Saturday, May 18, 2013

Grace in the Needs

"Some days/weeks it's about the special, and sometimes it's about the needs."
That's what my friend, Cara, responded on a facebook post of mine this week. I think it's genius. 

Generally, our lives are about the special, but this week, it seemed to be all needs. We had four therapy appointments, two specialist appointments, a preschool screening, and a medical procedure under general anesthesia that resulted in a new and unwelcome diagnosis (subglottic stenosis).

I'm tired.

Even without all that other stuff, I'm tired. Bogdan is a terrible sleeper. Which is funny, because the one thing they told me about his habits was that he "is a very good sleeper." HA! Joke's on us.

Let me tell you, sleep is very important to me. It almost ranks up there with coffee. I am one of those people who must have eight hours every night and nine on weekends to be a functioning, pleasant member of society. I am not sure how I survived the newborn stage of our other seven kids except that I was younger then. 

I am not coping well with being awakened multiple times a night, every night by our new three-year-old, no matter how cute he is (and he is so cute). 

Before we adopted him, I tried to prepare myself for every possible outcome. I was prepared to feel as if I were caring for a stranger, prepared for RAD and acting out, prepared for  health issues and parasites. For whatever reason, (probably because I had a piece of paper telling me it wouldn't be an issue) I was NOT prepared for unending sleepless nights three months after recovering from jet lag. 

The other night, I was crying in frustration, knowing I had to get up in just two hours to go to work and I had been up with him, off and on, for hours already. I took pillows and blankets downstairs to sleep on the couch. 

I felt God ask me, "Will you lay down your expectations and give this to me?"

I realized that most of my frustration was because everything we've tried has failed to make it better and because his sleeping is so random and unpredictable. Most nights, he sleeps for about four hours total, but sometimes, he sleeps a full eight, albeit interrupted. Most days, he seems fine, but sometimes, he can hardly keep his eyes open. We've tried naps and no naps, later and earlier bedtimes, melatonin, etc.

I've mentioned before that I like to be in control. I cannot control this kid's sleep habits and it was driving me crazy. I like predictable and my nights are anything but.

If I give up my expectation to sleep through the night and lay down my need to fix this, my stress will decrease. If I am simply grateful for the sleep I do get, I'll have peace. So I did that in the wee hours of Thursday morning from the comfort of the couch. Last night, he slept through. I don't know if there is a correlation, but it was a gift and I am grateful.    

This morning, I experienced that grace again. Bogdan had a bronchoscope to determine the cause of his stridor and wheezing. I was reading my Bible when they returned him to me. I closed it having just read: 
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead..." Philippians 3:13    
The doctor told me that he has significant scar tissue causing serious narrowing of his airway. "I don't want to scare you, but it's bad," were his exact words. He informed me that it's not currently life threatening but will be if he gets croup or an upper respiratory infection and referred us to the ENT.

As soon as he left the room, I was overcome with guilt. Bo had been home just a day or two when he developed croup and had a weird breathing pattern. We debated about taking him to the emergency room, but talked ourselves out of it in part because we'd dealt with croup before with other kids and thought we could handle it at home. According to our oximeter, his O2 sats were low, too, but I rationalized that it's a cheap machine and a pediatrician once scoffed at me for using it with Eon. What if we'd lost him because of our foolish pride?! My mood began to deteriorate as fear and regret washed over me. 

Suddenly, the Word came flooding back. 
"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead..."
It's in the past. We didn't lose him. We move forward from here. What grace that I read those words immediately before I needed them!

This week was stressful. It was all about the needs. I did not cope well. I was short with my kids, irritable with my husband, crabby with my co-workers, craving fast food, stuffing with cookies. 

But God is good and He was here. And that, and a full nights sleep are worth writing about.



  1. Oh Tara! I hear you on the sleep thing. Our Abel sleeps TERRIBLE!!! And guess what we were told? Yep! The very last thing they said to us as we walked out the door, "Oh, and he sleeps very well!" HAHAHAHAHA I didn't believe them. He's sharing a room with two of his brothers but we're thinking of moving him into the guest room. I'm praying a T&A will help. If not, sleep meds are in his future. I wasted years of not sleeping with Angela when all she needed was a little clonidine. Our Neuro Psych spent several years suggesting it and I spent those years saying "No way will I put my kid on those drugs!" She'd had all the tests to make sure there wasn't a medical reason for her to be waking. That first night, when she slept 10 hours, I couldn't believe I'd wasted all those years!

    Both Axel and Asher brought with them a medical surprise. I'd be surprised if Abel isn't hiding something. But I'll tell you what! If I found the THIRD kid with DS in Serbia who has AAI, I AM going to start buying weekly lottery tickets!!!!

  2. I love sleep too! But one of my favorite child advice givers said "once my husband and I stopped expecting to sleep at night we became much happier because our hopes weren't dashed every night." Yikes. I am coming up on a stage of life where I may just have to take that plunge and trust God to preserve me there, too :-)