It has been a week.
And a half.
Or something like that. What day is it?
I just looked: tomorrow is not only Friday but APRIL. Not sure how that happened. I've been in a fog over here but I feel like we are slowly coming out of it.
In some ways, I don't even really want to document this. But, I also created this space so I could write and process, but also document the happenings in our lives. And this was a happening. And I need to process it.
Last week, March 23, our first baby girl turned four. I wrote her this letter, I reflected on her four little years of life and how sweet she is and what a joy she has been to our family. I know everyone says that about their children, "They are such a joy to our family." But I really mean it: deep in our bones, down in our souls, this girl gives us joy.
Monday morning she woke up with a little temperature. Nothing big. Not too unusual. Kids run temperatures. She ate fine all day, but by the evening I noticed her fever was slowly going up. Bummer. We gave her a good dose of ibuprofen and put her to bed. She woke up off and on and we rotated some medicine to try to keep her comfortable. At 3:30 she woke up crying and had a little cough. Her temperature was 104. And I had never felt her so hot to the touch.
We aren't ones to rush to the doctor, but a 104 temp while on medicine was not something we wanted to mess with. Plus, with a new baby possibly hours away from arrival, we wanted to get some answers and antibiotics if it was something like strep. So we called up my dad, who put on his flying panties and headed over to be with Becks[I'll share the flying panties story sometime...maybe]. And we were on our way. Blythe was pretty lethargic on the way, but Brent read to her and she rested some.
She did great at the ER. She thanked the nurses. She smiled and answered questions the best she could. At one point two nurses had been helping and walked out and she looked at me with her tired, sick eyes and said, "They were really nice."
Flu test. Negative.
Strep test. Negative.
Chest x-ray. Nothing.
They said it was something bronchial, manage her fever and push fluids, and sent us home.
We got home and Blythe went right back to sleep at about 8 and slept until after 10. When she woke up she was coughing more and her temperature continued. We laid low the rest of the day, even though her cousins were visiting all the way from Nashville.
The next day was her big birthday. Four years old! Brent slept with her that night to monitor her temperature and her coughing. By the morning her temperature was normal! She was a lot perkier than the day before [which wasn't saying much]. We still did a slow morning. She ate normally. Brent took the day off work because we thought we may bring her in to her pediatrician in the afternoon, but then because her fever wasn't as bad decided to hold off.
At about three that afternoon, and talking with the family that would be coming, we decided to go ahead and do a little birthday. So I dug around in my cabinets and grabbed what I could for party supplies. I hadn't planned on doing much anyway because I was pretty uncomfortable-pregnant, but I had bought a cake mix and supplies to make ice cream cone cupcakes. Blythe absolutely loves helping me bake stuff, and I had promised she could help me make the cupcakes, so we scrubbed hands up to elbows and used the mask from our doctor kit just to be safe.
By the time family arrived, Blythe was tired, and I couldn't be on my feet anymore, but for an hour or two we celebrated. Blythe tried really hard. Her smiles weren't as frequent, and it was a lot for her. Had I known what the next day would bring, I would have never gone ahead with the party. But hindsight is always 20/20.
This was the first birthday party that she has had other kids to play with, as it has always just been family...and all her younger cousins live farther away. So that was fun for her. We wrapped up early and she crashed hard.
And in the night her fever went back up again. Brent again slept with her. It got up to 103 that night. Something wasn't right. I would make an appointment with her doctor in the morning.
She woke up, her fever was down a bit again but still lingering, and she wasn't as perky as the day before. And then she smashed her big toe and within moments it looked like this:
Poor thing was NOT having a good year 4. Her cough was worse, her temperature was hanging on, and her voice was raspy. I had an OB appointment at 1, and her doctor only does well-checks in the morning so he couldn't see her until 2:30. I didn't want to drag her along to my appointment, so Brent's mom agreed to meet me after my appointment and let Blythe nap until then.
