Well, to say that 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement. It was a year full of surprises (both good and bad), unbelievable stresses, and so much more than I could have ever imagined.
On top of everything we had just gotten married (we celebrated our 1 year anniversary on December 25th!!) and found out that we were expecting. That in itself can be quite stressful but we were also dealing with our new house issues (which seem to be never-ending) and it felt like things kept hitting us one right after another.
In January of 2020, we learned that our pregnancy was extremely high risk and the odds of making it to term and having our baby survive birth were very grim. I also began experiencing some pregnancy-related issues with my thyroid and blood pressure which I’d never had issues with before.
I seriously felt like I was losing my mind and felt completely helpless about everything. I was doing my best to ‘hold it together’ and kept myself busy working on our new house so we could get moved in.
Then the COVID pandemic took over and so many restrictions were put into place. We moved into our home during the beginning of it and all the hopes we had of celebrating our accomplishments with friends and family were dashed.
That in itself was upsetting as we’d also been separated from our beloved square dance family and I was already beginning to feel isolated. As the following months followed that feeling grew and grew and I could feel a bit of depression trying to settle in.
My husband wasn’t allowed to come to appointments with me. I had to face all the grim news alone and I shed many tears in the doctor’s office. They pretty much got accustomed to me coming in with a smile and leaving with puffy red eyes… they hold even keep me in the room for a bit so I could collect myself after each appointment.
I can’t say that I blame them because it wouldn’t help reassure any mom-to-be that everything was going to be alright when they can obviously tell that something wasn’t ‘ok’ with me.
A lot of the tears came from what felt like a constant push from the doctors to ‘stop being selfish and do what was right’ and just terminate the pregnancy. I had to request that they not suggest or bring it up several times but they still did almost every time I went in.
There definitely was an internal battle going on because termination was not an option for me but was it true that I was being ‘selfish’? Several doctors insisted that our baby would have severe handicaps and would basically be a vegetable and would have no quality of life at all.
While dealing with all of these emotions my body was also shutting down. I had the thyroid issues, blood pressure issues, some cardiac issues, extreme nausea, kidney stones, and by the time we moved into our new home I was almost bedridden.
Everyday was a struggle just to get the basic things accomplished and make sure the kiddos were fed and such. I did my best to keep nourishing my body so the little one growing inside would get the best start possible but even that was a struggle as I had absolutely no energy or appetite.
I felt so bad that I wasn’t even doing what I needed to do to prepare for our little one’s impending arrival. Thankfully something clicked on me day and I decided that I wasn’t going to listen to anything negative but rather just focus on the positive.
Some of friends and family came together to have a ‘mail order’ baby shower and they sent tons of gifts. We took pictures of us opening the gifts and posted them on Facebook for everyone to see. It wasn’t the way things should’ve been but it was very uplifting to see how many people were praying and supporting us during such a difficult time.
The kiddos held up fairly well even though they missed being able to get out and do everything we had done previously. We had plans of zoo trips and museum adventures but all of that was put on hold due to COVID.
Needless to say our routines and schedules also fell by the wayside. I tried to keep the basic stuff going like laundry and some basic cleaning. I orchestrated as much as I could from the recliner and had chairs set up in every room so that I could have a place to sit when I needed to supervise activities.
Most of the meals were made as I sat at the kitchen island because walking short distances or standing for any amount of time would cause me to get short of breath and extremely lightheaded.
Seeing everything that needed to be done and trying to spend ‘quality’ time with my other kiddos felt like a complete failure… I just couldn’t juggle or multitask. I felt like I couldn’t ask for friends or family to come and help because of the COVID restrictions and I truly felt as though I was drowning.
I kept telling myself that once the baby got here things would get better and we’d get back into routine. I told myself that I’d have more time and energy to get things in order and straight when she got home.
We had already made plans for my daughters to be here when she was born so they could stay with the kiddos at home while I was at the hospital. Plane tickets had been bought and leave from work scheduled when little miss decided to come a couple of weeks early.
Once again our lives where thrown into a whirlwind as we tried to arrange childcare while I was in the hospital. Then when I was discharged it was another crazy mess and our routines flew out the window as I desperately tried to hold onto my sanity between keeping up with the house and kids, visiting the baby in the NICU, and trying to squeeze in times to pump, shower, eat, and sleep. Life was a crazy mess!
Shortly after she was born some of my family tested positive for COVID. Two of them fought for their lives and one didn’t make it. The not knowing how your loved one was doing and waiting on the doctor to call with updates was so hard. It was definitely a daily struggle as we’d wait for that call in the morning to let us know if they made it through the night and then wait for another call later that day if there had been any changes. It was just excruciating and so much to try to make sense of at one time.
