I’m a neurotic mom. Don’t laugh…I know this isn’t news to you. But they say admitting it is the first step.
So I was proud of myself when I didn’t panic as Max had diarrhea for four days straight. Of course I called the doctor on Tuesday, and Wednesday…but I didn’t bring him in. I mean really….he’s eating every bland food in sight, he’s drinking, he’s peeing, he’s (for the most part) happy and active. I GOT THIS. When my Mom/Sean/Max’s preschool teacher/the Internet said I might want to have him checked out, I calmly and confidently replied “I GOT THIS. He’ll be fine.” Then on Day 4, when he still wasn’t fine, I had him checked out. And the doctor said he was fine.
Until he woke up from his nap yesterday, and he wasn’t fine. He was sobbing and clutching his stomach. He wouldn’t sit. He only wanted to rest his head on my shoulder (and those of you who know Max know that when he lies down for longer than 2 minutes it means that something is very wrong. I have been known to call 911 because my child just vomited and is lying on the floor not acting like himself. No really. I’m not kidding.) So I called the doctor back, and was shocked when he said “Go to the Emergency Room”.
“What?? You mean to give them a stool sample?”
“No, because he needs to be checked out. He may have an intestinal issue and it could be very dangerous.”
“Are you sure?? I really think he’s….”
It was somewhere between “I don’t want to scare you” and “tissue dying” that I started to make a mental checklist of what we needed to bring with us to the hospital.
I realized that my hands were shaking as I threw together a sippee cup, a bottle, some PJs, goldfish, pretzels, granola bars and 2 bananas. (I can always be counted on to remember to bring food in times of crisis. A nighttime diaper? Not so much.) Max and I jumped in the car, and headed out to meet Sean at the hospital. I counted my blessings that his office is 5 minutes from the hospital, and that this was not a day that he was traveling.
I had 40 minutes in the car to start my conversation with God.
If you please please please keep him safe I promise I will never take his health for granted again. I’m sorry that I am a miserable mother sometimes, and that I didn’t realize that he could be in danger. I won’t let another minute go by where I let him watch TV while I’m on FaceBook. He is everything that I live for and if something happens to him I WILL DIE. I thought I “had it”, I thought I knew what I was doing, I am so sorry that I was wrong.
I’m driving to the hospital and pleading with God, while simultaneously being furious at myself for being worried. I have 40 minutes to get it together. This is NOT a big deal. How are you going to handle it when this child falls out of a tree and breaks his arm, or splits his forehead open some day and needs stitches? Pull it together mom. Get your shit together. The brave moms are the ones who nurse their babies through cancer. The warrior moms are the ones who hold their toddlers through surgeries and pray over their kids in the ICU. This is a stomach bug, for crying out loud.
We pull into the ER and Sean pulls in right behind us. At Stanford Hospital, even the security guard acts like a part-time social worker “Hi M’am. My name is Ryan. I’m going to help you find a place to park. Who are you bringing to the ER tonight?”. Uh…the little guy in the backseat. Who looks fine. We walk in, and the triage nurse checks him and realizes that he’s “Not currently exhibiting any signs of pain”. You think??
It was after triage and before being ushered to the pediatric waiting room that I started to breathe again. This was silly. He was FINE.
We waited for two hours. We let him play with the Pneumonia/Bronchitis/Hepatitis infected toys in the waiting room. He wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything, in case they needed to do any kind of surgery. And it was dinnertime. And then it was bedtime. And then we ran into Dr. B, Max’s GI doctor, the one who helped us soooo much when he was going through the stuff. She was on her way out, but agreed that our Pediatrician may have been over-reacting just a little. (Though after having Max’s first Pediatrician COMPLETELY MISS EVERY SIGN OF MAJOR GI ISSUES FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR, I was a little relieved that someone finally over-reacted about SOMETHING.) Dr. B took one look at Max pushing a chair across the waiting room so that he could use it to climb up and change the TV station, and gently said “Yeah….not exactly the face of a kid who has a life-threatening intestinal disorder”.
We were finally seen by not one, but two doctors (gotta love a “teaching hospital”), a Child Life Specialist, a Patient Services Representative (to see if we needed coffee/tea/dinner…um yes, we’re starving, but our kid can’t eat or drink anything, so no thank you), and someone to confirm our insurance information. This was not VIP treatment. This is the amazingness that is Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital/Stanford. And it’s embarrassing to be treated this nicely when your kid is FINE. Really people. Please go take care of the real Warrior Mamas and THEIR kids. But thank you for being so awesome.
Everyone was in agreement that Max would be fine. That he’d recover from NORMAL toddler diarrhea. That we could skip an Ultrasound and skip the lab work. And while the “old me” would have asked a million questions about how we could be SURE that he wasn’t going to die, the “new me” gave a hearty “Thank you!”, helped Sean pack up our bags, and gave Max a banana for the road.
We got this. Really. And while it’s wonderful to know that the help is there if we need it, it’s even nicer to watch your baby walk down the hallway and out to the car yelling “GoodBYE doc! Seeee you ambi (ambulance)!” Sean reassured me that we did the right thing by having him checked out. My mom reassured me that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. And I drove my tired little guy back home and we tucked him into bed.
And to the mamas who spent the night there last night, and the night before, and for weeks after tonight, my conversations with God will be about YOU. My blessings, my prayers, my thoughts and my love, are with you and your sweet babies tonight.