Featured Post: Month of Gratitude

Anna and Oren

Anna and Oren

Every month I feature an experiment that I thought was fun or interesting or moving. I’ve been wanting to do a month of gratitude for a while and it was great to see someone else try it out and persevere through it during such a rough time. I feel for you Anna Leske! Read her post below and keep up with her experiments here.

My intention was that March would be my month of gratitude. I did a little research on how to incorporate more gratitude into daily life, and apparently even just thinking about what you have to be grateful for can shift your perspective. I’ve tried to bring my awareness toward gratitude throughout the day, mentally noting what I am grateful for, and I made an attempt to start journaling as well. My first entry was March 8th, and I started with “I am grateful for a healthy baby.” Later that evening, Oren developed a high fever and had to be admitted to the NICU at Children’s Hospital. The first few hours were traumatic – because he was so young, not even a month, they had to run several tests including a spinal tap. It was heart wrenching to see my little one in pain, and there were a few hours when I wasn’t sure he would be okay. The first night I cried to our nurse, asking if my baby was going to die. She assured me that he would be just fine, and did her best to put me at ease.

I don’t want to rehash everything again, but I’ll summarize by saying he was diagnosed with a UTI, and he responded well to the IV antibiotics they were pumping into him. We were discharged after four days with a follow-up scheduled with the urologist to determine if he was having urinary reflux. Then it happened again. Two weeks later, we had to make another visit to the ER for another fever due to another UTI. We didn’t have to be admitted, but he had to start another round of antibiotics.

The following Tuesday we had our appointment with the urologist. The results of the VCUG determined that O has urinary reflux due to dilated ureters, and on a scale of 1-5 the severity was a four. The plan we agreed on included having him circumcised, which will reduce his chances of getting another UTI, keeping him on a low dose of antibiotics for at least a year, and reassessing his situation after a year with check ups every few months.

On the surface it can all seem overwhelming, but here’s where gratitude comes in: all of it is treatable. There is a chance that his dilation and reflux will resolve on its own, but even if that doesn’t happen, surgery will fix it without any need for subsequent treatment. I felt strongly about not having him circumcised, but the circumcision will reduce his chances of getting another UTI. And I really don’t like that he has to be on antibiotics for such a long time, but we can be proactive about preserving his gut health, and building up healthy microflora is a process that lasts years – so we have time even after he’s finished his regimen of antibiotics.

I haven’t journaled much since my initial attempt, but I don’t think that matters much. And I have to say, gratitude hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind during the last several weeks. However, it pops up more than it did before, and it has helped me keep this experience in perspective. I think that this experiment has helped me be more mindful of what I have to be grateful for, and I’m going to do my best to stick with it.