of faith, family, love, Ollie, prayer, I give thanks.

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but I just haven’t gotten it all out yet. This is going to be pretty long, but I need to write this.

Pretty much all of you know that Ollie was desperately, life threateningly ill about a week after he was born. He was born on November 4th, came home on November 5th, and returned to the hospital on November 12th with the fever. He was admitted to ICU on November 14th, and we were finally able to come home on November 26th.

Let me start off by saying that I am incredibly, indescribably grateful for Oliver. We are so lucky that he is such a fighter, and that he decided to stay with us, that he never gave up, despite the pain and the odds. Please do not mistake this post for me somehow not recognizing the fact that Ollie is a miracle. I know that we were amazingly luck in the face of such much.

I will never have another infant. One day, maybe, depending on our financial situation, I’d like to adopt or foster a child. But that child will not be an infant. With Landon, the first six weeks or so of his life were horribly stressful. I honestly suspect that Bobby had post partum depression. We were attempting to finish building the house in AJ. (The house we would later walk away from.) We had a new baby. We were moving. We were so stressed out. Landon wouldn’t eat, he had a milk allergy, and he ended up in the hospital. I am surprised that all of us, that our marriage, that our family survived all of the stress, let alone came out of it intact. The first six weeks of Landon’s life were a dark time. I did not get to relax and enjoy any of his “newborn” period. His newborn period sucked.

I knew that a lot of what sucked about Landon’s newborn period was the hectic point we were at in our life, and his allergy. I was really looking forward to Oliver’s newborn period. I was looking forward to somehow making up that terrible time of Landon’s newborn period with happy newborn memories. And when Ollie was born, I was so happy. I was so content. Both of my children were beautiful babies, but with Ollie I could enjoy that beauty. If you ask anyone who saw me on Nov 5-11, they will tell you about how happy and content I was. Ollie’s birth was a dream of perfection. He nursed like champ. Yes, he has a weird sleep schedule and I was not getting enough sleep, but everything was well in the world.

And then that fucking fever struck. I can’t tell you how pissed off I was about it. The last thing I wanted to do is go sit unnecessarily in the hospital for three days for Oliver to get over a minor virus. I’d done that before when Landon was 5 weeks old, and it was stressful and not fun, but everything would be fine. We’d just all be uncomfortable and annoyed for a few days. I didn’t want to go.

Bobby and I agreed, in the end, that “Better safe than sorry” was the right path to take, and I went to the hospital. I expected to be out in three or four days. I was mad when the doctor wouldn’t let us go home, because Ollie seemed to be improving. Instead he took a turn for the worse. I have to send my love and my blessings to the doctor who told me that he had to stay. I was rude to her, I was mad at her, when she told me these things. SHE SAVED OLIVER’S LIFE by keeping us. If I had taken him home, he would have died.

The hospital was amazing, the doctors and nurses worked so hard. And I prayed so hard. I’m a pagan, and I used to really believe in the supernatural. And I’ve become more practical as I have gotten older. I still felt that there was a higher power, but I wasn’t so sure that the higher power was listening, or involved. My faith had waivered, and while, if asked, I still believed, but I didn’t feel it inside me anymore. You would think, for someone who had their own form of religion, I’d have more faith in it that I wouldn’t become jaded by it, but I think I had.

I prayed so hard when we were in the hospital. I asked everyone I knew to pray, or send positive energy. We even let the hospital pastor pray over him. I went to the chapel outside of ICU and fell to my knees and prayed and cried, every single time I walked by it when I was by myself. I really do think that it helped Oliver find strength. I know that I found strength from it. I know that it helped me to get through each day, when there was nothing to do but hold his little hand and watch the numbers on the machines that kept Ollie alive. There was one or two days where I was almost afraid to touch him at all, because when you touched him, his blood pressure would drop.

On November 19th, The Hench met for dinner. Oliver had been in ICU for five long, terrible days. In those five days, it felt like a lifetime had passed. In those five days, Ollie had not opened his eyes. I asked The Hench, knowing that they all have different religions and different beliefs and different backgrounds, to hold a moment of silence, or prayer, of positive thoughts, or whatever they wanted to call it. They did. And Oliver opened his eyes within an hour of The Hench sending their positive energy to him.

I like to think that my rebirth into faith would have happened no matter the outcome of Ollie’s stay. I think I would have taken comfort from my belief in a higher power and my belief in the afterlife. But I’m much happier that I got the positive experience of seeing the prayer work, than simply praying for his soul after it was gone. I am so grateful, and I feel so blessed. I’m not trying to prosthelytize, I’m just letting you know how I feel.

All of that said, I feel like the newborn period for both of my children was stolen from me, was tainted with terrible memories. I can’t hold a newborn and not feel slightly cheated. I hope as time goes on that will pass. I have such fear and trepidation where I feel I should have joy and laughter. I have terrible memories. I have horrible nightmares and flashbacks. I find myself breaking down crying when I hear the terms “turned septic” or “ICU” sometimes.

And when children get sick or are seriously threatened in books, TV, movies? I want to turn it off and cry for a long, long time. When children are seriously ill? Especially young children? I can’t do it anymore. It’s not poignant entertainment, its just pain.

I still get up in the middle of the night to ensure Oliver is still breathing. I still wake up at 2AM with a sinking feeling in my stomach and I have to get up and peek in his room before I can go back to sleep.

Part of the reason I encouraged Bobby to get his vasectomy is because I never want to have another newborn. I can’t take the pain. I’m so thankful that he had it done, even if I occasionally have twinges where I think about having a girl child.

I pray that my children are healthy, that we’ve had our major medical scares for the next 20 years.

And I am so thankful for all of you who prayed for Oliver. Thank you. Your energy sustained me, and I think it sustained him as well.

I am thankful for my family in a way I never was before.

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