I am feeling emotionally overwhelmed so I going to do the only thing I know how to do and that is write it down to get it out, so I can start to heal.
First I’m going to give everyone the punchline of this story that sent me back in time to last year and emotions into a tailspin: A Single Cashew.
Also let me note: Parenting is F’ing HARD!
This story starts last November, for those of you who don’t know up until age one, babies are mostly in the trying foods for the first time phase and there are lots of rules. So eggs are supposed to be split three days of egg yolks and then three days of egg whites. The yolks had gone well and it was time to start on the whites so I scramble up some eggs and L is seriously loving it. A couple minutes later, cue nap time: she starts rubbing her eyes and tugging on her ears. Classic baby signs of being tired.
Now I put her in her room and she is crying and then about two minutes later the cry changes. And this is a different type of cry than the crying-it-out cry, so I go in to her room and was absolutely shocked and horrified because my gorgeous little girls eyes are giant and red and completely swollen shut. Her ears were big and red and she had hives everywhere.
She was completely terrified, the main reason was because her eyes were so swollen she couldn’t see. Can you imagine barely understanding this world as it is and than everything is painful and itchy and your world is just gone? Trying to put myself in this place and REALLY feel this, instantly takes my breath away and makes me cry.
I stayed totally calm, put on a bra and ran out the door. I was completely terrified but was smiling and singing her songs and talking to her so even though she couldn’t see me she knew I was there and (hopefully) knew by my happy tone that she was alright.
When we got to the doctors they gave her Benedryl and we were there for nearly an hour and a half being monitored. The Benedryl barely helped but it helped enough that she could see out of the tiniest sliver and that was enough to bring my happy baby back because her world was no longer dark.
Her world was however still very itchy. We were sent to the hospital and by this point L was bleeding behind her ears from scratching so much and for days after those scabs were a constant reminder that would not let me forget this had happened and it made it nearly impossible to forgive myself. Even though I did everything right in this situation.
I should also mention that under pressure or stress I work best on my own. Having other people around makes me cry, so for the most part until the whole situation was over I told almost no one. I told Michael and after a couple hours he was able to get off work and meet me at the hospital. Also, I told my wonderful cousin who dropped everything and brought L a bottle because the hospital didn’t have one. Our family is kind and supportive and generous but again, I tend to cry when I have to say things out loud so it was better for me personally to wait until I had processed the chaos.
We spent what felt like a billion dollars on an Epi-Pen, one visit to the allergist and he sent us to get blood taken, which I never did because I chickened out. Something I regret and beat myself up about every time L tries a new food and I have to hold my breath waiting to see if her body will reject it. It should be said that because of this, I stay away from most common allergy foods.
This bring us to last night at bedtime we were doing our nightly routine and Mike sat down on the couch with a handful of snacks. I thought he was eating pretzels, but I was wrong. He gave L a single cashew and she started freaking out, saying her tongue was hurting so I quickly gave her Benedryl and then she started acting totally weird. She is not a cuddly baby but she was nearly falling asleep on my shoulder while I was holding her. I kissed her head and it was COLD and she was sweaty. Like really sweaty.
Then for the first time in my life I was thrown up on. And it didn’t stop. SO. MUCH. THROW. UP. I won’t go into details further than that.
So at this point I am questioning if we should go to the E.R. again and Mike convinces me that she just ate way too much food and mostly dairy, which was TRUE. But something still didn’t feel right to me and he wrote it off as me being totally paranoid because of what had happened the last time being extremely traumatic. And I believed him, and I felt crazy.
She was running around like a maniac afterwards, laughing and pacing the hallways. SO, we restarted her bedtime routine and put her to bed. She went right to sleep but then she was coughing and again I was freaking out. Mike told me “she just threw up a ton of times, her throat is irritated.” So we gave her some water in a sippy cup in her crib and she did stop coughing and go to sleep within the next couple minutes.
I sleep an hour at a time because I am constantly checking on her and she is breathing and moving, and then the cycle restarts. The morning comes and I am getting ready for work and I go to grab her out of her crib and her face is totally swollen. Not as bad, she can see so she isn’t freaking out but this story from here on goes very similar: Benedryl doesn’t work, go to the hospital, get steroid, discharged and home. Exhausting. Emotional.
But here is the part worth mentioning and it comes back to this parenting being hard AF thing.. I knew something was wrong and I know her better than anyone. How do I not blame myself for this? I know by now that my instincts never steer me wrong and I need to listen to them, but I didn’t. How do we, as parents forgive ourselves when something bad happens to our babies, even when it is out of our control?
We are so lucky. We are SO lucky.
She was having an allergic reaction. A serious one. Her lungs could have swollen up instead of her face in the middle of the night and she could have been gone. Now I am beating myself up, even though I know it’s not fair to do that, and it’s not making the situation easier.
This big knot in my throat and this pounding in my head is telling me to just cry and cry because I am happy and sad and grateful and angry and confused. Do you know what I mean?
So instead I’m writing it down because I can talk about the situation but the reality of what could have been is a little too much to talk about out loud. We could have lost everything. We could have lost our person.
But we didn’t. I can’t imagine the sun shining a single day without her in this world. I am also not sure how to forgive myself, because I am so angry at myself for something that could have, but thankfully didn’t happen. I know I will forgive myself and work through my guilt in time. I also know that I am a great mom because I love that little girl SO much, but that doesn’t seem like it is enough.. right now. I just need a little time, and a lot of smiles and kisses from L, which she is happy to provide.
There are no words that have ever existed that I can use to express how grateful and blessed I feel that she is here and she is ours. Then, now and always. ❤