What Am I Doing Wrong? Nat’s Struggle with Kid Illnesses

doctor office

“You paid extra for this.” My sister always reminds me about my 9-year-old twins whenever motherhood stresses me out. I usually laugh it off and roll my eyes at her. Yes, I had IVF, so technically, I totally paid extra for this.

Today I keep thinking, “Geez, I really paid extra for this!” Not just in money but the toll it took on my body during pregnancy, and the toll it’s taking on me as they grow. Hey, I didn’t have (many) gray hairs till I had kids, and this old lady with lines on her face looking back at me in the mirror doesn’t ring a bell either.

photo7Right now we are in a funk. The twins have been taking turns being sick for well over a month with some mysterious illness. First the doctors suspected mundane ear infections. Then when that couldn’t be treated they kept pressing. Next it was the search for walking pneumonia (yeah, that was fun) and when that proved unfruitful they started talking about tuberculosis. Tuberculosis? Who the heck are they? Doc Holliday’s twins? What year is this? Long story short, after literally over a thousand dollars in co-pays, deductibles, taxi cabs, parking lots, and medication, this bout has particularly taken it’s toll on us. The docs now suspect some sort of chlorine or water poisoning. Yes, apparently this is really happening. But the jury is still out.

Tonight I put pen to paper — or in this case, fingers to keyboard — and vent. This is my therapy. It’s cheaper than seeing a psychologist and it will take less of a toll on me than the Super Big Gulp of Pinot Grigio I want to chug.

photo5I’m at the end of my patience and tolerance. I’ve rubbed backs for hours, sat vigil next to the twins for days and became a doctor mom instead of a soccer mom.

This is the beginning of summer! The kids aren’t supposed to be seeing pulmonologists and running all over town for blood work. They are supposed to be staying up late, watching too much TV, playing legendary rounds of UNO, and getting an early jump on that summer reading list. OK, maybe that last one is wishful thinking, but you get the idea.

The twins have been sick so much this year. Maybe it was the harsh winter we had here in the northeast. Maybe it’s all somehow my fault. I’m thinking it, OK? I’m being a typical mother and blaming this all on myself. Perhaps, just PERHAPS, if I could have held them in my body a few more days past that 34 week mark, we wouldn’t be here. If my body didn’t crap out on me from preeclampsia maybe this wouldn’t be happening. Don’t get me wrong, the logical part of my brain knows that none of this is my fault, but the mommy portion of my brain is screaming that this is somehow my fault. For those of you who know me personally, you know that we had to cancel several vacations this year because of my sons health. Spasmodic croup? Reactive airway disease? Whatever the heck they want to call it, it has kept us from living normal lives. I say to myself, “these aren’t the worst problems that a kid could have. I should thank God for all the fortune we have and for the good health that the kids have.” But then I look back on this past year and I feel not so fortunate.

photo4Did I really pay extra for this? Did I really do this to myself? Maybe I should have just left fate up to Mother Nature and not have my own children. Maybe I should’ve just adopted? So many questions keep me up at night. But I also think, are other parents doing this to themselves? Are other parents out there guilting themselves over everything? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I just handle everything that is thrown at me? I help thousands of families around the globe with their twins problems yet I’m going through my own mini Civil War right in my house. How come I’m not strong enough to handle this?

I do everything right. My kids go to sleep at a very reasonable hour (between 8:00-8:30 PM at 9 years old), we eat a mostly organic diet with the occasional meal from my family’s restaurant (of which I know all the ingredients.) They live a fairly active lifestyle — well, as active as their schoolwork allows (thank you, common core! Grrr…) I love them with all of my heart, I spend time with them each day individually and as a unit. We have a great family support system which consists of my in-laws as well as my side of the family. They don’t drink soda, they rarely eat fast foo,d and their sugar intake is limited. So what the heck am I doing wrong? We see holistic doctors from Eastern medicine and Western medicine and everywhere in between. We leave no stone unturned yet still seem to fall short every single time.

photo8I am so sick and tired of doctors telling me that my son is an enigma. No one knows what the heck is going on with him and why it’s happening. On Christmas Day, I took my son to be emergency room because he was having trouble breathing and the emergency room doctor didn’t believe me. She actually sent us for a chest x-ray with a grudge. When the chest x-ray came back she admitted to me that she was surprised! She was surprised? Who the heck wants to bring their child to emergency room on Christmas? Is this some sort of hobby that parents usually have? Geez, WTF in plain English!

So we started with a new doctor. This one has a lot more patience and is an attending physician at one of the best hospitals in New York City. Maybe she’ll have some answers. If anything, she has extraordinary bedside manner and at least her visits are enjoyable. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

photo1I talked to my husband about this. He knows how I feel. He tells me, “We’re in this together,” but in reality we aren’t. The twins never call his name out in the middle of the night. The twins don’t ask for him to rub their back as they fall asleep. He’s not the one grabbing the “throw up bucket” in the middle of the night or knowing exactly how and when what medications were taken. This past month, being a nurse to my children has been my full-time job. Thank God for the Twiniversity team to hold everything in place while I tend to my family.

Whats the point of this post? I don’t know. I supposed it’s to make parents realize how lucky they are if their kids are in good health. I suppose it’s to make you take a moment and say “Geez, I’m glad I’m not her” I suppose it’s really just my little venting session. Or maybe it’s to let other parents know that they are not alone in their self-doubt and guilt. It feels like it’s never ending.

Thanks for reading. I promise to keep you guys posted. I’m losing hope that we will have any consistency and health but I supposed it’s just the dark side talking and jeezzz, I can use a little sunshine now.

-Natalie Diaz, Twiniversity Owner and Founder