Oh hey. I'm Ansley, I am a mama to a beautiful baby girl who is almost one (stop crying woman, get it together). I'm so thankful to be able to just share my experience with Quinn with others. Lord knows others have helped ME immensely by sharing their lives!
Quinn came into the world in a very...dramatic way. Born on her due date and seemingly perfect. But before she was even 1 day old, she was on ECMO, the most invasive life support machine that's used for babies who don't have any other chance to live other than trying the machine. Quinn had developed severe lung failure due to aspiration pneumonia and a PDA in her heart that had taken a little longer than normal to close. It was the worst 9 weeks, watching her struggle to live. But my a miracle, we brought her home finally at just over 2 months old, and now she is doing really well. She breathes fully on her own, she has no signs of brain damage from any of the machines and sickness, and she is beautiful and happy. The only hitch is: she cannot eat or drink yet. She has a G-tube, a surgical feeding tube in her stomach, that we feed her through right now. And hopefully soon the therapy will help us to get her off the tube and to eating and drinking by mouth.
It's no easy road. It's long and at times discouraging, but we are SO grateful for where she is and how far she has come! We fully believe she's destined for incredible things. But isn't that how we all feel as moms? Don't we ALL feel like we have good days and bad days? Don't we all have times where we are insecure in our parenting, worried about our child's health, or feel like the luckiest people in the world for having our kids? It's oftentimes a roller coaster. But the emotions we feel do not have to dictate our consistency as people or our joy. I feel like there are a few main themes from our first year of navigating life with a baby who has had a lot of odds to overcome from her first day on the earth. Here are the top 5 things life with Quinn this year has helped us to learn, and what we wish we had known going into it.
1) There is no right or wrong way to do things! Guys. I change Quinn on whatever surface I can find. I don't always sing a nighttime song or read a bedtime book with her, and we still wear her in a baby Bjorn carrier at 11 months old. We use disposable diapers and I didn't make it more than 4 months pumping breastmilk. What works for one mom, may not work for you and that is AWESOME. Roll with it. Do you, boo-boo.
2) The "boring" things are the most beautiful opportunities for memory making. I can't tell you how many times I catch myself getting annoyed at trivial things when I could be finding the fun in them for both her and me.
3) You cannot parent alone. No matter what your personality type, you aren't meant to do this junk by yourself. Having other moms to just talk to, and to exchange encouragement and accountability with makes the world of difference. You and your kiddo both will benefit so much more from buying into this. I wish I'd done it so much earlier.
4) Being honest about your failures and feelings opens the conversation about Jesus. I oftentimes think how I never want Quinn to perceive me as someone who could never mess up or could never be afraid or feel anger or sadness. I never want her to think she can't be real with me, and it's only fair that she can trust me to be real (appropriately) with her. SO many times in the hospital I would whisper over her unconscious little self that I was terrified, angry, sad, or that I didn't know what to do. But I also whispered that God did know, God wasn't afraid, and that He was bigger. I whispered that she and I and her dad would get through it together as a family. I hope I can point her to Jesus both in the "good things" I happen to actually accomplish (LOL.) and in the many many mistakes I know I will make.
5) We gotta stop judging other moms both verbally and in our own heads. Yeah. I'm guilty of this, and I hate that about myself. But this year has convicted me HARD of how messed up it is to look at another family or mom and make assumptions about what they are doing or why they are doing it. You never know what people are dealing with. You never know the pain that could be going on that they are battling. And honestly, it doesn't even have to be that deep, sometimes we all choose things because it's the way we believe is best. I guess, it makes so much more sense to me now that I've had people look at me funny for things I've done, like mixing formula for my tube fed kid, or refusing to put her in nursery because her immunity took so long to be strong again. As moms it would be so powerful to love each other genuinely and to just listen to one another.
Thanks for listening to my rambling. I hope some of it made sense to one of you! And I'd love to be friends.
You can follow Ansley on Facebook here and Instagram here
You can also follow her through her blog, "Happily Rooted" here