On the way to my appointment I got a call from her doctor's office saying they wanted her to go to the hospital first and have another chest x-ray done, as well as some further blood work. While I was grateful they were really looking into it, that meant Joan had to put her in the car right then and I would meet them on the other side of the hospital immediately after my appointment.
I found out I was at a three, which completely terrified me because I couldn't deal with delivering a baby right then when Blythe was so sick. I waddled over to the other side of the hospital and met up with them. Blythe was so tired. And going downhill very rapidly.
Again, she blew my mind with how good she was for the x-ray tech and even when they drew 4 tubes of blood she did so well. By the time we got to the pediatrician's office, I could tell her temperature was back up. Sure enough she was at 104 again. It didn't take long for the diagnosis. Pneumonia. And an immediate check in at the hospital.
After two hours of poking and prodding, I could barely stand to think of bringing her to the hospital. I was weary, she was so sick. And yet I knew that she needed to be there to get better. Joan was amazing and helped me get her in and out of the van and up to the pediatric wing. I don't know what I would have done without her. We also have a good friend that works in the hospital and Brent had let him know the situation. Unfortunately I missed his text when we were checking in, but he sent me one that said, "Want me to meet you in the front? I can carry a child or burdens, whichever you need." Here is where I must say that God created community and it is good, people.
We finally got in the room. They immediately did a breathing treatment and this is where I nearly broke. Blythe was flipping out and crying, "I don't want to do it! I don't want to do it!" and I had to hold her down. I remember trying to comfort her, all the while crying out to our God of comfort. Right after that ordeal, the door opened and Brent walked in. I wish I could adequately explain what his presence did for me in that moment. Like so many times before, his presence calmed me. It reassured me. And his steady hand took over and I sunk in the chair next to the bed.
The next hour was tough. An IV that didn't stick. A new IV. Finally getting some medicine to get her temperature down. And then waiting. Watching her temperature. Soothing her cough. Forcing her to drink. We didn't sleep much that night. By ten her temperature had skyrocketed to 105. It was scary. I was so thankful we were at the hospital.
Needless to say we didn't sleep much that night. They had to monitor her temperature every hour and did breathing treatments every four [which she still hated]. By the early morning she finally needed to go to the bathroom and the sweet little thing did so well with the IV attachment.
Her doctor came, and seeing what her temperature had done in the night after her first dose of antibiotics decided we needed to stay one more night.
The next day she was doing so much better. The light wasn't totally back in her eyes, but as the day went on she came around.
People were so good to us. I can't tell you how many offers we had for people to bring us food or snacks or coffee or just come sit with us. Blythe got balloons and coloring books and cards. We even had a friend who was out of town let us run over to their house and take turns getting in a nap. Brent's parents kept Becks and I never once worried about how she was because I knew they were loving her well.
I was having contractions off and on the entire time we were at the hospital. Nothing super intense to where I thought it was labor, but enough discomfort that I was glad to be close to labor and delivery ward. However, by Saturday morning I realized I hadn't been drinking very much water, and as soon as I started doing that it was much better.
After 24 hours there, she was getting back to herself. We discovered the toy room. She realized she could ask the nurse for ice cream whenever she wanted. There was an entire cabinet full of movies and shows for her to watch. Watching the light come dancing back into her eyes was so very good.
By the end of the day she got to be reunited with Becks and her cousins visited and played a game of Candy Land with her. [We maybe regretted all the sister kisses later]. That evening she was bouncing off the walls. I don't know that I've ever seen her quite like that. We were having a hard time keeping her from getting tangled in her IV and had an even harder time getting her calmed down for bed.
By the next morning we were ready to sign the discharge papers, at by 2 in the afternoon we got the all clear. Blythe even thought she needed to sign them. It was a pretty short stay. There were scary moments and not a lot of sleep for any of us, but man oh man are there a lot worse things in this life. AND, it was interesting because Brent and I have been doing a study and seeking God a lot about surrendering everything to God; getting rid of idols.
Even the idols of our children.
