It's a question we all ask ourselves from time to time. Why am I doing this? How did I get here? What can I do to make it better? When will it get easier? Anyone else ever think that??
There has been many nights I get our kids in bed, and while waiting for my husband to get home I take a look around and feel like I am sinking into a pile of sand. There are dishes in the sink, cold dinner on the stove, clothes on the floor, dog hair on the couch, an old banana under the table, a load of clothes in the washer that need to be re-washed because they were from early this morning and now smell like mildew, a pile of bills to be done, a cold cup of coffee in the microwave, a pile of customers to be sorted through, invoicing to be done, events to be booked, and the day has already gone by. It is over. Wow, what a day. Then in the quietness, I thank the Lord for my three healthy children sleeping in a warm bed with a full tummy, and say, "if it is not too much to ask, please give me the strength to push through and continue on tonight as I am feeling weak and defeated".
I warm my husband a plate and wait. Then he walks through the door. My rock. I met my rock when I was sixteen. Married him when I was 18, had a baby girl with him at 19, bought our first house with him at 23, had our twins at 24, fell apart while he held my hand at 25, and have spent years and years with him at my side building myself back to be what God intended me to be. You see, our twins almost broke me. After almost two years of infertility issues, we were beyond excited to finally be expecting again. What we didn't expect was weight loss caused by the inability to hold down food or water for months, the nutrient demand from the babies being so strong that I didn't have the strength to stay awake at work or at home, one twin pulling the nutrients from the other causing one to be much stronger and one to be weakening day by day, one to have potential kidney issues, going into early labor four times which caused me to be put on bed rest that led to a seriously reduced income (did I mention we had just bought our house?), and I had become emotionally unstable over the infertility issues and now that I couldn't provide for our babies like I had for our daughter. I was thankful to be expecting, but it had brought me to a point I had never been to before and didn't know how to handle it, so I took it all out on my rock. Every. Single. Bit. Of. It. My rock, the one who was strong enough to stay with me through the darkest days of my life.
Flash forward to 33 weeks pregnant, I go in alone for a check up just like always. I drive to the doctor, sign myself in, go back for my check up and with in minutes I was in a wheel chair being pushed to labor and delivery. I unknowingly was 4.5 cm dilated and way past the point of stopping labor. I had a child already, you would think you would know if you were dilated right?!? It was too early, I still had almost two months remaining to full gestation.
The boys were born 15 minutes apart, and were 5.3 lbs and 5.4 lbs each. Wow, for two months early they were huge! Thank God. I took that as a good sign, but struggled when we discovered neither could breath on their own. Their lung tissue was underdeveloped and was sticking together so once they exhaled they couldn't take in more air. They were suffocating, and were immediately taken to the nicu and hooked up to machines. I had not gotten to even hold my babies, I had only touched their faces one time. The hospital where I delivered had a new staff member that allowed the pressure in one of the twin's c-pap machine to get so high that it ruptured his lung, filled his chest cavity with air and blood. They had stuck him so many times that the veins in his hands and feet failed so they ran central lines through his belly button and stitched him up. He was critically rushed to the top hospital in our state for treatment. The other twin was held due to "not being critical" so the hospital they were born at refused to release him, which caused a huge battle. The next day, and an almost $8,000.00 charge later for a "non-critical" ambulance ride both our babies were together again.
We lived in Nashville for almost two months, one month at the hospital in a Ronald McDonald room and the other in a hotel. It was hard. One income, not living at home, praying your baby lives, it was HARD. I asked myself why we ever wanted another baby, we had Grace already, why did we have to do what we did. We should have been happy with what we already had not upset at God for not giving us what we wanted, until he did give us what we wanted, and now we had to face potentially loosing one. Life would have been easier. Life was easier for me while struggling with infertility than it was watching your son gasp for air, being fed through a tube in his nose, bleeding out of his chest, and you having no control. The "non-critical" twin could not hold down food, and once we medicated him to do so he had to be medicated to get it back out the other end. We struggled through three pediatricians, a specialist at Vandy, and a GI doctor, dietary restrictions, taking him off breast milk, formula changes, daily drops of medicine, and then to a dis solvable pill we were giving our infant prior to his bottle. The next step was to put him to sleep and run a camera down his throat to find the issue. Wow, one who couldn't breath, the other who couldn't eat. It felt like I had failed them. I should have done something different, but I didn't, and now they are suffering because I was a failure as a mother.
My faith in God told me to hang on. That He would carry us through. I knew there was a reason we had to go through those events in our life, the infertility, the medical issues, the dis-faith in doctors, the low income, my husband working round the clock for extra money, having the mortgage collectors calling daily setting us up for foreclosure on our house...our house... with the bedroom of our innocent four-year old angel and nursery for our newborns who above all needed a safe place to grow in, and not being able to be the mother or wife I wanted to be. I didn't know it then, but it was because of these events Rustique Essentials was ever even created. The information we pass on, the good we do, the products we offer, and the faith we share are all in existence because I fell apart at 25 then fell back together again armed with information and the ability to make life better with a faith in God as strong as the mighty mountain.
So those nights I am feeling overwhelmed, sinking into my pile of sand, I am able to keep going because some where there is a man or woman standing in the shoes I once stood in and I have to try and reach them to let them know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have to tell them that when they are hanging by a thread, on the verge of loosing it all, close your eyes and ask what the purpose of this event could be. Find the good. There is reason and balance to all that happen to us. The dark days balance the light, they teach us lessons which will mold us into the people God wants us to be. So when you are asking yourself those why, when, and how questions just know there is purpose to what you are doing. All you have to do is be willing to take the paths put before you by God. Learn to look for guidance in signs or "coincidences" and even when you are tired and weak, treat others as you wish people would treat you. And above all, remember to never loose faith.