This is a guest post from my sister-mama, Jackie Card of One Redeemed Mom.
It was over 10 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday …
Alyssa was so big when she was born. Over 10 pounds. But then the rashes started. And the crying. And the weight loss – hers, not mine unfortunately. And the neverending spit-up and vomit. During the day, I was strong for my baby and my 3 year old. I just kept going. But at night.
Oh those long nights. That was a whole different story.
At night, we would sit by the windows in the wooden rocking chair. It was winter so we wrapped up in blankets and cuddled together.
Alyssa would cry and cry until I nursed her.
Then she would cry while she was nursing.
Then she would cry until she spit up everything she just drank.
Then we would sit there, rocking in the chair. She would fuss and cry and try with all her newborn might to itch the scratchy rashes. The cycle would start over again. She was hungry and I was trying to feed her and she would nurse and I would beg the Lord to just let enough stay in her little belly to calm her.
Eventually she would fall into a fitful sleep and I would just hold her, rocking, staring out the window and counting the cars that drove by. It kept me awake to force myself to remember what number I was on by the time another car went by. I would pray for my little, struggling baby.
I would wonder what the final diagnosis would be. I would think about all the things her doctors were telling me at each visit. Asthma. Eczema. Failure to thrive? Cystic Fibrosis? Lord! What is happening?! My big, beautiful 10 pound baby was wasting away, vomiting up all the nourishment my body was trying to provide for her.
The questions choked me in the middle of the night.
I wish I could just vomit them all up, like Alyssa vomited out my milk.
I need to know, Lord. I need to know what is wrong with my baby. I know You know already. Please, Lord.
We rocked, sometimes all night long, for 5 months.
Finally a diagnosis. Severe, anaphylactic food allergies.
Milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.
Her allergies were so severe that when I ate the food she was allergic to, I was poisoning her. Now we knew and now we could work on fixing it. She should outgrow it by age 5, they said. She and I fought together, militantly eliminating every trace of those allergens from my diet and eventually hers.
Slowly, the nights improved. She started sleeping in her bassinet, then her crib. On the days that I accidentally ate something she was allergic to, we would spend the night rocking again.
On the nights Alyssa slept in her bed, I would stand next to her before I went to sleep. Listening to her breathing. Sometimes I would wave a nebulizer treatment in front of her tiny face, willing the asthma medication into her lungs. Sometimes I would just look at her. Are her lips swollen? Did she eat something without me noticing? Sometimes the questions still choked me.
Over 10 years later, I can’t say that the questions haven’t stopped. Age 5 came and went with no changes to her diagnosis. I’ve sent her to sleepovers with coolers full of food and birthday parties with her own cupcakes. I’ve slept with two phones by my bed, just in case something happens. I still question the Lord sometimes and wonder if she’s easygoing because of all the doctors visits, pokes and prods have made her that way. Or is she easy going because the Lord knew she would need a gentle spirit to walk through all He had for her. I don’t know and will never know, this side of Heaven.
The only thing I do know, and the only thing I can say with confidence to you, is that the Lord hears and knows and is with us through the sleepless nights of spit up and choking questions. I don’t remember now how many cars drove past our house on those sleepless nights of rocking my baby but I do remember that the Lord was with us and still is.
If you are struggling with a sick baby in the middle of the night, remember this one thing. The Lord knows and will gently lead you through this season. Trust Him and His will for your baby. I can’t tell you what your baby’s days will look like, but I can promise you that during your sleepless nights, The Lord hears you.
hi. i’m jackie. follower of Jesus, even on the hard days. wife to the hubster, mom to four girls. homeschooler. organizer of stuff. wannabe farmer. i’m just one redeemed mom, trusting that God’s not done with me yet. you can find me at oneredeemedmom.com, sharing about life, books and being a girlmom.