I’m going to start writing blog posts that start with a conversational fragment of our lives and have brought about greater thought since they’ve happened or just deserved a well-due elaboration. This is the first of hopefully many in this on-and-off going series of posts, but I hope you enjoy a different perspective into our world and how our everyday interactions really affect our entire lives…
About a couple months ago now, a close friend, let’s call her A, gave me a little book of prayers – The Power of a Praying Parent Book of Prayers by Stormie Omartian. I’d read her books Power of Praying Parent and Power of a Praying Wife, and was excited to have a new mini prayer book to add to my less-than-consistent devotional time. Friend A also mentioned that it may be a good idea to start writing a prayer journal, something I’d never tried before. My Mom consistently pointed me to writing as a kid for a healthy outlet for my emotional childhood, and it always seemed to help, so I gave it a go. I started seeing that there was more grace in my relationships, particularly with Marin and Mike, and that I was really laying a foundation to trust God where I had only dabbled with the idea before. I could spend time enjoying worship music in my kitchen, but I *really* had no intention of talking (or praying) to God about anything of significance or importance to me because I *really* didn’t trust God with any area in my life, fully, if at all. I was able to hide behind praise in an effort to maintain a shallow relationship with Jesus that didn’t require much sacrifice or trust on my part. Everything suffered as a result, including me who I was just trying to protect, without any way to do it on my own. Over this time, with many imperfections (including today) and baby-step strides, there’s a shift in my Spirit to know that God knows what He’s doing more than I, and the peace that comes from knowing that is truly active and present in my life. I’m still not perfectly consistent, but God has been perfectly faithful through it all. On days like today, these precious moments with Jesus add up into supernatural peace and stillness, when you realize, unlike you’d fooled yourself before, life happens and you have very little control over how it does.
Yesterday, at around 4:15 p.m., I was being a bad Mom. I go crazy being inside and with my scrapbook/craft table about 3 feet from Marin’s play area, I can easily scurry to my table and try to distract myself till little Miss has had enough and wants some Mommy-and-me time. I don’t get away with it for more than a few minutes, but if it wasn’t the table than it was my phone – we’ve all been there, ok? Life with kids, as amazing and perfect as it can be, can also feel extremely redundant especially by 4:15 p.m. on a Thursday when you’re just begging the clock to jump an hour and bring your husband home.
So I said to myself ‘you know, it hasn’t been in the 40’s in a looooong time, you should really take that baby of yours out and go for a walk.’. Go for a walk we did – down one step and onto the bottom of 4 more. Just like that. A milisecond that you would give anything to re-calculate, re-strategize, re-think out if it was *really* worth it. But it’s happened, and so there you are, with your child crying hysterically as you pick her up to realize she’s not getting over it. So you try to stand her up, and she falls. Then take off her pants, examine her, wiggle her lims, text your husband that you can’t believe he didn’t scrape off the steps…because you have so much grace in your heart for him in this moment. Marin had no bruises, scrapes, or bones sticking out of her – really?! Can’t. She. Just. Pull. It. Together!? Ugh, and now she’s insisting that I hold her (No need to worry, this will be in my submission for Wife and Mother of the Year award).
We got up the stairs. She just cries. I can’t get her to stand, but NOTHING SEEMS WRONG WITH HER. I can wiggle her legs and she won’t freak out more. But she won’t stand. So I call Janna, the equivalent of an EMT in my world, to get her mother-of-four medical opinion. I end up giving Marin a bath to see if that will calm her down, no such luck, she just sits up awkwardly and I really start to think something must be up, but then again, she’s so touchy and doesn’t bounce back well at all. Hmm…I’ll just ignore Mike’s text messages of concern and try to feed her something for dinner.
Maybe this is where I should’ve *really* conceded in my battle against Marin-must-have-a-serious-injury because if you haven’t met her, she’s a big kid. She’s perfectly proportioned, but the girl knows how to thrown down – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And snack #1 and snack #2 because I’m a snacker so I couldn’t possibly insist she wait till another mealtime. Is this where I insert #winning? Ok, right…So! She doesn’t eat, Mike’s probably home, exiled from the dining area and cowering in fear because I have not decided to let go the whole shoveling bit of this story for the time we need to get it together and figure out what to do about Marin, and we just retreat to our bedroom where she falls asleep in my arms and is the most peaceful she’s looked in 2 hours. The general idea from my back-and-forth calls with Janna, if something is broken, she’s going to survive the night and possibly benefit from the rest.
Luckily, we were correct. Except for the whole there’s-n0-way-she-could’ve-really-broken-something part. Mike and I try to scramble to get out the door. It was probably made more difficult by the fact that I didn’t want to get out of bed after not sleeping well once I grabbed Marin around 10:30 p.m. to bring her into our room and held her uncomfortably so she could get some sleep (she kept waking up in her crib up until then about every 45 min and would fall back asleep quickly, but still, when you hear your child cry and know they’re injured, you scoop em’ up, and bring em’ into your bed. Sorry BabyWise…You probably also take them to the ER sooner. Hindsight’s 20/20 people.). So, she’s up at 7 a.m., and we arrive to Winchester Hospital about 8:45 a.m. after some talks with the on-call doctor of Marin’s pediatrician. This particular hospital is great with kids which is why we chose it over some of the other surrounding facilities.
No lines. We walk straight to the ER and are seen almost immediately. They take X-rays. X-rays confirm there’s a break. Somehow Mike says to me “do you want to go see the X-ray?” and so I do. I would not have thought of it on my own, but why not, right? It’s my kid’s perfectly, still somewhat rolly leg, with a perfect little crack in her femur. I get back to the room, and they’re saying we’ll need to transfer to Children’s Hospital because of her age and to not let her eat anything.
