Saturday, May 24, 2014

How I've been blessed in my trials lately

Tommy will be four weeks old tomorrow. I have asked for many blessings in prayer in the last four weeks. I've had physical and emotional problems that have been really hard for me. I just want to write that Heavenly Father has given me many blessings and help during this time. In Priesthood blessings, I was promised that I would feel the love that God has for me during this time. That has always been something that didn't come naturally to me--feeling the love the Lord has for me. But, I think that the blessings he's given me have been to remind me of His love and care for me personally.

For example,
When I was deeply depressed and felt I couldn't come out of it by myself, I prayed and asked for help. I was able to sleep, but awoke the next morning still feeling sad. A talk by Elder Holland came to my mind, so I found the Ensign it was printed in and read that talk. It helped me so much. I was reminded that I've had these episodes of depression and anxiety before and that they didn't last forever. It gave me hope that I would come out of it this time too. Also, it gave me instruction that I needed, to care for my mind with rest and protection. I was deeply touched by the testimony of the Resurrection and thought of myself in that day, resurrected as myself, but "grand" and "glorious" in mind and body. I felt that throughout my life I have and will have periods of depression and anxiety, but I have felt rescued by the Lord. At these times, He has brought me back to myself and it's like emerging into a brighter light. Sometimes it has seemed like my eyes literally let in more light. It occurred to me that these times are like miniature Resurrections throughout my life. The Savior has rescued me before and I can always be rescued again. I'm prone to damning my personal progress by telling myself how awful I am, how unfair that my children don't have a better mother, among other things. I was impressed that I need to be kind and nonjudgmental to my own self. As I give myself a  break, I feel better because I'm not hurting my own feelings.

(And, I'm so much easier on Brandon when I'm easier on myself.)

Since then, I've noticed that when I'm not well emotionally--even when I'm feeling happy--unexpected disappointments, and incidents that make me worry or make me nervous seem monumental to me and I feel negative feelings (like fear, anger) more deeply. Just realizing that has helped me to recognize in the moment that while I'm truly feeling things, that doesn't mean that it's proportionate to the circumstances and it helps me calm down.

I have been pumping breastmilk. The baby started out as a great little nurser, but now he has realized that drinking out of a bottle is less work and he doesn't nurse anymore. I had a really healthy, realistic outlook on breastfeeding when he was born--I'd try to nurse, but no pressure; a happy mother is best for baby, better for baby than breastmilk. But, now that I'm in the thick of it, I've felt so guilty and so sad to stop giving him breast milk. But once Brandon goes back to work full-time, it will be impossible for me to continue pumping. There's just not enough time in the day to pump and feed the baby with a bottle, much less do all the other things that I need to do, like mothering my other kids, homeschooling them, and doing laundry and making dinner. I've felt very distraught about this and have prayed about it, "What should I do?!" I was reading the current issue of the Ensign one day and came across a talk about revelation by Elder Richard G. Scott. I was very surprised to find communication from God to me in that talk. But, as I read, I was reminded that I already made a list of pros and cons of nursing verses bottle (formula) feeding and saw that the lists of pros of formula feeding (for me) was longer than breastfeeding and I had already felt peace about stopping breastfeeding. Elder Scott says that we need to ask ourselves if God has already answered our prayers, and I felt that God had already answered mine, that I could stop nursing and stop pumping and it would be okay. So, I'm starting to wean from pumping, by letting more time pass between pumping. So, eventually, I won't be pumping anymore. I'm still sad, but I don't feel as conflicted or upset as I did. What really bothers me is that I won't nurse the baby, not that I won't spend so much time and energy pumping. But that ship has sailed and it's really not my fault. Also, it bothers me that he won't get breast milk. I feel so protective of him and want the best for him. But, Brandon thinks he will be fine and I can honestly say that the Lord hasn't told me that this baby needs breast milk and I need to make sure he gets it, so it feels best to move forward and not worry about it.

