More than once in the last few months I have threatened to quit blogging.
At times the threats have been serious.
The reasons vary.
"No one reads," I'll say to Jason.
"That was the best post I've ever written and I only got two comments," I'll say.
"I don't have anything to say..."
"I've lost my ability to say anything clever..."
And on and on I list the reasons why I swear I'm going to stop.
But every time I consider it seriously something will happen.
I'll get an email from someone thanking me for being honest and open.
I'll get a comment from an anonymous reader who tells me they love Emily.
I'll run into someone who says to me, "I read your blog and I really love it."
This weekend, all of those things happened and I got a package in the mail.
The package was filled with the most adorable owl sugar cookies.
The sender had seen the pictures of Emily's bathroom, and sent cookies to match.
Apparently I was nominated on another blog as someone who deserved to get a treat in the mail.
The sweet lady who sent the cookies signed up on the same blog as someone who would be willing to make the treat.
She was given my information and the result was cookies in the mail.
THANK YOU to the mysterious person who nominated me and THANK YOU for the cookies!!!
I won't lie. When I opened the box and read the note I teared up.
It had been a long day and the thoughtfulness of a stranger made all the difference.
I don't tell you that to suggest that I need more cookies, or more comments or more of anything...
I am just grateful, and I want you to know that.
Some of the emotion of the first few weeks and months of Emily's life is just starting to catch up to me and I have had some pretty hard days.
Let me give you an example of just one thing that I've been hit with.
It's personal...and it seems trivial...but trauma has a funny way of messing with an otherwise stable person.
When we learned the extent of Em's heart defect we were told that I couldn't deliver at our local hospital and that my doctor wouldn't be doing the delivery.
At one of my appointments he told me, "You need to be aware that the hospital where you will be delivering is 100% for nursing. If there is even a possibility that you don't plan on nursing, just know that they will really pressure you."
What he told me ended up being the world's biggest understatement.
I hadn't even seen my baby and the nurses started in on the pressure.
"Here's a pump..."
"If you need a lactation specialist just say the word..."
"Are you going to nurse?"
"Your baby needs you to nurse."
Every nurse that came into the room said something about it.
I was still recovering from a horrendous 36 hours of labor that ended up with a c-section; I had not been mentally prepared for that.
One of the doctors who was working on Emily right after she was born took a picture of her on his phone and brought it into the operating room where they were still stitching me up.
That picture was the only glimpse I had of my baby until the life flight team wheeled her past my bed on the way to the other hospital.
Jason was with Emily, and I was alone in my hospital room...for a couple of hours.
I didn't know if my baby was going to live.
I was scared and tired and hurting.
And every nurse that walked into that room said something about nursing.
I gave it my best effort.
I listened to the lactation specialists.
I used the pump.
I did what I could.
But my body didn't work.
I didn't have any milk.
And after three days of trying I gave up, both mentally and physically.
The nurses in that hospital made me feel like I was the worst mother on the planet because I wasn't nursing my baby.
It didn't matter to them that my milk never came in, it didn't matter to them that my baby was fighting for her life, that she couldn't eat anything anyway, and that it took every ounce of strength I had to walk to the other hospital to visit her.
They didn't ask about my baby.
When they would come in the room at night and find me awake crying they wouldn't ask me what was wrong, they would simply give me pain medication and leave.
It's been almost a year, and I still feel like I let Emily down.
You know the ironic thing? Even if I had been able to nurse, or at the least been able to pump, Em probably wouldn't have been able to use the milk because of her infection.
And if I had been even a little bit emotionally stable, I wouldn't have allowed the nurses to treat me the way they did.
I told my mom all of this the other day and she said, "But why is it still bothering you now?"
It's a good question she asked me.
I think I have just told you all of that to tell you again, that when I say I'm grateful for what you do for me, I really truly am grateful.
The thoughtful things so many of you do are like a soothing balm on the less than perfect days.
I won't quit my blog.
I need all of you too much.
And to show you that I have no restraint...and no self-discipline...here's what I got for Emily's birthday, and opened the day it came in the mail, even though her birthday isn't until August 5th:
My husband is sleeping peacefully next to me.
He will finally be home for longer than 20 minutes.
This is me sighing a contented sigh.