Tuesday, October 18, 2011

guest post--introducing Kelli from More Bangs for Your Bucks

Kelli from More Bang for Your Bucks was kind enough to host me at her awesome blog. You can read my post here.

I am thrilled that Kelli was willing to share something from her heart here at minivan diva. She is such an amazing mother and I know you will be touched by her story.

Hi friends! My name is Kelli and I blog at More Bang for Your Bucks on a myriad of topics. I am a church planter's wife, a homeschooling mom with three kids {although only one in school already}, and sometimes I get to do stuff like crafts. :) I want to take the chance to thank Katie for "blog swapping" with me today. She commented on another post I wrote for another blog {that was a mouthful!}, I came by to "visit" Katie, and loved her blog immediately {could be that I drive a mini-van too!}. I am always honored when a writer lets me "take over" for a day. :)
Today, I wanted to write about having a child that was born with  health problems, and some of the lessons that go along with it. Our little guy was born not-so-little: he weighed 10 lbs, 10 ounces at birth. Wowza! {Thank God for c-sections!} We spent the first blissful day with him cuddling and taking pictures, and sharing him with the TONS of family and friends that helped us celebrate that day.

The picture of Landon I carried with me the day of his surgery.

The next day, the bliss soon turned into hell as our pediatrician sent him by ambulance to another hospital with a NICU because of some blood tests that came back abnormally. Well remember that c-section? Because of that, I had to stay behind for an extra night and I have to say, that was the worst night of my life up to that point.
My husband and dad went to the hospital with our son {which was about a two hour drive from my hospital} and my mom drove me over the next day. Thus began a 7 week long diagnosing process that seemed like years, and probably took years off my life.
I did learn a lot from the process, though, and wanted to share with you a few of those things. I pray that none of you ever experience a sick child, but if you do {or already are}, please know that you are in my daily prayers.
1.) Grieve. This was the best advice we received from one of the NICU nurses. I wasn't sure why I was supposed to grieve- but she gently told us that it was important to grieve what we had lost- the special "going home" with our child, the bonding at home that instead took place at the hospital, and just the overall "unfairness" of having a sick baby. {There was no indication whatsoever before birth that anything was wrong. We were slammed with it about 24 hours after his birth.} So, take your time and cry, scream, sob, hold onto your baby and each other.
2.) Learn all you can. In the following days and weeks, you can bet we were consulting Dr. Google a lot! This probably isn't the best way to go about it, but use reliable resources to learn everything about your child's illness. YOU are the child's best advocate, even better than the doctors. There were times Ben {hubby} and I suggested things to the doctors to try, and sometimes they took those suggestions! I believe that a good doctor will listen to well-informed, respectful parents. {One doc even told us he trusts a mother's intuition! Rock on, dr!}
3.) If possible, find other parents of children with your child's illness. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful it was to have a family visit us in the hospital- total strangers at the time. Their daughter was four at the time, our baby was 2 months- and to be able to look at their 4 year old was the best gift ever. We saw that kids with his illness could be okay. To this day, we still try to visit as many families in the hospital as we can when we find out they are going through the same thing we did. {Our doctor, who recently moved away, did a great job of telling patients how to contact us. He was a strong believer in parental connections.}

4.) Allow God to use your situation for good. This was NOT on our minds at the time we were in the thick of diagnosing, biopsies, surgery, etc. but eventually we were able to look through our pain and reach out to others {See #3}. We are so humbled at the connections God has led us to- and the lifelong friends we have because of this illness in our lives. {and also, God called us to plant our church- in the city of our son's hospital- a few years after he was born. But that's another loooong story for another day!}

our family now, at our church

5.) Allow others to help you. I can't tell you how much our families and church families ministered to us during this time. The day of our son's nine-hour operation, we had about 40 people in the waiting room to support us. Forty people! Most of them had driven three hours just to hold our hands and keep us company for a very long, emotional day. I don't think I would have made it through the day with my sanity if not for them. During the whole ordeal, they also brought us food, prayed for us, and just listened to us cry. Every time I think of how loved and blessed we were, I tear up.
I know there are dozens of other ways to cope with an ill or special needs child, but these are a few that truly helped sustain us through those long, dark days. Please, if you are going through this and need a friend, feel free to contact me through e-mail. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks, Kelli! I think you are one rockin' mama!

Much love,


Kelli@MoreBangforYourBucks said...

Thanks so much Katie, for having me. You are such a gracious lady!

Rebecca @ heartland farmhouse said...

Grieve ~ good advice!!!
Thanks Kelli for writing from the heart & Katie for hosting!

Anonymous said...

Great guest post Kelli! I will be referring back to this if I am ever in this situation.

Kelli@MoreBangforYourBucks said...

Thank you ladies. It's not a situation I would have ever wished for, but we have learned so much from it!

Michele said...

Powerful lessons that we can learn something from. Thank you for sharing. It's amazing how God uses such difficult circumstances to teach us so much. Thank you for your wise words.