What I Learned While My Family Was Hurling

I think I already knew this, but I definitely know now that I have a little secret. You know all that hard, "thankless" stuff that comes with being the mom? I love it. I always sort of loved it that I was the only one who could make that one baby stop crying. I had all sorts of techniques worked out for surviving the long, lonely hours in the baby's room in the night. I took pride in loving my child so much that I would comfort them no matter what- even if it meant letting them throw up in my lap. At the time, I didn't love all that stuff so much, but I did know that all that stuff meant that I loved them. It was so tangible. That kind of service and sacrifice was a way of seeing how I loved them. I was willing to give up my own comfort for their sakes.

***This is an added paragraph*** Upon reading this, I realize that it may sound hard to anyone in the baby crying all night phase. I don't think that you have to do "mommy" the way I do/did it to be really loving to your child. It looks different for everyone. And it really didn't feel like a picnic. Believe me. I just have a different perspective on it now, and I'll never tell you "Oh, love this time... " because it is really hard, and you just can't always love it. *** K, I'm done***


Suddenly (well, not exactly suddenly...), I wasn't able to do that stuff anymore. I couldn't handle being up 3 times in the night. I couldn't afford to let them cry their snot all over me because I'd be sick for weeks. I couldn't get up the next day and take them to the park or the zoo after a rough night. I couldn't keep breastfeeding. All those exclusive, mommy-only rights started to fall away. I needed more care than they did sometimes! Sometimes, I still feel like the weakest little link. We don't worry so much anymore about overtaxing the kids or skipping their rest time, but we definitely worry about those things for me. I'm basically the baby now, the one whose physical needs can dictate the course of an entire day.

I HATE that part of being sick the very most. It is everything I never wanted. Instead of feeling like the reliable, go-to comforter, I feel like the one everyone else needs to worry about. There are a lot of deep reasons why this bothers me so much. I'm sure I don't understand all the reasons, but I do see that this concept, being the weakest link, worms it's way into most of my fears. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with growing up in the ballet world where there is always someone waiting to take over the minute you can't hack it. There are other old reasons too. Whatever the reasons the challenge exists, the challenge itself is now to not succumb to the wrong belief that I'm useless because I'm physically fragile.

"Wow, she just got really deep really quick, and I thought I'd just be reading some funny puke stories..."

But, enough of this deep stuff. Let's talk about the vomiting family. To set the scene for my profound learning, here is a timeline of our last week:

