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Raising little ones is all consuming. We worry if we are doing enough… we worry if we are doing too much… We find ourselves concentrating so hard on our littles & wonder what is left of the person we were before their arrival. Mama, we all feel it. Let’s journey together, lift each other up & be a village for one another…

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lauren

When it All Felt Like Too Much…

1/14/2019

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children photographed with white backdrop
My girls as they are now. Laughing as always.

There are moments as moms that rock us to the core. One such moment stands out so clearly in my mind and made me question if I was in over my head… 

If you know that I have four kids, you might think that moment happened recently but it was actually back when I only had the two girls and my first son on the way… 

You know those weeks when everything just goes haywire – not a fully bad week but one when nothing seems to be smooth or easy. By Friday it adds up and just feels like the deck is stacked against you. Well, this particular Friday followed one of those weeks.  It never seems to fail that those weeks align with business travel for my husband and this week was the same. But my 4 year old had a special pajama & pizza party to attend at the preschool which would provide some evening entertainment. My husband was en route home. So I just had to get through a few hours one on one with the 2 year old and then relief would arrive. With all that in mind, I asked the girls to play in the play room for a few minutes with the older one charged with keeping the younger one out of mischief for just 3 minutes while I took the fastest shower I could…

I know how absurd that sounds in retrospect but let me tell you, it had been almost 5 days since the last shower, I was at the end of my patience rope and I was pregnant. I thought that if I could just rinse the week off and wash my hair that I could reset and make it through the evening…

Just as the water began to rinse down my hair, my 4 year old, “Monkey”, came running in and said that her sister, “Bear”, was eating the “chest medicine”….

I knew immediately that she meant the Vicks Baby Rub…

I also knew instinctively that this was one of those big emergency situations…

I flew into the fight mode of fight-or-flight and immediately called poison control. They told me to get her into the bath and rinse any Vicks off her body and to start getting her to drink as much water as I could. Once she was cleaned off they said to head straight to the closest ER.

I cannot tell you how thankful I felt to live less than five minutes from Texas Children’s Hospital. When we checked into the ER, they did not even have us sit down to wait – we were taken straight into triage… a sign of the severity of the risk we were facing that was not lost on this mama. 

girls pink dresses on beach
A favorite capture from around the time of this story.

From triage we were taken directly to a bed for observation. I was told that with ingesting these toxins it’s a matter of how much they ingested and a little bit of luck. She could either be totally fine or she could go into seizure which would need to treated instantly to avoid causing serious long term damage and risks. There was no way to predict which way it would go but the seizures always happened within the first 6 hours so we would just have to wait… 

“But hey, you are pregnant, are you expecting a boy or another girl?”

“It’s a boy.” 

“Oh wow, just wait to see what he gets into.”

Really, people?

At this point, it was 8PM, my kids had not been fed dinner, the cafeteria at the hospital was closed and we had 4 more hours to go. And I got those comments from at least 3 different people… Don’t get me wrong, the staff at TCH was AMAZING. But OMG, not what that mama needed to hear…

I couldn’t even call my husband because he was on a plane. I don’t remember where my parents were, but they were not in town either. I had only lived in Texas for less than a year and my friend network was tiny… 

I felt alone and scared… 

And I broke down. I remember the girls watching some Disney movie on the tiny hospital room TV while I felt tears stream down my face… My 2 year old could die because I just wanted a shower. Why was I so selfish to leave her unattended… wait a second, all I wanted was the first shower in 4+ days, wasn’t I allowed that… holy crap, if I can’t manage this now, how in the world would I do it with three?… I’m not cut out for this… I can’t do this…

To say that I was an emotional basket case in that moment was an understatement. And I was so beyond scared that the PPD I struggled with after my second baby was born would come back…

I wish I could say that there was a magic moment that suddenly made me feel better about things. Not one nurse walked in and caught my tears, but one did make a run to a near by drive thru on her break to get food for us for which I was immensely grateful. We made it through the 4 hours without incident and were being discharged just as my husband’s flight landed. I can only imagine the string of texts he received when he turned his phone back on… 

We made it back home about the same time that Daddy did and got everyone tucked safely into bed. 

And I cried again. I recounted the whole episode and my fears to my husband and was so afraid we were in over our heads…

Thankfully he reminded me that we were okay. Yes crazy things happened but I was far from a horrible mother… I reacted quickly and appropriately. Turns out that rinsing her off before going to the ER was a crucial step to not overloading the airways causing them to close en route. I juggled two very small kids for 5+ hours in an ER on my own while pregnant. Far from the failing at momming that I saw, he saw a woman capable of juggling whatever motherhood threw at me…

And maybe that was the moment that let me know we’d be okay – seeing it from the outside. Seeing that as moms we are all going to be struggling every day. We are going to be feel like we are drowning in the chaos, big or small, but that every time we keep moving forward and getting through the grime of it, we are actually succeeding. 

Being a mom isn’t easy – we know that. And we know no one said that it would be. But all too often we forget to stop and see what we are accomplishing. It is easy to see the pile of laundry that needs to be dealt with and the dinner that got burned and the kids who are arguing. But did you notice the baby who is fed and learned to say “doggy” today? Did you notice the toddler who put away their toys – sure, in the wrong place – but they tried? Did you feel the warmth in the hug from the kindergartener when you reunited at pick up? Those are all the things we miss when we focus inward and forget to notice all the success of the day…

So when you are having that day which makes you doubt if you can do it, stop. Take a breathe. And notice everything you ARE doing from the outside… because I am pretty sure when you do, it will look pretty spectacular. You’ve got this mama…

XOXO

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