Ouch. That's hard work, people. It's hard to hand these precious little lives over to God and say, "They are yours anyway. I know you've just given them to me on loan. I will try and steward this gift well, but You're really in control. You are first. You come before them. I love you more than I love them."
That's soul work that I have to keep at. And pneumonia and two days in the pediatrics wing of a hospital are small potatoes. But in those wee morning hours with a temperature that's soaring in your first born? Those idols are still hard to hand over.
So Saturday we got home at about three or four. That morning Brent's parents had told us that Becks was running a little temperature, but we weren't too concerned because pneumonia isn't supposed to be contagious.
We crawled in bed early that night, happy to be home.
At eleven Becks started coughing. And her temperature was 102. Brent got in bed with her. At three a.m. her temp was 104.8. Unlike Blythe though, she was not lethargic. Girl was laughing and saying, "Nakey! Nakey!" when we took her clothes off. We decided we probably should take her in as well. My dad got a phone call again and rushed to the scene. We left with Becks.
Becks in the ER was kind of funny. Pretty soon her temperature came down and she stood up on the bed and told us, "I feel better!" We didn't really want to put her through a flu swab, because that was always the worst for Blythe, so we saved it for last. She barely flinched. She's a different child than our tender first-born, that's for sure. She wooed the nurses. It took a little time. They were busier-- it was the weekend, early Easter morning, to be exact. They did a urine test for a UTI [Becks just hopped on the potty and went like it was no big deal]. I know they thought we were crazy for bringing her in because she was acting like...well, like Becks!
But sure enough, there was a touch of pneumonia. Luckily it wasn't super bad [yet!] and we could start her on antibiotics and hopefully kick it pretty quickly.
While I waddled back and forth to the ER bathroom a couple times, I kept thinking of the song, "Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. Through it all, through it all, it is well." We grabbed some antibiotics for little Becksy [and who knew Dunkin Donuts had such awesome breakfast sandwiches?!] and headed home. And as the sun rose on our drive home I thought of the empty tomb, of a Jesus that resurrects dead things, and the hope that we have in Him.
Her temperature never went back up so high, and really only ran for one more day. We were thankful she got to convalesce at home.
Unfortunately, the next day I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a semi-truck. I never ran a temperature but had chest congestion and a cough and the gunk. I had to get on an antibiotic too. I had to ask for a lot of help with the girls [ I still am!] and rest. At my doctor appointment Tuesday I hadn't progressed any [thankfully! as I needed a few more good sleeps before I was ready to try to deliver a baby!], and my doctor told me it would be a little harder to get over just because I was pregnant. I'm feeling much better now, but I'm still pretty wiped. I can't be on my feet much without getting exhausted and sore. I think my body is finally kind of shutting down after running on adrenaline and just doing what it had to do the last week and a half.
It's interesting because at the beginning of the year I wrote about how I really want to just show up for people this year. Help them. Be with them.
And in an interesting turn of events, Jesus has been saying to me, "Kelsey. Humble yourself. Let's others show up for you." That's hard to do sometimes. But they have. They have showed up. [Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! ]
And through it all Christ has given us abundant peace. Abundant. I can honestly say that in the midst of all of this, I have had very few moments of anxiety. Sure, I finally broke down and cried that first night in the hospital as I waited for Blythe's temperature to go down. But there has been a peace in my soul as I have released it all the Him. When I start to feel it all again I whisper, "I trust you, Jesus."
I trust you, Jesus.
I snapped the above picture the other night as all of this has finally started to calm down and the plague seems to be leaving our house. I haven't really had time to reflect on what is just around the corner. A new baby. A new girl to spike fevers in the night. A new little life to surrender to God. We will meet her within a week. One week.
And I guarantee when they place her on my chest for the first time I will say, "I trust you, Jesus. And I entrust her TO you, Jesus."
And while we wait for that moment, we are taking our days slow her. Lots of pajamas. Lots of antibiotics mixed in chocolate pudding. Lots of movies. And lots of hugging on my big girls whose lives are about to change forever.
And through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you. Through it all, through it all it is well.