Monday AM:
Learn that my much awaited hematology visit of the previous week revealed exactly what I didn't want: red blood cells die off too quickly giving me low hematocrit which make you feel crappy but really can't be fixed.
Monday PM:
Get call from principal's office because son is in trouble for "disrespectful, violent talk." Oy. For SOOOOO many reasons...
Hazel and Ivo: sick with colds
Me: POTS symptoms going crazy from stress and allergies. Terror over "violent talking" son's surgery scheduled for next morning. Lying on floor with rib out due to growing pregnant belly crying into my ears and carpet. Quitting "job" via text message to my "boss."
Brendan aka Boss: Leaving work early to scrape me off the floor, so I can go to counseling where I lay it all out. (A good counselor is THE best)
Surgery for son goes well after sleepless night for mother. Mother, me, gets some time to rest.
Things are looking up. Surgery son back at school already. I go on MUCH NEEDED friend date to U.Village with some besties. Get text message (20 minutes after it was sent) that Hazel is vomiting.
Thursday Night:
Hazel throws up every 10 or 20 minutes for 6 hours straight before switching over to uncontrollable diarrhea... in her sleep.
Boys at school. I help Hazel recover and wait to begin vomiting... which never happens.
Saturday AM:
Worried about the girl, I take her to urgent care at Children's to rule out things that would need medication. Ezra begins having abdominal pain. I do my best to be in denial about it all so that I can go to the school auction night with my husband because that's about the best we can do for dates these days, and I've been looking forward to it for months. Seriously.
Saturday around 4:00: 
Ez and Ivo develop fevers. Ivo starts complaining of nausea and crying because he is so scared that he is going to throw-up. I continue pretending I'm going to the bleepin' auction and do my hair. Hazel helps pick out my dress.
Saturday around 4:30:
Ivo vomits on me and the nicest chair in my house, that rocker from Land of Nod. I text babysitter that it's a no-go. Repeat (to myself) a NO-GO.
Saturday around 5:00:
Ezra's pain becomes so bad that he is crying with each cramp. I get on the phone with doctor who says if a tums doesn't do anything to take him to the ER. Tums makes him vomit. Please note: there are now two vomiters.
Saturday around 7:00:
I start getting the people settled for bed. Brendan says he doesn't feel well. I think, "FML."
Saturday after 7:30:
I have people put to bed, and I come upstairs. Brendan takes one look at me and immediately runs to toilet to vomit like a fire hydrant. Correlation does not equal causation.
Saturday 8:00:
Ivo vomits all over his bed and cries for a while because he "is so stressed out. Just so stressed out."
Saturday around 9: 
I settle down to get some sleep only to hear someone screaming for me over the monitor. It is Hazel. She is vomiting. Vomiter Count: 4 people
Hazel vomits and screams about how she doesn't want to vomit. I develop a soon-to-be-patented method of dealing with this involving a multi-layered towel nest. I commit to aborting plan to downsize our towel volume.
Sunday around 5AM:
Hazel finally settles down. Ezra wakes up and comes to wake me up to make sure I know that his tummy still hurts, but he thinks he's done vomiting. Good to know.
Sunday around 7AM:
Two boys come up to tell me that they are awake and feel fine. Again, good to know. Kids then played for two hours together downstairs without incident. REPEAT: TWO HOURS WITHOUT INCIDENT (and I don't mean vomit, I mean cruelty and infighting. This is nothing short of a miracle.) I help Hazel with her "poop squirting all over." I also send a desperate text to my mother-in-law to come with supplies.
Sunday 9AM:
I tuck Hazel and Brendan in to rest in our bed. Even though they don't smell the best, I note that they are the cutest thing ever. Hazel makes nursing face in her sleep. I go out to see the boys and begin their pedialyte/apple sauce regimen. Ezra suggests hot beads as an activity, and they play while I BLEACH THE WORLD.
Sunday around 10: 
Mother-in-law comes with color-coded vomit buckets for the kids and more Saltines and applesauce than any mommy ever hoped for. She also brings me breakfast, Lysol, and Clorox Wipes. She is great.
Rest of Sunday:
I do laundry, change sheets, rock kids, force fluids, wipe bottoms, sneak food into my mouth after bleaching my hands, take a little nap while Brendan and kids watch some Netflix. We have a pretty fantastic, chill day ending with bowls of white rice.
Sunday PM: 
My POTS symptoms become extreme. We all go to bed. We all sleep all night.
Brendan stays home. I sleep a lot. Everyone starts to feel better. I become obsessed with watching Escape to River Cottage. I realize how much I loved taking care of everyone.

So, here's what I learned while my family was hurling:
I still can physically care for the people. God gives me what I need when I need it. They saw me as comforter, and none of them acted surprised. They still see me as Mommy and bearing all the qualities I want to have included in that glorious title. I appreciate the ability to physically serve in a way I never did before. Now that those "thankless" jobs aren't always a given for me, I'm so happy when I'm able to do them! This is a huge encouragement to me because I have been concerned about how I'm going to deal with a newborn. But, there is a part of me that is looking forward to the opportunity to lean on God in new, dramatic ways for that privilege of rocking a baby in the night. I know it will be hard. I KNOW. I know with the knowledge of a lady who had 3 babies in 3.5 years and then got sick with a "probably forever" kind of sickness. But for every degree of difficulty I can fathom, I have knowledge too of what God can do and does do through people who pray and trust in him.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for us and in any way covered and provided for us over the last couple of weeks! I'm praying for you all to be blessed for your kindness!

Reality Check and SLIME FEST 2015

Reality Check and SLIME FEST 2015

Coping Chronicles: Kids and Chronic Illness