Waiting to Exhale, part 2

219 days without yelling, 146 days of loving more to go!

Dear E.R.,

I really did not enjoy hanging out in you 10 days or so ago. Not one bit. I am grateful for your hospitality and for your kind doctors and nurses. That said, could have done without visiting you. No offense. At least our encounter reminded me of a few big things. I guess I am grateful for that too.

See you in a LONG while, I hope,
The Orange Rhino


I snuggled with my baby into the hospital bed, careful to not get twisted in all the wires coming off of him, careful not to wake him. I couldn’t stop staring at him sleeping peacefully in my arms. I couldn’t stop thinking how much I loved him. I couldn’t stop thinking how grateful I was he was okay. That he was going to be OKAY. I couldn’t stop thinking that even though I was told he was going to be okay, I still didn’t REALLY believe it.

And then the beeping started.

Beep. Beep. Beeeeeep!

The alarm started sounding in the hospital room. #4’s heart rate had dropped…and mine sky rocketed. He started twitching again, I held him tighter, tried to hold him still. The computer screen flashed red and the nurse came rushing in.

“What’s wrong? What’s the alarm?!” I asked.

She examined him with an anxious calm about her.

“Ah, he pulled off his heart monitor. He must have gotten twisted in it in his sleep.  That was scary, wasn’t it. He’s okay.”

She looked at me and seemed to get that I didn’t believe her.

“He’s okay. He’s alright.” She repeated to me.

He was alright, but I was on alert, again. I still couldn’t rest. I still couldn’t breathe. This was MY baby. I knew I would love my children. I knew I would have a special bond with them. But I never knew the bond would be so incredibly powerful and all encompassing. I never knew that the bond would be so strong that the smallest thing would make me nervous; that the words “he’s okay” wouldn’t always be enough.

Soon after the Dr. arrived and announced that all the blood work was fine and that his fever came on so fast that it caused this response. He added as long as he doesn’t have any more seizure symptoms during this illness he’s fine. Otherwise, if he does, well then we will worry.

THEN we will worry? Doesn’t he know that I will worry until I know we are in the clear? Until I truly know that the seizure was a one off and that he is safe? That we are safe?

The Doctor left the room.

I tried to breathe but I still couldn’t exhale. I was still on alert, on fear that something bad was going to happen to my baby.

The Doctor returned to the room.

He wasn’t supposed to.

He had already said goodbye and good night. This time instead of standing at the bed to talk to me he walked right to the chairs and sat down and got comfortable. Which by the way made me feel completely UNCOMFORTABLE. What now? Why is he sitting? What does he have to tell me?

“Well, you know how I told you the blood work was fine?” Pause.

(Um, was the dramatic pause really necessary doctor? Do you really want me to pass out from a panic attack right here on the spot?)

“There are signs of a UTI. We’ll start antibiotics tonight. If he gets another UTI then you’ll need to see a specialist. It could be signs of a problem.”

And that was it. 5 hours and a few minutes later and theoretically I was allowed to breathe. My son was going to be OKAY, the doctor had sat for no major news,

And yet I couldn’t. I couldn’t breathe. I still couldn’t exhale.

And one week later and a bit and I can’t. Because I am still in shock that I had to race my baby to a hospital. I am still scared. I am still petrified that he will have the symptoms of a seizure again and I will have to see him look that way again.

I watched his fever peak hit 105 twice over the weekend and it scared me that another “seizure” was going to come. I watched him in the days that followed more wobbly than ever on his feet and I worried that something was wrong. I woke him from naps covered in sweat and I worried that the fever was coming back. I listen to him cry out in pain in the middle of the night and then settle right back to sleep and I think is it just teething or is he still having bad dreams like me of having to rush to the hospital?

And I watch him laugh and smile and seem to be normal and I think, “it is OKAY. It is going to be OKAY he is fine. His fever is gone. No seizures. He is fine.”

And I still wait to exhale.

And I don’t think I will ever completely exhale.

Because I am a mom.

And I LOVE my sons so incredibly much that I want nothing but the best for them. I want them to be happy. To be healthy. To feel loved. To feel secure. To feel successful on their terms. I don’t want them ever be in pain, physically or emotionally.

And I can’t control that. I can’t always protect them. And for this reason I think I will never completely exhale. Because I will always have a small piece of me on alert hoping that they are okay, inside and out. Even when they are okay, I will have a small piece of me on alert hoping that they stay okay, that nothing happens to them.

But something will.

My boys will be in pain someday. They will hurt physically and emotionally. And all I can do then is hold their hands and comfort them and let them know that they are loved and that it will BE OKAY.

An Orange Rhino Revelation: This post has nothing to do with not yelling. But yet it does. Seeing my son in pain, and fearing that something was really wrong, brutally reminded me of my deep love for him and all that I wish for him in this world.

I want them to be happy. To be healthy. To feel loved. To feel secure. To feel successful on their terms. I don’t want them ever be in pain, physically or emotionally.

All those things I want for him? Yeah, yelling like a lunatic like I used to completely goes against my wishes for my son. I can’t always be with my sons and keep them safe and healthy and happy. I can’t always protect them from pain. But I CAN not add to it. I CAN not yell at them. That I can do. And that I will keep making a priority. 

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2 thoughts on “Waiting to Exhale, part 2

  1. “… They will hurt physically and emotionally. And all I can do then is hold their hands and comfort them …” – ALL you can do? Please don’t forget that when it hurts, whether physically or emotionally, having a mum to hold your hand and comfort you is also ALL you wish for. At least until a certain age. And after that, having had a mum to comfort you prepares you for a lot of what’s left to come.
    Don’t underestimate your contribution 🙂

    • Ah, you make a beautiful and important point that I so often, much too often forget. Thank you for the reminder and for reading!

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