Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Trials (and Errors) of Being a Mama

This parenting business is tricky stuff. And it's no secret that I feel like I'm screwing up daily. I have this phenomenal support system that takes every opportunity they can to remind me that all parents feel that way, and that I'm actually not ruining my kids life. I am so beyond grateful for them, and I know that some days, those reminders are what get me through.

But...there are always those moments. Those decisions. That you look back on and you think, "WHAT!?". I've had a couple of those lately. And I've taken my time to feel down and awful about them, and now I'm onto the next phase. The phase of "Ok, it happened, we fixed it, I still live and breathe for Landon, and he still loves me. Let's move on."

Case study #1? A traumatic case of croup and a hospital stay. While in my deepest core of common sense I know that I didn't do anything to make him sick, there is still a very large part of me that is screaming, "But you didn't keep him healthy!!!". And that part....well she's a real bitch. I was so embarrassingly proud of the fact that we all got through the winter without really being sick. A cold was the worst of what hit us, and it was so minor, that it's almost not even worth mentioning. I somehow got my kid through the one of the worst "puking seasons" I've heard of in a loooong time, unscathed. I was amazed. I had this crap under control. Hand sanitizer, lots of wiping down surfaces, and basically being hermits.....that's the ticket. But....spring came, and brought with it warmer weather, and I got too confident. Yes, we still washed our hands and wiped down the grocery store carts. But I didn't think twice about putting him in the swing at the park, and going out to eat just didn't seem like that big of a deal anymore. And, sure enough, a rash turned into a fever, that turned into a cough, that turned into the worst 72 hours of my life.

Long story short, a couple weeks ago, we noticed a rash on Landon after playing outside all day. We figured it was either heat rash, or some random reaction to his sunscreen, and didn't think much about it. That night, he spiked a fever. He woke up the next morning with an insignificant cough, but the fever was higher and the rash was worse, so we went to urgent care. Did a strep test, came back negative. Determined he had an ear infection and a viral rash that would clear up on its own. Satisfied with that answer, we headed home. By late that evening, the fever was through the roof and the cough had become that unmistakable "seal bark". We tried everything to get him through the night so we could go and see our doctor Monday morning. Steam, cold air, snuggles, popsicles, everything. But around 1:30, his lips started turning blue, and it was a whole different ball game. Two breathing treatments, a round of steroids and several hours in the ER later, his oxygen levels were still way too low, so we were admitted to the hospital. At this point, I had to watch them hook my baby up to oxygen, load him onto a gurney, and I had to follow an ambulance down to St. John's Main. Yes, he was with his father and I knew he was ok, but still.....that had to be the worst feeling in the world. Following behind this ambulance, not knowing how he's doing at that very moment, knowing that we are about to be admitted to the pediatric floor and not knowing what would come next. Yes, most kids come out of croup fine, he did before, when he was 6 months old. But this time was different, this was serious, and every horrible thought I could possibly have was going through my mind. There is no way around it, I was a complete mess, who hadn't slept in 24 hours. We spent the next 24 hours trying to comfort a scared, miserable little boy, while nurses and doctors tried comforting us. I had to listen to countless people tell me to go home and sleep, that the baby needed me to. I had to then tell those people countless times that they were out of their damn mind if they thought I was leaving my hospital gown clad toddler and going anywhere. So I stayed awake for another 24 hours, truthfully, not even thinking about what I was doing, just watching his numbers on the monitor, and watching his chest rise and fall, and listening for any sign of him struggling to breathe. By that 48 hour mark, I don't think tired was even registering on my radar anymore. Thankfully, after one full night of monitoring, they let us go home. He was much better, but still not himself, and it would take days until he was. We came home on Tuesday, and it was Friday morning before the crazy kid I know was back. Of course, he came back right as I was being struck down with whatever insane virus had attacked him. It's now the following Thursday, and I can finally say that I feel like I can rejoin the human race today. Amen!

Moral of the story? It's going to happen, he's going to get sick. God forbid it ever gets that bad again, I will be a complete and utter disaster of a person once more. But I didn't do it to him. I couldn't stop it. At the end of the day, I listened to my mama gut, got him where he needed to be, and I did the only thing I could.....I didn't leave his side, I loved him, I let him know it was ok, and he knew he wasn't alone. Maybe I shouldn't have been sobbing uncontrollably alongside him when we were holding him down for breathing treatments, maybe seeing him in a teeny tiny hospital gown shouldn't have made my heart break into a million pieces. But....that's me. It hurt him, so it hurt me. In the end, as a mama, I did ok.

Case study #2? The damn toddler bed. We got a positive pregnancy test back at the beginning of March, and my mind went into overdrive. Oh my God....he needs to be potty trained, and out of the crib.....NOW. We only have 9 months. It needs to happen NOW. Well now I'm stepping back and doing that "What???" thing.

We nearly immediately switched his room, put him into the old office room, and put him in a toddler bed. That had been the plan all along. When baby #2 came, they would go in the green room, boy or girl, so we could avoid painting, and Landon would get the blue room. Yeah, well, I don't think the plan was to traumatize us all at once. Quite honestly, he did awesome the first week or so, he truly did. But then he got sick, and he was in the hospital, and he refused to sleep without being held. Cue the last week. He has refused to stay in bed, he doesn't fall asleep until nearly 11, and then is up at 6:30, and he's miserable. If he's not sleeping, it means we're not sleeping, and it has all just been basically awful. I have done countless hours of research on how to make this easier, and in the end, it all came down to one truth: he's just not ready. He's still a baby, let's be honest. And he's just not there yet. So what the hell was I doing? I have no idea. Trying to save us money by not having to buy a new crib for a new baby? Stupid. Needless to say, after a long talk, his crib was moved into his new room last night (and yes, he went right to sleep at 8:30, and slept through the night), and today, we'll move the rest of his "old" furniture in as well. The baby will get the green room, but it'll get new furniture, and Landon will keep HIS. And he can stay in his crib for as long as he needs to, and I can soak up the fact that my two year old isn't a COMPLETE "big boy" yet.

Moral of THAT story? I made a mistake. I pushed him too far, too soon, for no reason. And yes, I feel silly and pretty awful about it now. But, we're fixing it, and we're making it right again. That's all we can do. I can't go back in time and change everything, or I would. I could sit and sulk and cry and beat myself up over it, but what will that do? Not much. What matters is that we figured it out, and he's feeling comfortable, safe, and well rested again. That's a win.

And now we're into panic mode with his birthday party this weekend. Jeremy has had the whole week off, thank God, because I have been useless while I fought off this sickness, but we haven't gotten nearly as much done as we wanted to have done by Thursday morning. So today, after a hot shower to wash off any remnants of the "grossies", I'm off, to tackle the last minute needs of a two year olds birthday party. And, most importantly, I will make sure that he has the best damn Diego party I can give him. This ain't gonna be no "case study #3", kids.

Oh...and lastly....I felt baby's flutters for the first time yesterday. One of the upsides of being stuck in bed and not able to move. It's amazing how much you forget about that feeling when it's no longer there. But let me tell's pretty damn cool. And this bambino can flutter to its hearts content, mama is soakin' it up.

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