((It’s really all a blur. I’m sure we exchanged more words and definitely more time. Everyone was fabulous. I do remember the X-ray techs saying “are you pregnant or could you be? when I went back with Marin and I said ‘no, but I wish I was!’ and they laughed and said they don’t normally get that response. Also, they asked where Marin was born, and I said ‘home’, the doctor asked if that was planned. Again, I laughed and said ‘yes’. Little moments like will add an endearing quality to today when I think back on it in the future))
It’s taking a little longer than I thought to discharge, but Mike would say it was a total of 15 minutes, which should just show you how impatient I felt. To not feed Marin was probably the scariest thing to me, next to the idea of her actually needing surgery. As I wait for Mike to fill the car with gas, while he was waiting for us to finish up, I say a snarky comment about the stupid ice not being properly scraped to begin with in a moment of frustration while the nurse tries to remind me ‘these things happen.’ ‘These things happen’ always sounds nice when it’s not your kid, but it is.
We get into the car and Marin tuckers out (thankfully) while I just really speak my peace – or is it discourse when you’re fuming mad that your kid broke a bone and you feel very justified in your blame game? Whatever it is, it was wrong. And I literally just felt like we both needed to pull it together and be prepared for the next chapter of the day’s events. If our daughter did need surgery, and all the stressors that go along with it were placed onto our relationship, we needed to be in unison moving forward. So I calmly said, “I’m not showing any leadership either, we need to pray.” And so we did. On whatever interstate we were on, we just asked Jesus for ultimate peace and unison moving forward. We wanted absolute peace that we fully supported the decision of what our doctors said at Children’s, that Marin wouldn’t need surgery, and that we would be able to love and care for her and one another as needed. No more digging comments. No more avoiding the issues at hand. Shoving all the crap to the side to really, truly trust God with what happened today. All of the ugly, gross breaks that happened, not just to Marin, but to us not loving one another well in it.
So, we got to Children’s, valeted the car, and headed into the ER where we were again, immediately seen. (Please tell me I’m not the only one that thinks it’s a miracle to walk into TWO ER’s and be seen without hesitation?!). Everyone is pleasant and kid-loving, incase the name didn’t otherwise indicate, because they work with and love working with kid’s all day. We hand them the paperwork and X-rays from Winchester and then quickly begins the shuffling in-and-out of our ‘team’. Our first team doctor arrives, and I ask “have you seen the X-rays yet?”.
“Do you think she could need surgery?”.
“It is very likely that she will need surgery for a broken femur, most of them do.”.
Heart sinks, Mike and I cry, she ends her questions. Hope felt kinda lost in that moment, but because I’d seen the X-ray, I felt more frustrated than heartbroken. It was a perfect, clean break – no bone-on-bone action. As pretty as a femur break could look, and I felt like we were dismissed without any real examination to a sentence of surgery, for my otherwise very healthy child. (I know what you’re all thinking “why didn’t she ask your medical opinion, Ashley?” I get it, she’s the expert, but that’s just how I felt in the moment.).
Then there’s a nurse who tries to talk to me about “orthopedics” and “orthopedic surgeons” and “bone doctors upstairs” – she has no appreciation (for obvious reason) to think that the word “orthopedics” would be a trigger definition for “most-dismissive-doctor-who-just-shoots-you-with-cortisone” in my dictionary, but alas, we meet Doctor #2 with grace running thin in our hearts.
Ah, a man with a beard, you seem trustworthy and sweet. Even sweeter when you say “I’ve seen the X-ray, and I really don’t think she’s going to need surgery because it’s well-aligned, but we are still waiting from orthopedics.” I like him. He says nice, hopeful things and I feel a surge of confidence in my strong unmedical medical opinion of Marin’s break. Then Doctor #1 returns and says “You’re right, Ashley, it was a beautiful break and we won’t need to do surgery. I’m so sorry that I got you all worked up for nothing”. At least, that’s what I heard? Mike remembers it more like this “It’s a well-aligned break. She’s just going to need a cast, but we still don’t want her to eat.” “So no surgery?” (Still waiting for some undeserved apology for taking a year off my life…Nope.) “No surgery”.
The nurse re-enters to tell us it could be 2-3 hours till she leaves with a cast and to not feed her incase they need to give her sedatives during the casting process. 2-3 hours? Is she aware that IT IS LUNCHTIME and Marin EATS ALL DAY? “Well, hopefully it’ll go by quicker because it’s February break, and we don’t see as many people this week typically.”
Within 45 minutes, we were walking out with a new hot pink cast around Marin’s left leg to our car. Just in time for lunchtime and naptime to commence. Without a single tear all day. Without having to wait 4-6 more hours to get her into surgery (because we fed her cheese puffs…). Without having to admit her overnight or see her with an IV or in a hospital bed and getting to tuck her into her own crib for some well-deserved rest.
It was over and it was, since she’s been wrapped up, extremely painless. We only gave her Tylenol at Winchester because we thought “why not?” and it probably helped her sleep in the car on the way to Children’s. We were covered by some many prayers today, and we covet each one that you took the time to pray on our family’s behalf. Today was far from perfect, but we had incredible favor in Marin having broken her femur how she did. It was exceptional to not need surgery, it was relatively painless because it only hurt from her bearing weight, it was quick and easy because of February break and efficient staff, it was ideally located because it’s not on a growth plate, but is close enough to benefit from the rapid growth that takes place at her growth plates for quick healing. And as a result, it will hopefully all be over and done with in 3 weeks when we can have a running toddler again. Just in time for her grandparent’s visit and Daddy’s birthday.
Our biggest concern is what to do with a suddenly stationary toddler and how to dress her appropriately in winter, but really, she’s otherwise fine and wonderful. And we are so incredibly grateful for that.