Finding Balance

Exciting news!! Judah’s story is being used to help inform other parents on the importance of vitamin K!  It’s now on the CDC’s website. Check it out!

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/vitamink/judah-stories.html

….Whoa!!  Wait a minute!!!  Did I just share a CDC website??!

If you know me at all you know I love a good ol’ fashion natural remedy.  I love herbs.  I love vitamins.  I love essential oils.  I love chiropractic care and massage therapists and holistic doctors and midwives and home birthing.

I think it’s so cool that I can give arnica (a homeopathic remedy) to my kids after they fall down or bonk themselves and they don’t experience much bruising or swelling.  I love applying RC (a Young Living essential oil) to my kids and seeing them breathe better and stop coughing.  I love that I can increase calcium and magnesium and drink some coconut water for potassium and the charley horses I experience at night during pregnancy go away!  I mean, really!  How cool is God that He made all of this available to us?!

But guess what else I now love?!  Balance!  It’s true, this once hard-core, all natural, home birthing mama is finding balance.

Two and a half years ago, in a matter of minutes, I was launched from an all natural world to a world swarming with medical doctors, hospitals, therapists, specialists and medicine.   Whoa!  What a complete shock!  There was no time to resist the change.  I jumped in.  I was determined to no longer question the doctors or their advice.  Just obey.

One of Judah's many precious nurses!  They were such angels to us!

One of Judah’s many precious nurses! They were such angels to us!

But I later realized that I, personally, could not jump from one extreme to the other extreme.  I could not jump from all natural home births to fully medicated hospital births (unless under the leading of the Lord or found medically necessary).  I could not abandon natural remedies to restock my medicine cabinet with only over-the-counter medicine.  There had to be a balance.  I could not put 100% blind faith into doctors alone.

Why?  Because the medical field is made up of imperfect humans just like myself.  Doctors make mistakes too.  There isn’t one perfect route to health.  There must be balance.  For example, after Judah was released from his initial stay in the hospital I noticed that his head circumference was growing rapidly.  I began reading about hydrocephalus, measuring Judah’s head, and looking at pictures of other children who had hydrocephalus.  I approached four of Judah’s doctors and pointed out how fast Judah’s head had grown.  They dismissed my concerns.  We called our pediatric neurosurgeon directly and told her how large Judah’s head was.  She insisted we not measure his head again since we had not been taught the proper way to do so.  She told us we were overly concerned and that we needed to relax and just wait to see her at our next visit.  That appointment was not until Judah was three months old.

The moment the surgeon walked into our room at that three-month check-up she instantly knew we had a problem.  She sent us downstairs for an MRI, and quickly began the process of figuring out how to schedule Judah for an emergency shunt surgery the very next morning.

Our sweet boy the day after his shunt surgery.

Our sweet boy the day after his shunt surgery.

A year later, one of Judah’s doctors showed me the MRI’s and pointed out the difference in brain damage from Judah’s initial bleed and from the hydrocephalus.  In those 2.5 months of being dismissed by doctors as an overly concerned parent the pressure of built-up fluid on Judah’s brain caused further damage.  I was devastated to see the difference and know it could have been avoided.

So now what?  Clearly neither side of the fence is perfect, so where do I take it from here?  My first step: Forgive and forget the past, and keep my eyes fixed forward.  I can’t afford to look back at my mistake or the mistakes of the doctors.  Would you know that since sharing publicly of the guilt I struggled with over not administering the vitamin K shot that I have not had one struggle with that guilt ever since???  Praise God! 🙂  And just as my mistake was unintentional I know the doctors’ mistakes were also unintentional.  God’s bigger than all of it!

Second step: Pray and find balance.  As I move forward I see my need for more wisdom and more prayer surrounding every decision made about the health of my family.  I can’t put God in a box.  He is not limited to only one way of bringing healing.  I have experienced supernatural healing in my body that came instantly in a prayer service.  I have witnessed God using a team of medical doctors to save my son’s life.   And I have used natural remedies successfully for a number of years……Balance…I am finding that balance…I’m so very appreciative of the doctors and therapists and midwives who have patiently walked with me as I ask questions, seek understanding, and, at times, take some extended time to seek the Lord before jumping in.  They’ve recognized that this is a new season for me and I’m thankful for their grace.

And I’m thankful for your grace as well.  The way you all have responded to me as I share this journey with you has been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me.  Thank you! 🙂

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

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Mistakes, Regrets, and Finding Forgiveness

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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