Sometimes I feel like the Flint water crisis stole away my precious memories of bringing my baby home. On August 9, 2016 I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. August Andrew Ollie weighed in at 6 pounds and 11 ounces at Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan. Instead of the dream of bringing my sweet baby home for his first night home, I spent the first month of his life at my parent’s home in Lansing, MI.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there was absolutely nothing wrong with living with my parents. But the memory of spending our first night at home was taken because of the Flint water crisis. I wanted to take major precautions that first month of his arrival because of this crisis.
“Home” with My Newborn
Instead of having to go back-and-forth in efforts to bathe myself and baby, along with my other kiddos, we decided to live in Lansing. This would help keep this momma from being overwhelmed. There were too many adjustments that had to be made because of the water.
Raising Kids in the Flint Water Crisis
I’ve watched the world news and heard of the water epidemics in third world countries. And then, a similar crisis ends up right in my own backyard. Back in 2015, my husband and I were super excited to be moving into a beautiful townhome located on Flint’s southern end. The townhouse was nice and updated. It would give our growing family more room.
My husband and my oldest son have very sensitive skin. I noticed that they started to break out more after showers. Without any serious alarm, I decided to invest in a shower water filter to help. My thought was that maybe we were dealing with hard water. I purchased the shower filter online and installed it, but didn’t see a change in my son, or husband’s skin. About two weeks after that, we got word that the water systems were contaminated with lead.
A week after the news, I found out that I was pregnant with our third child. I was excited but fearful of how the water would affect my pregnancy.
Changing Our Home Routine
So, the momma bear in me took over and started to change the daily routine for my family immediately. Teaching my six and three-year-old to wash their hands and brush their teeth with bottled water was no easy task. We only drank and cooked with bottled water. I washed dishes with bottled water. But, it did not stop there. I stopped washing all of our clothes and bedding at home too. I washed only at my parent’s home or a laundromat outside of Flint. I traveled to Lansing often for showers and baths for my babies. When I tell you it has been a rough few years, it truly has. All the while, we still have to pay our monthly water bill of $120.
Even in the midst of this situation, my family and I remain optimistic. And even though I feel some major memories had to be rearranged, it was still joyous. I cherish being able to have so many hands to help during that first month of my newborn’s life. Although my family is still abiding by my strict routine to protect my family from the lead-ridden water, we still triumph together.
Until next time loves!