Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Birthday Breakdown

Well, I was due for a good breakdown, right?  The quints had been floating right along (with a few hiccups, of course), but I was starting to feel like things were smoothing out.  Sheesh, why do I bother to EVER think that?  I shouldn't..ever, ever again.  Remind me. 

Last week was my birthday.  In my family, we LOVE birthdays.  I mean, we love them.  We count down days.  We sing.  As children, my older sister and I did birthday treasure hunts with rhyming clues (yes, my mom is the bees knees!).  She even wrapped all of our gifts in matching paper with the most beautiful, bountiful bows you've ever seen.  I love a birthday with my mama--she always makes my heart feel full.  You know that feeling. 

In my mind, birthdays include cake, friends, laughter, and a day of love.   This year, I'd planned to get out of the house for the afternoon.  See a good friend, get some work done, and take myself on a little shopping trip.  I realize it's rare when your work makes you as happy as mine does for me.  It's truly a gift.  

And yet, I digress.  

My birthday was Tuesday.  On the Saturday prior, our sweet Millie starting to feel icky.  She had some nasal drainage and struggled to sleep comfortably.  By Monday (day before d-day, I mean b'day), I couldn't put Millie down because she was so uncomfortable.

Michael was traveling on Sunday/Monday and as I was trying to feed all the babies Monday morning, Millie would.not.let.me.go.  She clung to me like a hungry monkey and screamed at any sudden movement.

AND, she wouldn't sleep, ya'll.  Every time I tried to get her to sleep, she screamed.  A blood-curdling, "this is NOT OK" sort of scream.  On Monday after breakfast, I put her down to put the other babies down for their nap.  She screamed.  And screamed.  And screamed. 

I picked her back up.  She continued to scream.  She screamed for 4 hours straight.  I tried her blanket.  Pacifier.  Stuffed penguin.  Singing.  Cartoons.  Juice.  Cheerios.  A walk outside.  A walk inside.  Toys.  Snuggles.  Everything.

By the time a sweet friend and volunteer arrived, I was at my wits end.  My friend Anne put Millie in the stroller and walked her up and down the driveway until she calmed and fell asleep.  This gave me time to feed the other kids lunch (oh right, forgot about that!) and call the doctor.

The doctor and I agreed it seemed like an ear infection, so I needed to bring Millie in for a visit.  Thank goodness our au pair Jess agreed to come on duty early and watch the others while I took Millie to the doc.  

Millie indeed had a double ear infection and thus began antibiotics.  Monday night she continued to struggle to sleep unless she slept on my chest.  I let her sleep on me until 2 am, but as most of you know, mamas don't sleep well with babies on their chests.  At least this one doesn't.  Still, I kept thinking to myself... "Tomorrow is my birthday. I will get out of the house and feel the love (and have peace and quiet)." 

It was after dinner that night that the lady that helps out on Tuesdays texted me.  She said she had the stomach flu and couldn't come to work the next day.  I would have to stay home.  No birthday outing.  No friends.  No cake.  No nothing.

I was wrecked.  I was unbelievably sad.  The next morning I cried into Michael's chest, muttering, "I just wanted ONE day to be about me."  

I felt selfish and guilty (a mom's hobby, I'm learning).  I should WANT to stay home with my babies, no matter how sick they are or how much I want birthday cake, right?  But, I was so tired--mentally and physically.  By this point, all of the kids had a cold and I had little help and even less sleep.  

I tell myself that I should be as kind and gracious to myself that I try to be to my friends.  Somehow, that's easier said than done (right, mamas?).  I feel guilty--so often.  I feel sad.  I wonder how I'll survive (much less thrive in) this beautiful chaos.  I worry I miss out on so much joy because the exhaustion clouds my view.  Some days this beautiful blessing feels like so much to carry.

My dad's mom (the original Clara before my Clara) always said, "sometimes you can't around a challenge.  You can't go around.  You can't go over it.  You can't go over it.  You just wade through it."

So that's what I'm doing during this tough time.  I'm wading through it.  I'm wading through and lifting up my eyes as I thank God for the little joys that He's given me on the daily basis.

Isabelle learns to jump as Millie cheers her on.   Millie's favorite word is 'YAY!!"


 

2 comments:

  1. Maybe this is your year for a half birthday. Always celebrated one of our daughter's half birthday because her actual birthday was near Christmas. Just think how nice it would be to have a celebration in September with five little people to help blow out the candles...again and again and again.

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