This morning I woke up with severe back pain. I couldn't ease the pain no matter how I sat or stretched. I couldn't hardly walk. It was so bad that I asked Brandon to give  me a blessing. I was blessed that I would be able to get rest so my body could heal itself. I took pain pills and went to sleep (when before I couldn't find any comfortable position) and I slept for a few hours and woke up feeling much better. I'm starting to hurt and feel bad again, but it's been several hours and I just took more pills.

I've had other physical ailments that I won't write about, but Heavenly Father has blessed me with healing.

Every time there's a new trial, I've prayed and He has blessed me. I know we can't expect the Lord to just give us everything we ask for, but I feel like He's been helping me see that He loves me.

Here's my beautiful baby.

Tommy, 3 1/2 weeks
Photograph by Michelle Thurgood

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tom Ellison Randolph-Seng

Tom Ellison Randolph-Seng was born Sunday, April 27th at 4:09 in the morning, 6 lbs 15 oz, 20 3/4 inches long, light brown hair. Beautiful, beautiful boy. He looks like his brothers. Tommy is the sweetest baby. We love him so much. 

Tommy's middle name is my grandmother's maiden name and he is named in honor of her father and mother, Fernie Lee and Eliza Berta Ellison and their family. Coincidentally, Fernie had a brother named Thomas Ellison. Personally, I thought Fernie could be a middle name that was so uncool, it was cool. But Brandon kindly, but firmly, vetoed it.   .  

The boys love him. Luke wants to hold him every chance he gets and periodically, Pete comes over just to look at Tommy, then he smiles or chuckles and then goes back to playing.

Tommy has brought the nicest feeling into our home. Brandon and I are really enjoying this heavenly influence and are kinder parents and kinder to each other even though we are severely sleep-deprived. I think our experiences over the last week have tempered us a little bit.

We almost didn't get to bring home our baby at all, he came so close to dying. I am so thankful for our nurses and doctors--those who literally saved his life when he was born with a prolapsed cord, unexpectedly breach and with no time to perform an emergency c-section. Our little boy was born not breathing and without a heartbeat and they resuscitated him using CPR. Miraculously, he is alive and the acidosis resolved very quickly after birth and evidence points to acute trauma, not chronic.

Almost unbelievably, the only big problem they could identify was very low blood sugar, for which he needed continuous fluids through an IV and so he was transferred from Rockwall Presbyterian to the Dallas Presbyterian NICU. He stayed in the NICU for 2 1/2 days until he could keep his blood sugar levels up without extra help, then he was transferred to the Special Care Unit Tuesday afternoon. Then his bili rubin count was high enough that he needed light therapy. He stayed until Thursday afternoon when he was released from the hospital with a pediatrician appointment scheduled for Friday. On Friday, he was doing well enough that he didn't need another blood test and he was given a clean bill of health. I'm so glad he didn't have to have more blood drawn because his little heels have been pricked so many times this week.

We have been so blessed. The doctors and especially nurses who have cared for us this week have been like angels ministering to us. I am really, really thankful Heavenly Father protected my baby.

I do want to mention a few things that I hope I'm learning from: 
--When my baby was transferred to Dallas and I was left in Rockwall having only held him once, I watched him crying on a closed-circuit camera. My nerves were pretty frayed after two days without any sleep, and I told the Lord that I could feel that I was on the edge of losing it. After praying I looked one last time and found him peacefully sleeping and then I turned off the computer and turned him over to God.  
--When I arrived the following evening in the NICU, I saw a huge, gorgeous photograph on the wall of wildly happy children, but it didn't make me happy. My gut reaction to their laughter was...resentment. It was this gut feeling and I wondered bitterly, "How dare they be so happy when my baby isn't okay?" I knew the moment was fleeting, but it opened my heart to others and I thought, "Oh, this is why someone might feel that way and no wonder." The world keeps on spinning even through all of our personal tragedies.
--That night I held my baby for 7 hours straight, then I slept for 4 hours and woke up to hold him again. In the little bay across from his, was a tiny baby boy-not yet 3 pounds--in an enclosed unit with no parent available to sit vigil by it's side. It dawned on me that I didn't know before what survivor's guilt was, and I'm sure I only know it now in a small way.
--I just have a new appreciation for parents who have babies and children in the hospital. I never really gave it much thought, but it is hard.