Breathe Easy, Mom

Our sick little chick

We are home. What a night. What a yucky, scary, crazy night.

Mabel’s had what we assumed was a cold for a couple days now. Runny nose, hacky cough, warm forehead. This afternoon as I was holding her, it turned into more of a wheeze and her chest looked like its insides were working exceptionally hard to do what we take for granted every minute of every day. I told Nate it didn’t seem right, so we packed up Coen, Buzz Lightyear, and a sick baby girl and headed to Urgent Care.

I honestly expected them to say it was merely a cold and to take her home and sit in a steamy bathroom with her until we were both giant sweatballs. Instead, they told us she had low oxygen levels and a rapid heart rate and they didn’t feel comfortable treating her and to head to the ER. The ER?!? Those letters scare the bejeesus out of me.

So off we went, Buzz Lightyear and all, to the Riverside hospital. The doctors there were very kind to all of us. They could sense Coen’s impatience and supplied him with a bucket of trains and graham crackers. And they were so gentle with our baby. I gained more appreciation for them by the minute. We gave her two nebulizer treatments and waited patiently for them to come check her vitals to give us either the green light to go home or the red light to stay in the hospital overnight. Thankfully, our little wheezer was wheezing less and that was all the convincing they needed to send us on our merry way…with a personalized nebulizer (that will be amusing to watch us try to figure out at 3 in the morning).

I stared at my daughter the whole ride home. I held her small fingers and stroked her thin hair and brushed my fingers across her cute-to-me face eczema. Holding her heavy chest close to mine all night opened my heart to so many emotions. Tonight I learned something about myself that I think I knew already. Buried under the fear and the nerves and the worry lay a love so strong that it nearly paralyzed me. I caught myself thinking, a number of times while sitting on the hospital bed holding an oxygen mask to my baby’s mouth, “Make it me.” Make it ME. Make ME sick. Take away MY ability to breathe easy. Give ME the oxygen. Keep ME up at night. Make HER healthy. Give HER the ease of inhalation. Let HER sleep peacefully through the night tonight.

When you become a parent, something switches in your mind and your heart. No matter how selfish you may have been in your past, the truth is you would die for that child. You would give your everything to take away their pain. I knew Mabel was going to be OK tonight. But, this was an interesting eye-opener to remind me that these emotions still run deep in my core. Once you’re a parent, your soul changes and opens itself to so much more that takes place outside of yourself. It’s a miraculous cocktail or sentiments – exhausting and demanding. And tonight, I am going to bed breathing easier because my emotions are normal and justified. In fact, they are what make me a pretty damn good parent!


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