The first year went by fairly quickly. I was smug and confident that I had this parenting thing under control. I was thin, pulled together and everything was fine. Than child 2 began percolating. A whole other child to worry about and care for. Would there be enough love? I barely had it together for child one, how would I cope with child 2? About four months into my second pregnancy, husband came home to tell me his job would no longer be in existence at about the time child 2 would come into the world. WHAT!?!?! Immediately a frantic search began for a new job. Thankfully, we had had our house on the market for about 2 months. There had been little to no interest, but we were sure God would fix that quick enough.
Meanwhile, husband had to train the new art people on his job. Ironic, isn’t it, how companies expect outgoing employees to train their replacements. I was setting up appointments with doctors so we could get our dental and eye exams covered under the insurance that would soon be gone. I also was looking for work in case Tom was unable to find something quickly. Along with all the other drama in our life, child one’s digestive system began shutting down. We didn’t realize it at the time, but child one was developing celiac disease.
About a month before child two was to be born, the new company husband had been training employees for offered him a job. WHEW!! What a relief. We would have a steady paycheck and insurance. All our prayers had been answered! Wait a minute. We were going to have to move? When I was eight months pregnant? Husband would have to leave six weeks before us? We didn’t even have any offers on the house? The only people coming to open houses were other people from our neighborhood who wanted to see how much we were selling our house for. How would we afford both rent and a mortgage? We barely made our bills as it was.
When husband left for the new job, child one became more and more sick. He stopped walking, he had diarrhea and man was he cranky. He only wanted to be carried around. I thought he was upset from all the change, daddy was gone and mommy was changing. The diarrhea would come and go. The pediatrician and I were stumped. I was jostling appointments for myself and child one, in addition to finding a moving company since the new job was paying for us to move.
One appointment for child one really sticks in my mind. They wanted to draw blood to test various levels in the child’s system. Have you ever had to watch someone draw blood out of a toddler? Even better, have you had to watch an incompetent person take blood out of your child? It was the most awful thing to watch. With each try, child one became more and more distraught. The phlebotomist became more anxious with time as well. I finally asked for someone who would know what they were doing. But with the utmost charm and tact. Someone came in and got what they needed on the first try. Child one and I went home amidst our snivels and waited for the results.
My husband was securing housing in our new city of residents, while I was negotiating with moving companies. I didn’t really have time for a new baby. I was content to wait until after we moved. Unfortunately, the ob had different ideas. Child two came into the world amidst the bedlam that was surrounding our life.
The week after child two was born was spent at the hospital for different tests on child one. I had to convince child one to drink barium. I put it in a milk shake, but it was still no dice. I eventually had to force it into him via a syringe. I never knew the strength of a toddler before that afternoon. After the MRI, it was revealed that there was a large amount of fluid in child one’s intestines. We were sent to the nearest children’s hospital.
Another myriad of tests were ordered, many repeats of what had already been done. I guess they wanted to be thorough? Child one wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything and his veins became smaller and smaller. They had to draw blood out of his artery. I was sent out of the room for this because I had child two and the nursing staff thought it might be two hard on me to be in there. I could hear the screaming in the waiting room. It was another horrific memory and worry that these events would stay in my little boy’s head forever. I began praying then that it would all be blocked from child one’s memory.
We finally got admitted to a regular room. Child one was on a clear liquid diet. I went to a hotel that night and Grandma B stayed in the room. I was nursing child two at the time and couldn’t keep him with me in the hospital. By the next morning, child one looked like an orphan from some European concentration camp. He had gone from 28 pounds down to eighteen. They were giving him all kinds of supplements because his body was so malnourished. I felt so guilty through all of this. What had I done to my little boy? Why didn’t I see the signs? Was I so selfish and wrapped up in my own worries that I completely missed this? It was a low point to say the least.
It was here that we first heard that child one might have celiac disease. It was either that or a virus If he did have celiac, it would mean completely changing our eating habits. We were hoping for the virus to say the least. As the week dragged on, more tests were done, I was completely drained emotionally, physically and spiritually. Yet, I had to be on top of what the child was eating, how much he was drinking. I had to advocate for him to the medical staff, and I had to keep child two away from all the diseases that run rampant in a hospital. Thank goodness we had other family to support us and lift us up in prayer. Each day we would hope that we would get a diagnosis. And each day there would be nothing.
Finally, a gastroenterologist, Dr. M. came in and told us our lives were to be revolutionized. Child one had celiac disease. It was a fairly common disease, but presents itself in many different ways. That’s why it can be hard to diagnose. Celiac is also a genetic disease. It can lie dormant for years before it even presents itself. It’s usually triggered by some kind trauma to a person’s immune system. Child one’s came on due to a cold he had developed about eight weeks prior.
We were finally discharged and sent home. Looking back, I can see the Lord’s hand as each new problem surfaced. A week after the husband lost his job, a new one became available. When child one began getting sick, our pediatrician was extremely proactive in getting the right tests ordered and the best doctors to give us the results. Our friends and family stepped in and made our move a smooth transition. Thank -you Lord for your provision and blessing through our faith and biological family.