must decide.  

Many decisions in life can be delayed for quite some time, but there are lots of decisions in parenting that are time-sensitive.  Vaccinations was one of them, now if I declined I could change my mind and go ahead and vaccinate as I saw fit.  But once I decided to vaccinate, I couldn’t take it back. This felt like a really harsh lesson, it feels like that often in daily life of parenting.  Eventually, I have to make a decision.

You can’t be an expert on everything

This is a reality of life and it is obvious.  I can’t be an obstetrician and an oncologist, and a rheumatologist, etc,.  I can educate myself, but there is no way to know and understand every debate of parenting.  I just can’t.  With each of my pregnancies and with medical care for each of my children, I have done my research.  No, I could not possibly pour over every research study on each of these topics. I have looked at the spectrum of advice for and against each, and decided what seemed best to me, for me and for my babies.

You should still educate yourself

I firmly believe people, parents in particular, should educate themselves about health care.  We should chose care providers who offer the care we believe in, and they should be people we trust.  Take time to understand why things are recommended and then see if there are reasons to decline that recommendation.

I think knowing why you made a decision makes acceptance of undesirable results easier to bear.  An off-topic example would be my breastfeeding journey.  I believe that breastmilk is the best way to feed my babies, that made it possible for me to push through multiple challen

Your choice does not guarantee your desired results

This is the hardest, isn’t it?  I can’t guarantee that the amazing schooling will make my child a success as an adult.  I can’t be certain that my child won’t get a disease s/he was vaccinated for.  I can’t be certain that my home birth will go as planned.

Oh, this one HURTS.  I had made this series of decisions that, for that week, no one around me liked.  We decided that there was no medical reason to circumcise, and found ourselves in a situation where it might be advisable.  Our research, our prayers, our hope didn’t prevent a UTI.

It is hard, choices we make for the well being of ANOTHER DEFENSELESS HUMAN BEING that we are in love with, come with to guarantees.

This mothering thing, parenting is full of these heart-wrenching choices.  Decide we must, and hope, maybe pray for the best.

Finally, my faith in Christ has helped me through these hard decisions.  Knowing that I am really not in control is hard to accept, but knowing that I serve a good God, allows me to rest in that lack of control.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Don’t remember who said it but my favorite quote, especially lately is “It didn’t go as planned, and that’s ok.” Parenting is hard and we just need to go with our instincts.

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