I don’t like making mistakes…at all! As a girl I’d often fall asleep at night praying God would help me the next morning to have a perfect day with no mistakes. I’d plan to make my bed, put my clothes away, obey everything I was asked to do (with a smile, I might add), perform well in school and in music and simply be perfect for one whole day. Inevitably within minutes of my feet hitting the floor the next morning I had made some sort of mistake and I’d spend the rest of the day beating myself up over it. The day seemed ruined.
It seems funny, but I lived that way for so long – a frustrated perfectionist. Having children exemplified it. Now, not only can I make mistakes that hurt myself, but mistakes that hurt my children. Lord, have mercy!! Like the time I was in the back room of our house lost in a phone conversation with a girl friend not realizing my two little boys were crying and searching for me, sure their mommy had left them. Or the time our family walked into church only to realize we had left a toddler strapped in her car seat still sitting inside the minivan. Sure, it was only a minute, but my heart broke to think she was sitting there so patiently watching us all walk away. Good golly!
Chad has been so patient with me, often saying, “Krista, repeat after me, ‘I FORGIVE KRISTA.’” I’d smile and repeat, “I forgive myself, I forgive myself, I forgive myself…” But often in my heart I knew I hadn’t. I replayed my mistakes over and over. I think one of the hardest things for me to do is simply forgive myself.
My struggle grew out of proportion two and half years ago when I made a decision that some doctors would later tell me they believed could have prevented Judah’s brain injury. This is something I have not shared with many, yet it’s been the darkest part of my journey with Judah. So why do I share it now? Because I’m determined to expose the enemy, the thief, the accuser of the brethren. Because I know that freedom comes in revealing truth, not hiding pain in the dark. Because I’m determined that 2014 is the year the Lord heals my heart, and this is an action step. And I pray that my story will be a blessing to at least one person who may struggle with the same kind of regret.
Judah was born July 15, 2011. We had called him our “praise baby” for months and his labor lived up to that nickname. We praised God for a quick, smooth, beautiful water birth. The children woke up soon after he arrived. They all loved on him for a while then a precious friend stopped by to pick them up for a day of fun so mommy and daddy could rest and bond with Judah. Chad helped pack everything up for the kids while my sweet midwife helped me fill out paperwork and get everything in order. As you know, there are decisions to be made after your baby is born: when to clamp the cord, eye ointment, hepatitis B vaccine and the vitamin K shot, to name a few.
My midwife asked if I’d like to have the vitamin K shot. I said, “no.”
I found myself hesitating for a brief moment. Chad was busy outside of our room so I didn’t have time to confirm with him whether this was still our decision. I dismissed my hesitation and stuck with the answer we had chosen for our past five children. None of my children had received the shot and they had all been fine. . . why was I hesitating? Until Judah, my children had been SO, so healthy. I praise God for their health and see how easily I had taken it for granted. We had never needed an antibiotic in those 10 years prior to Judah. We never experienced an ear infection or anything more than a common cold or seasonal flu. We might have used Tylenol a total of five times in ten years. I truly took for granted how healthy we had been. And my justification continued….I knew I didn’t have the typical risk factors… My labor had been smooth without complications… And did God make every baby deficient in vitamin k? In that moment I didn’t even remember all the reasons we had chosen not to do the shot. I knew that way back when I first had Josiah there was speculation that the vitamin K shot was linked to childhood leukemia (that since has been proven false). I did not do a good job researching the pros and cons of this shot, let alone praying about the decision. And I did not think there was even the slightest possibility of anything wrong happening because of that choice. Certainly a brain hemorrhage was nowhere on the radar.
Fast forward to our 911 call, our 10 days in the NICU, and doctors questioning us. We are thankful they found answers and determined the cause of Judah’s brain hemorrhage to be Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding or VKDB also known as Late Onset Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn; but that news came with a sting. “Had you given your baby the shot, this probably would have never happened….” Those words would replay in my mind hundreds and hundreds of times.
Some days are good….others are hard… Some days I feel such grace to see the positives in Judah – the joy and laughter he brings – and to celebrate what he CAN do instead of what he CANNOT do. But then there are days that are so dark I feel paralyzed by the pain of regret. It’s as if the enemy is on my shoulder saying, “Your life would be normal and easy if you would have just given him that one shot. This is all your fault. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you.” When I’m not regretting skipping the newborn vitamin K shot, my head fills with other regrets. Why didn’t I catch on sooner that something was wrong? Why didn’t I call 911 sooner? If only we had sought intervention sooner the injury would not have been so devastating. Maybe he’d be fine! Our life would be normal!
While two doctors have blamed Judah’s injury on not administering the vitamin K shot, I’ve had other doctors say that it cannot be proven. They’ve looked me in the eyes and said, “Krista, you cannot live this way. You cannot live with that regret. We don’t know what caused it. And we don’t know for sure if the shot would have prevented it.” Chad has held me in his arms countless times reminding me I cannot live like this. I appreciate all of their words; but I know that freedom from the regret has to be supernatural and from the Lord. It is too big of a hurt for mere words to heal.
Coming into 2014 my one prayer was, “Lord, heal my heart.”
And He’s been working….I sense it….each week becomes easier… I’ve been able to open up and share with others of my struggle and recently able to go forward and ask my pastor for prayer as well. The only words I could get out through my tears was that I was living in regret that I had opened a door to the enemy to so strongly attack my son. He laid hands on me with compassion in his eyes and allowed the Lord to work. As I soaked in the presence of the Lord my heavenly Father started speaking to my heart. “Daughter, every decision you have made for your children has been made out of love. You did not make that decision to harm Judah. You made your decision out of love for him and out of what you thought was best in that moment. You love your children. You love your children. You love your children.”
It was such an epiphany for me. Simple, yet profound and true. In that moment after Judah was born I made the decision out of love. I didn’t wish these circumstances on my son or our family. If I could go back in time and change my decision, would I? Absolutely. But I can’t. I need to move forward.
I have to remind myself that Judah’s injury was not a surprise to God. It’s not like He and His angels were up in heaven wringing their hands in despair when Judah was born saying to each other, “OH NO! What will we do?! They didn’t give Judah the shot!” No, instead, they sent in re-reinforcements. Countless people who were praying and have been praying and standing in the gap for our son, for his complete healing, and for our family. Instead He sees Judah healed, whole and complete, lacking nothing. And He sees Judah’s little spirit that is SO alive unto God. He sees that Judah’s future surpasses his time on earth and this temporal body he’s in to an eternity in heaven with eternal purpose.
God’s working. Not only is He at work in Judah, He’s at work in my heart. And He’s at work in your heart as well. He sees you. He knows you. He is absolutely head over heels in love with you. Every sin, every mistake, whether intentional or not, is completely forgiven and washed in His blood. You are free as well!!!!!
I love you! Thank you for being a part of Judah’s journey….and my own.
“…being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
(Special thanks to a new friend I met through the internet who has been so bold to share with others the importance of the vitamin K shot. Check out her story! Why It Happened: The Truth About Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding.)