Thank you, everyone, for all the congratulations and well wishes!
Sawyer is doing very well (after a pretty rough first night home before my milk came in) and is currently sound asleep . I am feeling much, MUCH better now that I’m not carrying around an almost ten pound baby inside me The older kids have been basking in the extra attention from Noah and I am SO THANKFUL that he is going to be home until January. It has made this whole transition so much easier than it could have been.
I promised a post about why Social Services showed up in my hospital room after Sawyer was born. Spoiler: it was because we’re living in a bus.
I have to say, I’m generally not very shy about the fact that we live in a bus. I mean, I don’t go shouting it from the rooftops or anything, but it’s something that most people find pretty interesting and I like to share about our experience (please see: entire blog).
So, when one of my night nurses turned out to be a friend-of-a -friend (and had also been my night nurse during my stay after Finn’s delivery at the same hospital) we got to chatting and the subject of our unique living situation came up. I gave her the blog address and she came back later to say that she had poked around a bit and thought it was great!
I’m not sure about the details of what happened after that. She went off duty, the day shift came on, and somewhere along the way somebody became concerned about the lady who delivered her baby on the floor and was apparently living in a bus, quite possibly in poverty and squalor.
The morning of the day we were due to be discharged a very warm and friendly woman came into my room and said she was from Social Services and could she have a chat with me? Noah was visiting the older kids where his mom was watching them at his sister’s house, so I was by myself.
I remember kind of wishing that I had kept my big mouth shut this time, because obviously somebody had gotten the wrong impression somewhere, but I didn’t feel nervous or afraid or embarrassed or anything. I just wanted to see exactly where this conversation would go.
After making some small talk (“So, I hear you gave birth in the hallway!”) she came to the point and said that somebody had heard about us living in a bus and was concerned that we might need access to some resources that she could point us to, such as SNAP or WIC.
I thanked her and said that I didn’t believe we currently qualified for those services, although we had at one point. I explained that we weren’t living in a bus out of necessity, but by choice and told her about building a house and the process of renovating the bus.
The first thing she asked at that point, before she asked about our income or Noah’s job or whether utilities were available on the property, was about whether friends and family were close by that could help us if we needed it.
I told her about my parents, Noah’s sister, all our awesome neighbors and my church family who are close by, not to mention Noah’s mom and Spencer who aren’t physically nearby all the time, but have provided an additional safety net during this undertaking.
She looked very pleased as I listed off all the people who care about our family’s wellbeing. At that point she asked briefly about Noah’s job and utilities and space and was even happier when I eventually pulled up the blog on my phone and showed her pictures.
At that point she closed the notebook she had been using and said that she felt satisfied that we were doing just fine. I asked her if we were going to need to be on the lookout for a visit from CPS or anything like that. She stopped and turned at the doorway and said that it looked like we were doing about a thousand times better than the people she is normally sent in to see.
And that was that.
I have some thoughts about the whole thing, the first being that I’m glad that such systems exist in our community to help people access the public support that they might need.
Secondly, and the main thing that has been on my mind, is just how fortunate we are to be surrounded by a large web of family and friends (and internet peeps!) who are rooting for us, who truly want to see our family succeed in this endeavor, and have lavished us with love and kindness.
Social Services exists to fill in the gaps where community is lacking and I am incredibly grateful that our community is full to the brim.