When Worry Wins

March 2, 2016


When Ainsley was born, the first thing that the doctor said was “She has such a beautiful little body!” And me? “Oh my gosh, Joe, she’s perfect!” was quickly followed by, “Are her ears funny?” We laugh about that now, but at the time it was anything but funny for a first-time momma. You see Ainsley was born with little skin tags on the outside of her ears; her ears were completely normal, except for these funny little tags on the outside, right in front of the ears. I would show you a picture, except I spent so much time obsessing about them and hiding them with headbands for the first eight weeks of her life that I don’t think I have any good photos on record.

Soon after noticing the skin tags, our doctor pointed out that she had a small gap in the corner of her lip where the top and bottom lip come together. It was hardly noticeable when she was itty bitty, but that tiny gap caused latch issues, bottle feeding issues and gassiness because of the extra air she would gulp while eating. The doctors didn’t really address either issue in the hospital, simply saying that we would need to see an ENT at some point to get the ear tags removed.

When Ainsley was four days old she landed herself in the NICU for a low temp that turned out to be nothing, but the great benefit of our stint at Children’s Hospital Minneapolis was the fact that we were seen immediately by the director of ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery. He diagnosed Ainsley on the spot, explaining that the ear tags and lip gap where related – that they went hand-in-hand with a non-genetic syndrome that’s very rare and caused by a disruption of blood flow to the baby during the early weeks of pregnancy.

He quickly assured us that this had no impact on intelligence and that it appeared she was minorly impacted. Still, we were sent through the “doctor gauntlet” to check the boxes, making sure there were no other issues we weren’t seeing. Her ear tags were removed and her lip gap was skillfully repaired in a 2-hour surgery when she was 8 weeks old. We had an ultrasound of her kidneys, we bypassed the heart ultrasound because she had an in-depth heart scan during pregnancy, we saw a pediatric eye doctor and the pediatric genetics team to run genetic testing. Ainsley had test after test; we held our breath through each and every one of them and prayed our baby girl would be healthy. All the tests we performed checked out just fine, and what was suspected all along: She is doing pretty darn well.

But you all? The worry doesn’t stop. We just recently went to visit with her new ENT in Sioux Falls, mainly to talk about tubes, which she is getting next week, but also to establish a new doctor to monitor her as she grows. Just talking about the what-ifs left me in a puddle of worry, fear and stress for the two days following. Last night I broke down to Joe, telling him that I had let the worry win and get the best of me – something that I hadn’t done in quite a while. I was reminded that we’re not 100% out of the woods, but are we ever as parents? Doesn’t a large degree of unknown always hang over our heads as we think about their development, the choices they’ll make and more?

Last night after Ainsley had her bed time bottle, I scooped her up in my arms and she let me rock her back and forth as I got ready to lay her down in her crib. I kissed her forehead and said, “God, she has always been yours. Thank you for giving us such a precious, happy life. Thank you for making us her earthly caretakers. Her life has always been yours and always will be. I turn it over to you.”

This won’t be the last time worry wins, I’m not naive enough to think that’s the case, but I know that the only chance I have to winning the battle over worry is to turn it over to God time and time again.

Dear God, I give you Ainsley. I surrender my illusion of control. Not my will, but your will be done.


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  • Reply Kate @ DCL March 2, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    I don’t think you can be a good mama and not worry about your little ones <3. Great reminder to keeping handing it over to God!

  • Reply Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy March 2, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Ahh, letting go of control is so hard! I would be SO worried too! I’m glad that Ainsley is doing well, though, and I will say a prayer that that things go well as she gets her tubes.

  • Reply Heather Disarro March 2, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    So beautiful! And no – the worry doesn’t ever go away. BUT the beauty is that we get to learn through it all to trust God more, to trust our children more, to grow more ourselves. We have been through things like this with both boys, and every time I’m a wreck for days on end. But God always shows himself to me through it, even in my worry and sin. He’s kind of wonderful like that 🙂

  • Reply Julie March 2, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    I wish I could tell you it gets easier… My daughter is 16 (can you even imagine Ainsley DRIVING???). As I started reading this post, I thought about the advice I was going to give you in the comments section. It’s the only thing that helps me, a chronic worrier. Somehow I had a feeling you’d get there before I had a chance to tell you. 😉 Yes, you have to give it over to God & trust Him to watch over her & trust in His will. God bless, & good luck w/ that!

  • Reply Melissa March 3, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Yess, I can so relate!! I also tried to hide what I thought was so noticeable skull and eye asymmetry with my new born. Turned out, he had a rare defect. Almost a yr post surgery, and I still find myself sick with worry. The only way I’ve gotten this far… is to give it all up to the Lord. We are beyond blessed!! Life is sweeter than ever, because we now understand how life can all change in a blink of an eye. I love your blogs!!!

  • Reply Julie March 3, 2016 at 2:36 am

    We had the same experience with our daughter at birth and proceeded with the skin tag surgery, scans of kidneys, etc. I agree, sometimes worry wins. And then, sometimes it doesn’t. I assure you, we often forget about the little things, that seemed to consume our heart and mind at her birth. She’s 6 now. Trust me, soon enough it won’t win, because she’s perfect in the creator and your eyes.

  • Reply DessertForTwo March 3, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Oh, Mama. I’m sorry to read all of this, but this is A LOT for you to deal with. Breaking down is totally normal. I have a friend who’s little boy has SEVERE food allergies, and she broke down to me worried that something is going to happen to him. How do you live with that fear everyday? And honestly, every single night before I fall asleep, two thoughts race through my head–what if someone breaks into Camille’s room and steals her? What if she chokes and stops breathing? How crazy are these thoughts? My husband doesn’t fall asleep with the absolute worst thoughts going through his head. Why do I do this to myself? I’ve decide that extreme fear and worry is what happens when you deeply, deeply love something. That love comes from God, so it won’t ever be taken away.
    Peace be with you, sister <3

  • Reply Valerie March 18, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    I myself am not a mother so I can’t imagine how much worry my mom friends must go through; however, I’m almost 30 and I KNOW my mom still worries about her kids so it never really ends. 🙂 You’re spot-on that winning the battle against worry means recognizing the fruitlessness of it –the control is out of your hands. I find a sense of freedom and peace in knowing that.

    My mother had no control over passing on a congenital heart defect to me, nor me having a deformed chest wall (pectus excavatum), and I had no control over developing thyroid cancer at 26. My Mom did her best to focus on what she could control: teaching me grace and self-love, and to approach life with optimism and gratitude. I’d say shedid a fine job of it–the most trying (and worrisome) time in my life have also been my greatest moments of personal growth. I often find myself in awe of this world–especially when outdoors immersed in nature–I mean this world is AMAZING and WE get to be a part of it–how wonderful is that–how can you not be grateful for this life?!.

    My Mom may still worry, but she knows that I’m prepared to handle whatever life may bring because of how she raised me everything she taught me. As for the worry that’s bound to creep in from time to time, you already know the answer to those what-ifs; the answer if always, you’ll be there with her, you’ll get through it, and you’re never alone.

  • Reply Megan O'Mera April 9, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Oh man – I think so many of us can identify with this. I was completely unprepared for how much anxiety and worry I would feel after meeting Finn. I’ve always been a chronic worrier and I have to say my worst post par-tum sympton was anxiety – something that I don’t typically have. Thankfully that faded when my hormones calmed down.

    Beautiful said – you have to trust that it will be ok and focus on what you can control, like showering her with love and affection and just continuing to be awesome parents. I asked my mom recently when I would calm down and not be so worried about him all the time and she said “my dear, you are in your 30s and it has yet to stop for me”…oy.

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