Then a week or so later I got the call that our daughter had been exposed in the NICU. I just about fell to pieces when the doctor gave me the news. The one place where she should have been safest and she wasn’t safe at all. She was quarantined which was an emotional experience that I might share later but thankfully I was still allowed to visit with strict guidelines to follow.
Things settled down a tad when she got home but then we found ourselves overwhelmed with appointments and telemed visits with all of the specialists and therapists.
We had a nurse sent to us who has proven to be an angel on earth as we tried to adjust to having a medically complex baby in the house. Just as all of that seemed to get a bit more manageable it was getting close to time for her open heart surgery.
That too didn’t go as scheduled. We had arrangements made for big sister to come be with the kiddos so Mommy could stay at the hospital but the day before our pre-ops the office called to say that her surgery was being postponed until the following week.
We never got a call with a date and little miss decided she wasn’t waiting any longer and took things into her own little hands. She ended up being admitted on the Thursday before Halloween and had surgery the following Monday.
When we got back home there were no remnants of our past routines left. The house and everyone in it were just CHAOS… including the dog.
None of it really seemed to matter though as we were just basking in the revelation of just how blessed we were and how thankful we were to have our family together again. All I can say is that God has had us in the palm of his hand and he has taken care of us through it all.
Just after Thanksgiving we lost another family member as well. I didn’t take it well because I had promised I’d be back to visit and I hadn’t been able to because of the pregnancy and COVID. I have found comfort knowing that I’ll see all of them again and that they are truly in a better place.
The past two months I’ve just truly been in survival mode. I’ve tried to ‘fake it until you make it’ but I’m not making it anywhere yet. It’s been so hard to be so completely and utterly out of control when I am not accustomed to this. I’m not a control freak but I did like having our schedules and routines to keep us in check.
Last week I was so unhappy and couldn’t really figure out why. I mean we are so blessed in so many ways but when I looked around my house it was (and currently still is) total chaos. I’ve never had my house to be in such disarray… from dirty socks hanging out in the living room, empty toilet paper rolls playing in the bathroom, cobwebs everywhere I look, and everyone running around like sugar laden zombies not knowing what to do next.
Ok, maybe the sugar laden zombies were my doing as I went a little overboard with the Christmas goodies but now it’s time to get back on track.
Several times over the past few months I’ve really tried to get back in routine but I keep skipping off track like a scratched record… things are going along beautifully and then out of nowhere we hit a bump or two and can’t seem to find our groove again.
Well, this is a new year and I am determined to get back on track. I’m going to take it one day at a time with everything. I did invest in a couple of nice calendars and have all of our important dates and appointments written down.
The calendars also have areas to write notes/goals so I may start utilizing those spaces to help keep me in check.
I had an app on my phone that helped me keep track of routines but sometime over the past year they all disappeared! Thankfully I’ve written a few posts about our routines and schedules so I can reference them to help get back on track. I also have some routines printed out.
I plan to use all of these resources to get some new routines going by setting up my daily priorities and building on those. I’ve been told that I’ve just been trying to do too much and there is a possibility that I have.
Having a houseful of kiddos who depend on you can be overwhelming but when you add a new baby it is definitely overwhelming at times. When you add that a couple of the kiddos are special needs and that the littlest one is medically complex things can get interesting.
Over the past month a lot of things have come to light about the paperwork for our house… things that weren’t correct and so it’s been a mess trying to get it all sorted out as well. It’s also been stressful as things are here and there and I have to search through this pile and that pile to find the correct paperwork.
One of my main priorities this month will be to get my ‘office space’ set up. I’ve been waiting for this and that to happen but for now I’m just going to need to make do with what I already have so I can have a space that functions for our household.
Another priority will be getting the kids clothes organized because they are a hot mess!!! I need to get rid of the clothes that are too small because my boys have been coming out with some interesting outfits in the mornings. I have already tackled my closet and the baby’s dresser and I have a plan to tackle the other areas and hope to start this week.
Then we also need to get back to homeschooling… yeah, we’ve had a few breaks but they are learning important skills everyday even if we don’t have our noses in the books everyday.
I’ve also sat down this morning and planned out a few THM meals for myself because those sugary treats didn’t zombify me but they have made me a little extra squishy… 🙄
I know that sometimes when we feel like things are playing like a broken record we can be tempted to throw it all out the window and start new but if we know that the songs/routines were good we shouldn’t just start new. We can clean them up a little and keep going over them again and again until we find the right groove again. It just takes a little time and patience to see it through.
Having a plan to get things going makes me feel better and I’m going to pull out those old routines and see how I can clean them up to get back in my groove because I know that I’ll feel better and everyone will benefit from having a happy Momma in the house.