Hello family and friends, near and far. Here is an update on life, an apology for the sporadic communication, and a testimony to the goodness of God regarding our last seven weeks.
Our sweet Eden Evangeline was born on July 20 weighing a splendid seven pounds and twelve ounces. At six weeks she weighed a few tenths of an ounce less than that.
I cannot recount every detail here, but we have been through many ups and downs as we realized that Eden was struggling to gain weight. From the beginning she was horribly fussy, but seemed to nurse well and be content afterwards. At her one week visit we knew she had not gained enough. At two weeks she had actually lost a little more. At our first lactation appointment they said everything looked okay, that she might have a small tongue-tie, but that since I was experiencing no pain in nursing that it probably wasn’t a huge problem. I had been letting her sleep long stretches and feeding her every four hours unless she woke up earlier so we decided that she just needed extra feedings and that we would continue going to have her weighed every week to see if there was improvement. She gained steadily but in small increments, we kept hoping she would turn the corner and take off. Her biggest gain was five ounces, but then only three – making it back to birth weight by five weeks. The doctor said a tongue-tie revision may or may not help. I wanted to wait; it was so tricky because she seemed to be nursing fine, was sleeping okay, had enough wet and dirty diapers, and was taking in the right amount as measured at the lactation appointments.
At six weeks she had dipped just under birth weight again. So it was all-systems-go, whatever we had to do. We scheduled a tongue-tie revision the following day; I began pumping, and we began supplementing with formula.
We started out not too worried and taking it in stride. But as the weeks wore on her lack of weight gain weighed heavily. Some days it felt like we listened to her fuss all day. Then it would seem to be better. Some nights she never really settled down and other nights she slept all night. Nothing was ever consistent. I knew more than likely she would be fine. I knew that other people have gone through much harder things than this. But it felt like I couldn’t keep the balance between giving her everything I had and doing the most basic of other things. (I’m not even talking about laundry/meals/cleaning; we have had amazing support from our church here.) For the first time in my life I found myself choosing sleep over showers! I would do so good taking in extra calories and water and then forget for a few days and wonder if that had been the cause for the ounces she had missed. I would stay home and rest and she would do well so I would try going out to do something fun with the kids and then feel like it took a toll on her. (Of course you don’t know but these are the things you wonder when you’re so closely connected to this tiny little person.)
From the beginning, the Lord helped me to see that this was good for me. After six nearly problem-free infants, here was something new. A chance to be humbled, to learn – my inclination that it would work itself out was wrong. I’m so thankful for the advice and help from the doctor and lactation consultant.
I cried at the thought of the fierce love I felt for Eden, the determination to see good done for her even though she was weak and needy and giving nothing in return. I knew that God’s love for me, his adopted child, was far greater and more perfect than that love I felt for her. Even in these circumstances.
We knew that God’s wisdom and timing are perfect. That in His providence He gives things that are hard to understand.
Why our seventh baby? Why right after we moved across the country? Why literally the day before we start back to school?
I don’t know the answers at all, but I do know that this has been a time of weakness. And a time to see His perfect strength – whether it’s through a meal delivered by a friend, a text from someone who is praying for you, a song about His greatness, the ability to continue on through exhaustion, or simply the knowledge that His Spirit is at work in you when you can feel nothing else.
There is not a perfect ending to this story as we are still quite possibly in the middle. Eden weighed eight pounds three ounces at her seven week appointment and that was a huge success. We have every reason to believe she will continue, but at several points in this process I thought we had figured things out. With our trust and hope in God, we are doing all we can to chunk that girlie up.
Thank you so much to all who have prayed and offered encouragement and practical help. This is certainly light affliction compared to many others, but it has certainly been given to draw us closer to Christ as we see how much more valuable and sufficient He is than anything else.
Eden, I tell you all the time, but we are so happy you are here. Already we long even more for that coming perfect fellowship with God and are grateful for the work of Christ to accomplish that for us. And we have your sweet name to help us remember.