I came here today to write a post about the second leg of our book tour: Chicago with a bonus 2-day-1-night stint in NYC*. I was going to tell you all about how wonderful our event was at Monica & Andy in Lincoln Park – about how awesome all the new mamas we met there were and how much fun we had finally hanging with our hostess with the mostess, Sam.
I would have told you how gorgeous the view was at Cindy’s Rooftop and remarked on how clean Chicago’s brand of Magic is compared to New York’s.
But there’s a story about this trip that trumps all of that. It’s a story that starts 36 hours before our scheduled departure time when the scariest thing that’s happened so far in our 4-year parenting career befell us.
Rocco’s cries started at about midnight on Wednesday. Within seconds, we knew something wasn’t right, and within minutes I had dialed 911.
By the time help arrived (and I mean ALL of the help: Fire, Police AND Ambulance), it was clear that our little man was really struggling for breath.
“Classic croup,” said the paramedic as he held an oxygen mask over my baby’s face. “You did the right thing by calling. Let’s get this guy to the hospital.”
Fast forward to 5 a.m. – 1 dose of liquid steroids, 5 medicated oxygen masks, and a trachea x-ray later, things were not looking good. There were talks of IVs, anesthetics, surgical breath-tube insertion – all of which was nearly impossible to hear over the deafening sound of machines beeping and my own offspring struggling to breathe as his head rested on my chest.
It’s true what they say – that having kids is like watching your own heart beat outside of your body. You don’t empathize with their pain, you literally feel it. You feel it in the place they left vacant in your gut. Your body physically reacts to their suffering.
Before we go any further into the story, I need to make a confession. It stings me hard to admit it… but before this ordeal came upon us, I was dying to get away for a few days. As in – counting down the hours.
The daily grind of a repetitive routine. The constant talking and reasoning and explaining and reprimanding. The tidying, and cleaning, and wiping asses. It had all started to feel stale again (even though we’d only been back from our last trip to NY for 2 weeks) and I was ready for another 3 day break from mom life.
In hindsight, maybe I was due for a jolt – a reminder of what I’m here for. I now exist on this planet to love and protect my children. It’s not my only job, but it’s the only one I can never and will never step away from.
I was reminded of what I’m made of. I forget how strong I’ve become sometimes, but in a time of chaos, I see it. My strength comes out in my ability to remain calm in high-stress situations. I am able to reason, to be practical and strategic. For 6 hours in an ER triage room last week, I slowed my breath and hummed You Are My Sunshine into the ear of a toddler to help him keep his heart rate down and his oxygen supply from plummeting. I transferred my calm to him and I’m quite confident that that is my superpower.
For 2 days in St Joseph hospital, I was given a clear reminder of the real reason I’m able to do another job outside of my gig as protector of offspring: My village.
My village is iron clad. And I do not say or mean that lightly. I mean, it is literally impenetrable. I have a partner in parenting crime who is the most loving, concerned, capable and willing dad. My mom is an actual saint who was at my house within 20 minutes of my calling her at 2 a.m. so that Rocco could have both parents at his side when he needed us (one of the downfalls of having more than one kid is that if one needs to be rushed to the hospital at 1 a.m. on a school night, the other can’t be left to his own devices).
There was a moment where my mother-in-law literally laid in the hospital bed with me to stroke my son’s hair to keep him calm so that I could have a chance at some sleep for the first time in 48 hours. My sister came to us straight after a 12-hour work day and my 7-year-old niece cried for a whole night when she found out that her baby cousin was sick in the hospital and she wasn’t allowed to come visit.
Last week reminded me of my privilege: My family. It’s what allows me to take care of myself. To pursue my goals. To Uber from the Paediatric Ward to Pearson Terminal 2 at 6am on a Thursday.
Luckily, our little braveheart was released just as my airplane’s wheels touched down in The Windy City. For 3 days to follow, both of my kids experienced a revolving door of love and care – everyone pitched in. They made sure medication was administered, that beds were elevated and that schedules were adhered to. For three days I did not have to wonder if they were safe and happy. I knew they were (and probably even a little bit spoiled).
So I guess more than a recap, more than a story, this is a Thank You. Thank you to the doctors and nurses at St Joe’s hospital who were so wonderful to us. Thank you to my family (both of them) for being so present and willing to help. Thank you to Aleks for completely taking the company reigns for 2 days (and for reminding me that it would have been just as OK to cancel our trip as it was to take it). And thank you to the powers that be who spared us from a worser fate in the wee hours of last Thursday morning.
The lesson learned in those hours won’t soon be forgotten – for better or for worse.
* we jumped over to New York to help launch a website called bellybrief.com that’s going to revolutionize the way busy moms search the web. Since we were too exhausted and overwhelmed to properly document this trip, click here to view the recap video of the event at the gorgeous Homepolish HQ in Manhattan.
The next and final stop of #MAMASONTOUR kicks off Thu, November 8 in LA!
THU NOV 8 at Monica & Andy with Heymama Co
2-4pm in Santa Monica / 395 Santa Monica Pl. Suite 206
FRI NOV 9 at the NEW Hatch Collection location
5-6pm in Brentwood / 240 26th Street
SAT NOV 10 at the NEW Mini Mioche shop
12-230pm at Palisades Village in Santa Monica
15207 Palisades Village Lane
MON NOV 12 with Bellybrief and Bumble
6-8pm Live Streaming from dinner – Chelsea style!
Get your copy of:
THE REBEL MAMA’S HANDBOOK FOR (COOL) MOMS