Guest Post: Isabella Stofberg
Winter: our current season. It’s July in South Africa. Since we live in the southern hemisphere, June is one of the coldest months of the year. The last few months have been rather “chilling” to say the least, End of March my baby boy was due, our second child. I was debilitated by sciatica the last month of pregnancy, unable to pick up my almost 2 year old girl & unable to stand after 4pm. Consequently we had to “ship” her off to grandma’s until little brother arrived. He was “late” & the 2 year old devastated for having to be away from mom for almost 2 weeks.
After a painful & rather debilitating natural posterior delivery, my beautiful son was brought into this world. It was love at first sight, for the second time. Sadly I was yet again unable to walk well or pick up my 2 year old. Grateful my parents where visiting from the US to help.
On his 8th day of life my son was admitted for a severe urinary tract infection and was treated with high dose intravenous antibiotics for 5 days. I knew “something was up” and we caught it just before he started going septic. The Dr poked him SEVEN times before finally getting an IV line. Since I was exclusively breastfeeding I stayed with him 24/7. I was still recovering from the delivery & unable to sit/breastfeed upright & was now confined to a chair next to my baby’s crib in a room with 6 other beds. Yikes! Since my parents where leaving the following week we planned to have him baptised by his paternal grandfather, & namesake, while they where here, but his 5th dose was scheduled on the only available Sunday. The Dr that admitted him was a believer and let him out on “probation” with his little IV, so he can get baptised. 4 IVs later we got discharged: we survived and could finally start bonding as a family again.
A week later my son got admitted for dysentery: a severe form of gastroenteritis that causes bloody diarrhea. We were yet again admitted......for 5 days of IV antibiotics. Arrgh! At least we got a “private room” for needing to be in isolation. I guess bloody diarrhea can have its perks some times☺. 4 IVs later (2 being on his HEAD) we got discharged. His last IV dose was done outpatient and after it was over (they gave it intramuscularly, aka a shot, because his head IV went bad, AGAIN!) I was soo unbelievably happy and relieved. I got home, breastfed him and put him in his swing, picked him up to take him to another room, got dizzy half way there and dropped him, on his head. Back to the hospital we go. Got his head scanned and bam.......we won ourselves another hospital stay, but this time in the Pediatric ICU. (The scan revealed he had a really bad scull fracture and a small bleed in his head). He was mostly there for observation and recovered well but it still sucked big time.
Althought my son was the only one getting admitted the rest of us were also struggling to stay healthy, especially my daughter. She was battling killer ear infections & was picking up every nasty little bug from kindergarten. The day after getting discharged with my son from the Peds ICU, my daughter’s pediatritian tells me SHE needs to go for ear surgery...the very next day! What??? It went well.
I will spare you the details of all the myriad of other things that went “wrong” during this time period but I do however want to share the truly encouraging part of it all: God with us!
Throughout this time period I was astutely aware of God’s presence. If it wasn’t a loving godly nurse or a believer doctor, it was my friends and family coming to visit and support us in the hospital with prayers and chocolate. God’s provision abounded.
Also, I have never before in my life been more grateful for my nuclear family. The love in my heart for my husband & two children was so acute during this time. While we were separated in the hospital my heart longed for my little girl & my mother heart ached with love for my son, having to endure so much so early in life.
I also learned that during trials there will always be a time of respite. Be it through comic relief or quiet moments to reflect.
So when you find yourself in the season of winter know that God is near to the broken hearted and He hears our prayers.
Since this is relavant to the blog I also wanted to mention that I have a history of anxiety and depression & my depression was intently exacerbated post partum. I am very grateful my OBGYN put me on Zoloft (sertreline) shortly after delivery. It is currently one of the safer antidepressant for breastfeeding moms & it made the world of difference for me.