Friday, August 15, 2014

Big Decisions and Other News

We continue in living in a state of overwhelm.  Most importantly, we've been blown away by the generosity of others--both in the giving of time, energy, and physical resources in the aftermath of the accident and Pip's diagnosis.  People are giving to us in generous, voluntary ways that we know are requiring sacrifice on their parts.  God is moving through his church on our behalf.

There are still big things happening.  Pip spent two weeks on Elecare, his second elemental formula.  However, we were still having days in which he screamed more often than not, and he seemed to be vomiting on occasion for no good reason.  On the screaming days his eczema also flares terribly.  I waited it out awhile, but finally called his specialist yesterday to ask about it.  He is now on yet another elemental formula called Neocate, and we're praying that he'll be "all the way better" on it.  Apparently some FPIES babies really only handle the Neocate, even though all three formulas he's tried are hypoallergenic.  This morning, upon changing his diaper, there were flecks of what I'm afraid might be blood.  I have another call in to the doctor.  I feel like a first time mom again--so unsure and insecure about so many things.

Pip taking a bottle.

Pip on a day he felt decent at the park.  He doesn't look like a baby who's costing $1,000 a month in medical...

We continue to work through the mire of the insurance claims for the accident as well.  I have another doctor's appointment on Tuesday since my back is still quite sore.  The car was, unsurprisingly, a total loss.  However, it had been totaled once before when a tree fell on it (mechanically it was fine), which means it wasn't worth much anymore.  What we'll get in the settlement is less than half of what we'll need to buy something comparable (another used Ford Focus).  In the meantime, a family from church has offered to let us borrow a car.  We've only been at this church a couple of months, and we've never felt so loved by a church body.  I don't think we've scraped our jaws off of the floor yet.

There are also some other big decisions to make within the week.  Decisions that are big, difficult, and emotionally complex for me.  Decisions regarding school for our children this year. I've always planned on homeschooling.  Initially, coming from the background we did, I believed it to be the only Christian option for educating our children.  I'm so far from that place now.  However, it is still something that I love and am passionate about.

I love these guys, and the flexibility homeschooling provides to do things like spending the morning painting in the driveway.

Last year, when Ryan worked 70 hours a week for months after Pip was born, I hit my limit.  Really hit it. Postpartum depression, plus four young kids, and never seeing my husband took their toll.  So, I entered Mercy into the lottery for a local charter school that has a wonderful reputation.  She was drawn for enrollment.  I also enrolled Gilead in the local Lutheran Preschool.  That was the plan. We'd prayed about it and were at peace.  Then, I couldn't stop thinking about how many hours a day Mercy would be gone.  It just felt like by the time we practiced violin and did homework she wouldn't have any time to play with her brothers and just be home. 

So, we really worked our budget and thought we could hire a "mother's helper" to help me out.  That way I could continue to homeschool, but the entire burden of school and maintaining the home wouldn't be all on me.  As it turns out, my mother's helper may not be available after this October, and Pip is requiring more time than I'd planned on.  I started to consider the school option again, but was heartbroken about it.

Then, I remembered a local homeschool co-op that meets for two full days a week.  The other three days you complete the work at home.  I got all excited, and inquired.  Both the 1st grade and Pre-K were full.  So, tearfully, I decided that school would be our best option after all.  Right now I feel like I can't give all of my children everything they need.  I know plenty of homeschoolers don't think taking the year mostly off would be a big deal.  It's only 1st grade.  However, both my personality and educational philosophy rebel against that, and I'm not at peace with just letting her education go for the year.  I've prayed about it and prayed about it, and I'm still not.

This morning, I sat down at the computer to send some necessary emails to solidify the "sending them to school" plan.  There, in my inbox, was an email from the co-op.  Since yesterday they have an opening in the first grade.

School at the charter school starts next Wednesday.  Decisions need to be made quickly.  I love the idea of the co-op.  We need prayer in determining if, under the circumstances, it will still place too much of a burden on me at home.  We also need to decide if it's financially possible between tuition and gasoline costs.  My heart hurts.  If we need to take a break from homeschooling it feels like an admission of failure, even though I know it's so far from that. There's no sin in sending them to school.  It's also the giving up of something I love.  However, I don't love feeling as though I'm short changing my children because I'm pulled in so many different directions.

Whatever we decide, they now have backpacks that they're incredibly excited about...

I know that, whatever we end up needing to do, God will give us the grace for it.  If we place Mercy in the charter, He can bless that, and we can all thrive.  He can also provide the means for the co-op.  But we still have to make a decision, and right now, that's the hard part.

Monday, August 4, 2014

When Life is Hard

It's no secret that life this side of heaven isn't easy, but sometimes it's easier than others.  In one week it feels like the sky broke loose and I've barely managed not to drown.  I'll (hopefully) try to flesh it all out later, but for now, here's a brief outline of the past week.

Monday was our 7th anniversary.  Despite Ryan working a long day I had a great day with the kids and started this blog, and in the afternoon I spontaneously decided to take them downtown to meet Ryan for dinner after work.  It sounded like a lot more fun than feeding them leftovers at home without him.  And it was.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed Five Guys, as did we.  

Before heading home Ryan offered to let me drive the commuter car home so that I could have some rare "alone time" while he drove the kids in the van.  I jumped on the idea.  35 minutes by myself!

Shortly after getting onto the interstate I noticed a car heading into my lane.  Not just my lane, but same part of the lane that I was occupying.  I reacted and swerved left, but the next thing I knew the car was spinning hard to the right (she clipped me in the back, which sent me spinning).  I registered seeing the driver of the other vehicle  right before the front of my car made contact with hers.  It was all so fast, and so terrifying.  The next thing I knew I was all the way off the interstate on the right.

Thankfully, apart from having whiplash the length of my back and neck, I'm fine, as were those in the other car.  At those speeds it could have been so, so bad.  We know that God was protecting so, so actively.  

It was quickly deemed that I wasn't at fault.  We're now in the midst of dealing with the claim.

The next day, Tuesday, I took Pip in to see a pediatric gastroenterologist. He was diagnosed with FPIES.  It's a lot to wrap our brains around. For more information, you can go to the FPIES Foundation.  In short, he has a very rare condition that causes him to react to the protein in foods--some so severely that he is at risk of going into shock.  My sister has also started a YouCaring page to help raise funds to aid in caring for Pip during this time.

Pip on a beautiful day in early June.

So, we've been thrust into the world of caring for a medically fragile child and recovering from an accident while attending to the rest of life.  I don't have the capacity to sort it all out here right now.  We're just living one day at a time in faith.  Trusting God and that He's here in the midst of all of this.  And He is, even when it feels dark.  We've been shown love from friends, family, and our new church family.  Each being Jesus to us when we need to see His presence so very much.