Last time we went to the Children’s Hospital, I was nervous, but ready to get PipSqueak’s surgery over with.
At the pre-op appointment, I was inundated with information about surgery and recovery. Why did the surgeon wait until just hours before surgery to tell me all those details? I was trying to wrap my mind around it all. Suddenly the Dr said “we can’t do surgery now, come back in a few weeks.” The baby was getting molars. The herbal teething remedy I had given her contained ingredients which could cause problems with anesthesia. Oops, but seriously, we had to postpone surgery? Apparently yes.
That night, Duane and I struggled to get both kids to go to sleep in our hotel room. I was very thankful we did not have to be back at the hospital at 6am for surgery. It was a huge relief to not do surgery. But now we need to do the whole exhausting trip to the city all over again. Only this time, we have to do surgery too. That whole event was like a Dress Rehearsal. Which went terrible! It does not give me much confidence the actual event will be any better. But at least I know what to expect next time.
In the past, I faced challenges head-on, drawing strength from previous victories.
I traveled alone in India. All the while reminding myself of the time a few months earlier, when I drove from Idaho to Montana alone. I barely knew how to drive stick-shift, but I made it. I only stalled 6 times in a 12 hour drive.
For the next several years, every time I faced something big and scary, I reminded myself of 12 hours driving stick-shift, and how God kept me safe and alive when I traveled alone in India. But those events were over 7 years ago now. Their ability to give me confidence has diminished. Do I have a more recent victories to draw strength from?
I think of the big challenges which Duane and I faced together. As newlyweds, we moved to India on a 1-way ticket. Only to return to the USA, 4 months later. Mourning the death of a dream, but thankful to still be alive. A year later, we were going to lead a team back to India. Returning to India would have been a big victory for me. But I discovered I was pregnant with Monkey. Already plagued with nightmares of loosing her, there was no way I was going back to India. India had stolen so much from us already, I wasn’t going to let it take my daughter too.
The next year, we faced the challenge of taking a new baby on a 3-month road trip. I was still dealing with health issues (thanks to India). And Duane’s chronic back-pain made driving miserable. Then in Virginia, came the surprising discovery of a peanut allergy. We cut our trip short and returned home like a whimpering puppy with it’s tail between it’s legs.
In fact, that scene is the conclusion of every big challenge I’ve faced since marriage. Instead of finishing well, high-5ing each other and proud of our victory, we’ve barely made it out alive and are thankful to have survived. If only by the skin of our teeth.
While I don’t want to do that ever again, I am thankful for how we have learned and grown. God “works all things together for good.” Don’t get me wrong, we have had some achievements, successes, and victories. But those were quickly drowned out by a flood of disappointing losses and disappointments.
The miracles surrounding PipSqueak’s birth were incredible. But we still had to deal with cleft palate, 8 days in the NICU, and a year of difficulties with eating. Now God has healed the baby’s eczema and she’s “outgrown” the issues with tongue-tie. He healed my food allergies, and Duane’s back pain too. But the baby still needs surgery to repair the cleft palate. Come on God! Can’t You just do one more little thing for us?
The past 5 years we have faced challenge after challenge, with just enough victories to cling to the hope things will get better.
But the more hope I have, the deeper the pain of disappointment. Each disappointment makes it harder and harder to hope again.
It feels as if I am lost as sea, trying not to drown. Just in a nick of time, someone throws me a life jacket, or a rescue boat pick me up. But it is only a momentary relief, before the boat sinks and the life-jacket pops. I am still alive, but I am still drowning. I’m exhausted from trying to survive. Take a deep breath, because here comes the next big wave, and there’s no guarantee we will make it out alive.
Ok, so thats a little bit over-dramatic, considering it’s just a simple cleft palate surgery. Can this just be over already?!