Life Afterward: What's Next (And Where I've Been)

She came into this world at 3:07am after a fast a furious labor in which I played the role of 'screaming woman.'  There was no time for an epidural and my mind couldn't keep up with what was happening and the result was a crazy scene in which all I remember is people yelling at me to breathe.  And the pain.  Oh, the pain.  They say women forget, but I don't think I will.  Another couple, a few rooms down, later asked my midwife, "Is that woman we heard screaming okay?  Did she survive?"

Yes, I survived and afterward a little 9lb 3oz baby girl was placed my chest.  We named her Adeline "Addie" Grace and she has stolen our hearts. 

We arrived home from the hospital two days later ready to settle into a new routine.  But then, that afternoon, our middle son, Isaiah, spiked a temp.  Maybe it was mother's intuition, or the fact that we were in the middle of a flu epidemic, but the fever accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and watery eyes made me suspect Influenza.  Trever took him in the next day, and, sure enough, Influenza A was the diagnosis. 

What were we supposed to do with a two day old baby alongside a toddler with Influenza?  Our pediatrician called a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious disease specialist who instructed Addie and I to leave the house immediately and return when Isaiah was better.  I went to my sister's house, over an hour away, two days after giving birth, with my newborn in tow.

Influenza is life threatening in babies.  Trever and I were a mix of anger, frustration, worry and fear while we talked on the phone miles apart.  I checked mine and Addie's temp nearly every hour dreading what I might find.

We made it through the first 24 hours, but then sometime during the next afternoon I started to cough and the next morning I had a fever.  The adrenaline gave me energy to get back home and to Mayo's ER where I'd been instructed to go if I came down with a fever.  Isaiah's fever had already broke and Trever disinfected the house, so I left Addie with him.

I came back home with Tamiflu and instructions to quarantine myself from the baby until my fever was gone, but to pump and continue to give Addie breastmilk in the hopes my antibodies would protect her.

For three days I stayed in my bedroom while Trever cared for the kids.  When it was all said and done, we were tired and weary, but so glad to all be together again.  The fear of sickness lingered, and besides trips to the grocery store and church, I didn't leave the house for a few weeks. 

The good news in all of this? Addie never got sick.  There's no doubt in my mind that this was a miracle - grace given by a gracious God.  Addie is already living into her name.

It is now nearly March and I am emerging from this post natal hibernation, which began back in December, and am ready to get back into the thick of things.   For six weeks I didn't touch a keyboard, think about lyrics (much less write one), gigs, blog posts, etc.  It was a fantastic musical sabbath in which I could focus my energy on my well-being and my family - especially Addie. 

Now, I find myself with a renewed sense of musical focus, direction and purpose.  As if walking away rebooted my enthusiasm and energy to write, to practice this craft, to sit at the piano and enjoy it.  Life, on this side of having a baby, is different; however, so finding balance between work, play and family is more challenging and time is more valuable than ever.  My management skills are being exercised to the max.  I will survive these hectic mornings of getting everyone where they need to go for the day!  Right?

One thing I'm most inspired towards is getting a new album under way.  I hesitate to offer a timeline, but songs are coming together and ideas are brewing.  Matt Patrick is on board to produce once again - for which I am so grateful!  For funding, I'll go the crowd source route once again.  Thank you to those who contributed to the last album - I hope I've earned a spot in your favor and that you'll be open to funding the next project. 

I'll slowly be adding more gigs to the calendar (check out where I'm playing here) and I'll resume my work at the Olmsted County Detention Center after Easter. 

I count it fortune, indeed, that I can make music, write my thoughts down into lyrics, share them with you all and that you all listen, respond, support and do life together with me.  I thank you and can't wait to see you down the road!