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I Didn't Know - Lesson Two - The Worry is REAL

From the moment I knew about Ethan my mind raced with worry like I never knew possible. I prayed over his birth mother, for their safety and health.  Living states away was agonizing...not knowing how things were going...wondering how things were progressing. I cherished every text and e-mail update...but the worry never quite went away.
The day Ethan was born that worry skyrocketed. Hearing his tiny screams in the background, rushing around in a daze trying to pack and prepare for what was happening. Time stood still, but my mind raced with questions...and worry.
In the hospital all we wanted to do was spend every possible moment with Ethan. Just leaving the room to go downstairs to the cafeteria for a quick meal felt like an eternity. What if something happened while we were downstairs? What if he was crying and needed us? We hardly left the hospital after that first day - I just couldn't tear myself away from this tiny life who was miraculously brought into ours. That first car trip from the hospital to the hotel we were both a bit unnerved. We couldn't see teeny tiny in that big car seat.  Halfway across town Matt started to freak out that he was all slumped over. We quickly pulled over to confirm...he was peacefully sleeping away. (Exhale...and maybe Matt sat in the backseat with Ethan the rest of the time we were in Florida.)
I thought I would be able to play it 'cool'. I would never be one of THOSE moms - those hypochondriacs who cart their babies off to the doctor for every sniffle and scrape. Oh no, not me. I mean, I 'knew' I'd worry from time to time, as all parents do, but I didn't 'know' how the thought of anything happening to my son would tear me up inside. I surely never expected to spend several months fighting the fear of SIDS. At the peak of our mania we actually purchased a sensor to put on his diaper to alert us if he stopped breathing. We were that full of worry.  Of course I couldn't figure the darn thing out and told myself it was a silly contraption anyways and sent it back.  But that didn't stop us from checking the monitor relentlessly...or checking in on him each night before going to bed.
There have been many 'firsts' which stirred up worry deep in my heart that I never would have expected to be there.  The first time he slept in his own room.  The first time someone else drove him in their car.  The first time he had to get shots.   The first time he ate food...and gagged. The first time he slept passed 6:00 AM.  The first time he got a stuffy nose.  The first time he rolled over onto his tummy to sleep. The first time he scooted across the floor. So many milestones which I would have expected to celebrate without pause, made me worry about safety. Good grief, who am I!?
This past weekend we had another first which scared the crap out of us, quite frankly. Ethan got sick and threw up out of the blue. At our friends' house...3 and 1/2 hours away from home...repeatedly. I sort of stood there, stunned, trying to contain it all while at the same time trying to be sure he wasn't choking on it. I didn't know what to do...and instantly I was filled with worry about what was causing him to be so sick.  We went through several towels and several rounds of clean up before we finally went back to the hotel - Ethan wearing only a diaper and wrapped in one of their kitchen towels. We cleaned up and tried to prepare him for bed, but halfway through his bottle he threw up again...and again. Desperate we loaded up and went to the nearest hospital.
In between dry heaves, he smiled at the nurses and snuggled up against my chest. Glimpses of his usual self brought a little relief to our worried hearts as we waited for answers. Hours later blood tests confirmed he wasn't dehydrated, that it was likely a bug and he would be ok. He drank enough pedialyte (and kept it down) so we were finally able to leave around 12:30 AM. The rest of the weekend Ethan wasn't quite himself and I still worried about dehydration. On our way home we stopped in my hometown for lunch. Ethan was lethargic, laying his head down on my shoulder - not at all interested in looking around at the busy restaurant like normal. He perked up a little as our food arrived and we sat him in the high chair to try to feed him. He took 2 tiny bites...and threw up all over the table. We cleaned up the best we could, left our food on the table, and high tailed it out of there to get ourselves back home. Matt sat in the backseat next to Ethan as we made our way back to Ankeny and stopped at urgent care for another check to be sure he was ok. My heart filled with relief when the doctor confirmed he wasn't dehydrated and would likely be fine in a day or two.
It was draining to be so worried. I just didn't know.
Of course I've been told that the worry never goes away - it only changes as they grow. And honestly I've already contemplated what its going to be like for Ethan to learn to drive in a metropolitan area, to go to a school 5 times the size of my own, and so many other random things that are years in the future. Oy.


Levaré said…
You are a great Mommie... worry is very much a part of rearing a child... however...I once heard something that helped me with the perspective I needed... "Faith and worry cannot coexist together in the same mind at the same time...worry overwrites faith and faith overwrites worry." It helped me choose Faith in times of I could. I pass this along to you with love...

P.S. I hope your Baby is feeling better...

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