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Gratitude and Giving

Last night was rough.  For a minute, I found myself wondering what life would be like if something were to happen to Isaac.img_7786

He had been kind of fussy, and hadn’t really napped all afternoon.  He projectile vomited after he nursed in the evening, and was even fussier after that.  I had been going through the mental-mommy-checklist all day…warm enough? cool enough? teeth? something weird that I ate?  And then, I undressed him for bed and noticed that his belly button was dark purple.

A purple belly button is obviously not normal, and it can be a sign of serious problems.  Sometimes, umbilical hernias can block the intestines and surgery is needed immediately. 

I was terrified.  I held it together at first, but in the car on the way to the emergency room, I kind of lost it.  I told Bart that I had never been so scared in my life, and it was true.  What if he needed surgery that night?  What if they had to take him from me for tests?  What if he cried while they were examining him and there was nothing I could do to help?


And then, the what-ifs became worse. 

What if that was the last time I would ever hold him in my arms and nurse him?

What if the photos I posted yesterday were the last ones I took of him?

What if I had to go home and tell Adam that his Baby Brudder was gone?

What if this sweet, beautiful, easy to care for baby really was too good to be true?



I didn’t really know if it was a life-threatening situation, but it was probably the scariest thing I’ve been through as a parent.



At the ER, they checked all of his vital signs and a very sweet doctor examined him.  She pushed on his belly, and he smiled at her.  We undressed him and did x-rays, and he didn’t cry once.  I started to feel silly, like I had totally overreacted.  This clearly was not a sick baby! 

And the x-rays confirmed that.  Yes, there was an umbilical hernia, but no intestines or anything wrapped up in it.  The x-rays showed a gassy tummy, which probably caused the spitting and fussiness.  The purple belly button was odd, but the absence of other major symptoms meant that he was probably fine.  Just to be safe, the doctor called the pediatrician on duty, and had us wait an hour after I nursed him to make sure he kept it down okay.  He did, and while we were waiting, he filled his diaper; another sign that everything was okay.


The doctor could not find an explanation for the purple belly button…maybe it got irritated during tummy time?  Maybe it was just from straining to poo?  But she felt confident that there was nothing seriously wrong with Isaac, and my fears were calmed.


We went home, relieved and thankful, saying silent prayers of gratitude.  Now, in the light of the day, with my sweet baby in my arms, I can’t imagine our lives without him.  But last night, I caught a glimpse of what it might be like to be completely helpless, faced with the suffering or death of a child.  I have renewed admiration and heartache for parents who have been through that.img_7788  

I believe, more and more, that God gives us certain experiences to shape our character.  Last night, he reminded me that I am selfish and ungrateful.  I have two (three) fabulous, amazing boys in my life, but I am selfish with my time and energy.  Instead of being grateful for the blessings He’s given me, I sometimes resent the fact that those boys NEED so much from me.  Last night, I would have given anything and everything to make sure Isaac was okay, and I would do the same for Bart and Adam.  But what I should really do is just give more everyday – more patience, more time, more energy, more empathy and more gratitude.  

Would you like to comment?

  1. Beautifully said Katie. Thank goodness your wee one is fine....it is moments like these that make us truly grateful for health and well being. :-)

  2. thank goodness! so glad all is ok. you did the right thing by going to the er... better safe than sorry always!

  3. Beautifully said. I once had to take my 3 yo to the ER with a piece of GLASS protruding from his chest and no idea if it was a teeny piece or 3" long. I also vividly remember the strange symptoms that led a particularly blunt Dr. to say "well if we are looking at cancer ..." and my entire world shifted. Lurched. I've never fainted in my life but I suddenly understood the phrase "the world dropped out from under me."

    In both cases my baby was blessedly fine and I'm so glad yours is too. In each instance I was so grateful, blubberingly so, that nothing serious had happened to me, and then so stunned to realize that others don't always get that blessed reprieve.

    Hope "Baby Brudder" is feeling sassy and happy again today!

  4. Oh sooo glad everything is ok! for a second there i thought something might be wrong!

    Good that everything turned out to be allright!

  5. Don't be too hard on yourself. Your Mother's Intuition was working just fine, but Mother's Anxiety is right beside it, and sometimes it does run away from all practical reason. I was worried the other night that we would lose Hannah for some reason known only to my subconscious mind. I think it's just part of our Mommy wiring to fret and worry so, and all of that worry can get overwhelming at times. You are a good mom, and you do a great job. If you take a bit of time for yourself, it is so you can come back to your boys stronger and happier because you had a bit of a break. Never forget the big rule: Breathe in...Breathe out...... hug a kid or two....breathe in....breathe out and repeat many many times!

  6. I am so glad Isaac is okay. It's so scary to think what our world would be like if we loss our children. Every time I hold Matthew, I squeeze him just a little bit tighter so he knows that I love him and I thank God for sending me such a beautiful baby!

    Enjoy every minute with your boys!

  7. So glad he is o.k. I can't even begin to imagine our life without Jemma. She passed out on my last fall and that was the most scared I have ever been in my life. I love how you put all those emotions into this beautiful post. I copied the last bit and am going to put it in my closet where I will see it everyday. I love it. Have a peaceful evening. It looks like Isaac is sleeping well in these pictures!

  8. So glad Isaac is okay! Thanks for sharing, and for reminding us to hold our babies a little tighter, and to relish the moments when they need us.

  9. I'm glad he's OK, and it's a good thing that you know about the hernia now. Like Lana said, mother's intuition and mother's anxiety are close relatives and sometimes they get a little enmeshed. I have to stop myself from taking my kids to the ER to get head CTs every time they fall. Mr. Man did something to his eye that give him a big red goose egg right below his browbone a few days ago. That combined with a mystery bruise on his chest was making me think about internal bleeding and all kinds of crazy unpleasant stuff. But it's just a bruise, and just a goose egg, and he's fine.

    I have a niece who had cancer (at five months old) and it did put a lot of things in perspective. Before she got sick Mr. Man had been diagnosed with autism and after a brief period of anger and sadness, I told myself that of all the diseases he could have, if I had to choose one I'd choose this one. That was really cemented when my niece got her diagnosis. Even though every once in a while I need to have a few hours to myself to keep my sanity, I love my kids more than life and I give them all I can. I know you do the same.

  10. What a sweet baby and every mother goes through those fears at some point. He sure is cute!

  11. I'm so glad that gorgeous baby is ok! Isn't it horrible where your mind runs off to??? My middle son is having his tonsils out on Friday and all the things that can go wrong are constantly going through my head...I guess that's what makes us moms...

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  12. Aww, I'm so glad he's okay! That's a really scary experience! I'm glad that you can take something positive from it, though, and turn it into a learning experience.


  13. Such a precious little boy. I am happy to know he is OK. Thanks for the reminder about what is most important.

  14. Katie. I'm so glad I read this today. Your message at the end with the timing was perfect for me.

    The Lord must have known how much I would need this message in my life right now.

    Love you dearly. Glad, so glad, that everything is ok.

    You take care of yourself and those wonderful men!

    Love you!

  15. I'm so glad he's ok! Just reading through this made my heart pound, not only for what you would say (though I had read Monday's post, so I should've known he was fine), but also set my mind racing about my Curly Kids. Of course, my mind races over my Curly kids anytime they sleep past 6 AM and I completely miss my chance to sleep in!
    God bless you and all your boys!