Monday, December 27, 2010

Not A Christmas Tradition We Want For Our Family

I pray that everyone has had a wonderful holiday season and that you truly enjoyed your Christmas.  It is such a special time of year and memories are made as we spend time with friends and family celebrating the birth of our Savior.

For weeks before the holidays, we hear about establishing family traditions that can be carried on throughout the following generations.  This can allow for wonderful memories with stories that we tell our children and grandchildren.  Special photos are taken and scrapbooks are filled with wonderful recollections of the holidays.  Our family traditions vary from family to family and can involve food, music, decorating, family and friends, presents, service...the list is endless.

Over the years, as our family has grown, we have found ourselves constantly examining our holiday traditions.  We've discarded some, tweaked others and have even added new ones in order to accommodate the size of our family, to try and bring peace to our celebration and to keep our focus on Jesus.  

I can honestly say that our Christmas morning started off in such a way that I am praying it is never repeated again.  This is not a Christmas tradition we want to be a part of our family.

With seven children, we know that peace and calm is a fleeting notion and at times purely a figment of our imagination.  If it isn't coming directly from God and if He isn't sustaining it, then fleeting moments are the best we can hope for.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve day.  The kids were excited and had extra energy.  So, we filled the day with baking and games.  We played games all day and it was a peaceful day.  The kids enjoy sleeping together in one room, so I suggested this year we start a new tradition of them all sleeping together upstairs so we could start our Christmas morning together.  My eldest wasn't for it, so we let her stay in her room.  As we got the pillows and blankets ready, my nine year old, Lydia, asked if she could sleep on the floor in my room.  I agreed and after an hour of waiting for their excitement to drain away, they were all finally asleep.

Dear Hubby and I rushed around to finish our prep for Christmas morning because we were wanting to get to bed at a decent time.  We were going to have to get up at six in order to start our beast of a turkey and Hubby offered to do it on his own so I could sleep in a little longer.  I was more than willing to take him up on his offer and soon we both had visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in our heads.

At 4:30, I was startled awake as Lydia got up to use the restroom.  We spoke a few words to each other and then fell back to sleep.  I could not stay asleep though because Lydia seemed to be very restless.  A while later, I sensed that she was getting ready to truly wake up and get the morning started.  I couldn't see the clock, but I knew it was too early, so I encouraged her to go back to sleep because it was too early to get the whole house up, even thought there was a boat load of presents under the tree just screaming to be opened.

I quickly fell back asleep but was startled awake again in what seemed to be a few brief moments.  A loud bang startled me from my sleep and I quickly sat up and turned on the light.  The clock read 6 am and  I looked down at the where Lydia was sleeping and was quite frightened by what I saw.  My perfectly healthy daughter was having a seizure.  Of course I couldn't get her to respond to my yelling her name, so I tore out of the bedroom in search of my husband.  The kitchen light was on at the other end of the house, so I ran in screaming about Lydia having a seizure and him calling 911.  He gaped at me with our 24 pound turkey in his hands.  I didn't wait to see what his response was but turned and ran back to the bedroom.  I am 6 months pregnant and briefly hesitated picking her up off the floor.  However, I found that extra Mommy strength swelling up within me and so I yanked her up off the floor and ran into the living room to wait for paramedics.  We live in a small town and knew that it wouldn't take long for someone to show up.  By the time I sat down on the couch with my daughter cradled in my lap, she had stopped seizing, but was unconscious and seemed to be struggling with her breathing.  I was any thing but calm and collected as I sat there crying out to God for help while tears streamed down my face.  I think I was on the verge of giving birth and having a heart attack at the same time.

Within a few blinks of my eyes, I was lumbering into the back of an ambulance as we whisked her away to the hospital a mere 3 blocks away.  She was still unconscious and I was still trying to pull myself together.  Hubby followed us to the hospital and we began the search of trying to figure out what was wrong with our healthy daughter.  I was so thankful when she finally looked at me from her bed and started crying as she began to realize that she was no longer in her own bed.  They took her blood and asked us a battery of questions for over an hour.  The doctor said there was no physical reason that he could figure out for her having had the seizure and concluded that we needed to focus on her brain.  So, off we went to our "Big City Hospital" for a CT scan.

The CT scan came back clean, which the doctor had expected.  So, our next step is to set up a sleeping EEG.  This test will be able to show if there is any brain activity that lends itself to epilepsy.  Lydia was fully awake at this point, but very tired and sluggish.  The doctor sent us home with some guide lines for keeping her safe if she seized again and with words of encouragement for her freaked out parents.

After 6 hours, we stumbled back in the front door and to a house full of kids eager to begin their Christmas.  We tried to make the rest of the day as normal as possible.  We opened presents, had a wonderful meal with close friends, let the kids entertain us and played games.  All the while, we kept a close eye on Lydia.  She spent the rest of the day calm but happy and eventually we were all tucked away in our beds, exhausted from the untypical Christmas we had just lived through.

Lydia woke up the next morning with a smile and back to her usual self.  I was so relieved.  For now, she is sleeping near her mom, so I can be there if she has another seizure.  We are praying this was a one time thing, but if it isn't, we are hopeful that we will be able to help her control the seizures.  The doctor said that she would very likely out grow them and go on to live a very normal life.  We are encouraged and hopeful and so very thankful that she is okay.

I  can say that this in NOT a family tradition that we are wanting to start for our family.  This was definitely a memory maker, but we are praying to never have a repeat, with any kind of medical emergency, again.

Our hearts are filled with gratitude, knowing it could have been worse.  We were met with kindness and encouragement on a day when the doctors and nurses would have preferred to be home.  We give all praise and glory to God and will never forget this special Christmas when we were reminded of the frailty of life and the joy of seeing a loved one be okay after a traumatic experience.

Lydia will find me looking at her wistfully, snuggle up to me and say, "I know, I scared you, Mom."  I pull her close and tell her I love her and that I'm just so thankful that she is okay.  I feel the Lord's hand upon us and am so overcome with emotion.  I am so thankful to be surrounded by 7 healthy, loving and happy children and am looking forward to adding number 8 to the mix.

And, yes, I am okay with them playing their DSI's all day today.  We'll fight over them on another day, but not today.  Today and tomorrow and the next day...we are just going to enjoy.

I pray that each day brings you at least one moment of the precious things in life and that you are able to enjoy it.

"This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24     

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that Lydia is doing better. We have family members who have seizures and it is a scary time. I'm praying for peace for your family....and no more seizures! Have a blessed day!