Have you ever been so afraid you feel like you can't breath? I have.
massage for tummy ailments, he'd calm down enough to go back to bed. Mr. Howard and I would pray over him and he'd fall asleep. I'd frantically search the internet for possible ailments and assure myself he didn't have appendicitis. It was just a tummy ache. Then, 20 or 30 minutes later he'd be screaming again. Each time we did this dance, the screaming would get louder. I had had enough. And it became clear it was not going to be stopping anytime soon. Hubby put Connor in the car and off they went to the emergency room. But then, a funny thing happened in the car: he fell asleep.
Calling me, my husband was frantic. What do we do? What if it's just a belly ache? I know the obvious answer is that it probably just made sense to take him to the hospital no matter what, but our insurance deductibles are high and now that we're seasoned parents (ha! yeah right!) and have three kids who all have different ailments that ONLY seem to manifest themselves in the middle of the night when we'd need to go to emergency, we've made the mistake of taking our kids only to be told it's nothing - and then are left with $1000 bills. No joke. So, I told hubby to call the advice nurse. "We'd do what they suggested," we decided. (Normally they tell us to come in...so I figured it'd just give us peace of mind for coming in). But they didn't. They told us it was constipation and to try a suppository. At first it didn't make any sense, but then it did. Connor had had the stomach flu the week before and maybe he was scared to go the bathroom.
So we did a suppository. And Connor had immediate relief. "Whew," I thought. "Crisis averted. $1000 bill avoided." Connor slept with us that night. I fell asleep praying for Connor over and over.
The next day I made sure to do juice, high fiber foods, and paid really close attention to when he was going to the bathroom. During the day he was great. But then that afternoon he wasn't doing well again. We did more prune juice. More high fiber foods. We even did a teaspoon of miralax. And he was better. By the time nighttime came, he was alright. He slept through the night.
The third day, Wednesday, I figured we were good. I sent him in for his Thanksgiving Feast at preschool, made sure to feed him prune juice at dinner, and figured we were in the clear. It wasn't until I put him to bed that night that the writhing started. And this is the part where I talk about how hard it is to be a mama. Because it's so hard to tell if this was now becoming a pattern. If I say my tummy hurts, Mama lets me stay up. Mama lays in my bed. This worked before. I'm going to say my tummy hurts. So, I brought him out on the couch, fully thinking that he was faking it. It wasn't until the writhing continued, the moaning got louder, that I turned to my brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law and said, "I don't think he's faking it." Despite his protests, I did another suppository. By myself. I basically had to hold him down and he screamed and screamed. Reason number 5 million that it's hard to be a parent. I wanted to cry and not do it. I wanted to wait for my husband to get home from work. But I knew that the longer I waited, the worse it'd get.
Immediately he went to the bathroom, and again I was relieved. Okay. He IS constipated. He's not dying. ((I am sure you Mamas, husbands, wives, doggie mamas/daddies can relate to the What if he's dying? bad thoughts.)) Again, I put him to bed. And again he fell asleep.
Two hours later, he awoke with a screaming that was inconsolable. I picked him up. He screamed. I put him in the tub. He screamed. My brother and his fiance came in. They tried to calm him down. He screamed more. Tears started to run down my face. Now I was officially freaked out. "He's got appendicitis." I kept thinking. I dressed him in whatever I could find QUICKLY. I held him in my arms and put him in the car. The screaming continued. Occasionally he'd yell, "it hurts" or "Mama, my stomach," but mostly he just screamed. Like someone was killing him. I have never heard him scream like that in my entire life. I have never been that scared in my entire life. I have never driven with my hands shaking like that before. When he'd stop yelling (probably to catch his breath), I'd frantically turn on the lights in the car praying, "please let him be okay...please let him be okay..." I called my mom and between Connor's screaming, I tried to get the words in, "I'm on...my way...to emer...gency...Can you come...please?"
I'll spare you the details of the rest of the middle of the night emergency room visit, but it entailed me crying and explaining that I swear. I'm the calm one. I NEVER freak out. Seriously. and then Connor telling the doctor that his tummy feels great. It doesn't hurt at all. I am pretty sure at that point they thought I was insane. But 5 minutes later, he was hunched over on his side writhing in pain again. They couldn't ignore it. So they ordered an x-ray. And we were told the x-ray showed he had constipation. I don't even care how much the hospital visit cost us or that we literally took our son to emergency for constipation, I was relieved. I had definitive answers and I knew what to do.
Anytime something like this happens, I am made aware of how blessed we are. How lucky am I that I walked away from that doctor visit relieved. Some of you Mamas have experienced such heartache. Diagnoses of serious ailments or, maybe even worse, non answers about serious ailments. How my heart aches for you. Some of you Mamas have received news about yourself and are fearful about what could happen if something happened to you. My heart aches for you. How I wish no one had to have frantic car trips with shaking hands and tear streaked cheeks. How I wish none of you have had to receive news that can't be taken back. Being a Mama is so hard.
I once heard this saying and it is probably the most accurate description of what being a parent is like. "Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." That's what makes being a Mama SO hard. When your heart is outside your body, you cannot control what happens to it. And while it is the most difficult thing I've ever done, it is also the absolute best. You cannot imagine more joy and happiness.