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
Krista, your honesty is unbelievable. I personally had no idea you have been struggling with such a burden, but I am rejoicing with you that God is doing a healing within you. I struggle so much with trying to forgive myself and move forward from past decisions, and your words were incredibly helpful. Kevin tries constantly to help me forgive myself, but like you said, it has to be a supernatural healing. Thank you so very much for your honesty, for your words of encouragement, and for ministering to me. Love you!
Thanks Becka! 🙂 Love you too! 🙂 🙂
I pray for you regularly, but now I know how to make my prayers more specific! Thanks for being so open, vulnerable about all of this. Hugs, Carl
Thank you for your prayers. 🙂
Hi Krista, We read your post about Judah. We know this is hard for you. Like Chad told me the other day about Millie( not to compare). That I was a good friend etc. I said that I could make myself sick about it. But won’t do me any good. Krista you are a wonderful Mother and Wife! I admire you for what you all do!! Please don’t get sick over this. It won’t be good for the baby or your family. we are all entitled to make mistakes. Paul and I made plenty of those. But we did it with love as you. Just remember we love you for who you are! I feel really bad that I never came out to help you during this hard time for you. We will keep praying for you and Chad and the family. What great parents you are to our Grandchildren! Hop e I didn’t offend you in any way. Love you lots! Love your other Mom, Anna
Anna! My other Mom and the world’s best mother-in-law. 🙂 I love you! Thank you for your sweet words. 🙂 You have certainly not offended me in any way. Your words bring grateful tears to my eyes. My heart is so thankful for you and Paul and the support and love you have shown to Chad and I and our children. Love you so much!
Thank you so, so much for this, Krista. These words spoke to my heart and I’m so grateful that you wrote them. A lot things here I really needed to hear to help me through my own struggle. You’re an angel! I pray that you’ll be able to find the strength to forgive yourself. Judah is a beautiful little boy and you’re so right – He was not a surprise to God. I believe these children were strong little spirits that agreed to come here to teach us. What a blessing you have to be his mother (and what a blessing to him to have you as a mother!). Keep the faith and stay strong!
Stefani, I’m so thankful God crossed our paths. 🙂 You are a blessing!
I read your blog off a friends page. Nothing like this happened to me but ive been struggling forgiving my self for small things such as yelling at them, making wrong choices for them, etc. Ive def made and make many mistakes. This blog hascreally lifted me up and spoke to my heart. Thank you!
Thank you. 🙂 I’m so glad it brought encouragement to you. 🙂 I think all of us moms do truly battle with this. It helps to be real and vulnerable with each other. And it’s powerful to discover we aren’t alone.
Judah is an amazing boy! He is blessed to be in a family with such loving, caring, Amazing parents. God put Judah in your loving care because He knew you would go above and beyond for him.
Don’t beat yourself up about the past. You can’t change that now. Regrets only make you sad. Instead, look at all the positive things that have come out of this.
I’m am in awe of how you manage the day to day activities of your family with grace, love and compassion. Thank you for showing us God in you!
Thank you. 🙂 🙂 Your words touched me. I’ve re-read your comment at least 3 or 4 times. 🙂 🙂
You never know who’s life is changed by your actions or your words. Just keep doing what you are doing. God is blessing others through you!
I applaud your bravery and speaking out truth. I feel like that is when healing can keep going and you can use what happened to further your testimony. My son has a birth injury that would not have happened in a hospital (he was my one and only homebirth… severe shoulder dystocia, resuc’d and severe brachial plexus injury). For years, I lived in denial saying it would have happened at the hospital (blah, blah, blah)… feeling guilt is just awful and it was much easier to lie to myself. Now, I walk the line of knowing that a decision I made has affected my son for the rest of his life and knowing I have forgiveness. Some days my foot dangles on the guilty-feeling side and some days I feel so much grace. I think it will be this way for the rest of my life and I *think* I’ll be okay with that. Part of my journey with all this is to use that guilt and that mother-perspective to spread awareness and my son’s story to others.
Typically, I feel at peace with where our lives are at (obviously, if I could take it back I would) and that is a good place to be at. Good has come from it (we now volunteer at our favorite children’s hospital, etc) and I usually like to focus on that.
Anyway, I don’t mean to ramble. Even though our circumstances are different, know you are not alone.
Thank you. 🙂 I love that you are volunteering at a children’s hospital!!! How cool!! What a wonderful idea. And just like you, some days are harder than others; but I know you and I are both becoming stronger. 🙂
Krista ~ This is Vienne’s Mommy. Thank you for taking the time to venture over to my blog and read about our story. I appreciated reading this post and I look forward to getting to know you and Judah more through your blog.
I very much relate to your struggle with the guilt and regret. So so much. I’ve even gotten it, as I’ve questioned whether the flu vaccine would’ve helped prevent Vienne from ever even catching the flu…which lead to an infection in her heart and taking her life. I question the vaccine decision many times a year…but, I do realize that I make this decision (so contrary to our society’s opinion) in love, from my own convictions and beliefs. But, mainly, I struggle with regret over walking out of that bathroom on that horrid morning. Did I walk downstairs to get myself some breakfast out of love for her?? I even told myself that I was being selfish while I made my smoothie. Being selfish stealing a few moments of silence while Ivy napped and Vienne seemingly played in the tub. I know I will have to work through this…but I also know I will always struggle with that.
Thank you for your honesty and transparency here. It is refreshing and encouraging.
Much love to you ~ Jenny