If You Are a Parent, This Will Probably Make You Feel Better About Yourself


A lot can happen in a week. And sometimes, not in a good way.

I had the worst Mother’s Day I think (and hope) that I will ever have. It was a fine day leading up to our ER visit. We started the day with a family hike where nobody cried, which with two kids, usually signifies a successful event. I also got some uninterrupted time with my own mama. We were going to go to see the bog violets at the Arboretum together, just like we did last year in the rain. Then as we got closer and closer, it appeared that every other mother, on this very sun kissed and idyllic day, was on their way there, too. So we veered out of that line and stopped at a lakeside park to check out the trails instead. Two hikes, one day. Lots and lots of blooming trees. Not bad. And with my sweet mother, who always, always smells like soap and jasmine and knows how to give love like nobody’s business.

And E. was eating better than ever. She was throwing down bottles like we’ve never seen. Five ounce after five ounce bottles. Beautiful eating like we’d never before seen. We didn’t have to run the tube at all until her bedtime bottle. We were smiling all day about it.

It was, in some ways, as good as it gets.

But what goes up, must come down. Or something like that.

When I was laying E. down to get the bedtime feeding rigged up, the tube got stuck between my body and the crib. I was looking at her sweet face and then there it was, just like a balloon popping. And then everything that had just gone into her stomach came rushing out all over the two of us. I had mistakenly pulled the entire feeding tube out of her body. The part that was settled down into her stomach. It was that easy. I didn’t even know that the tube was caught.

I carried my bawling baby into A.’s room to let Cedar know what had happened. He was just tucking him in for the night. We snapped into action. Cedar grabbed the spare tube while I called the neighbors to see if they could stay with A. We couldn’t reach a soul. So we all got in the car to go to the ER together. I did my best to reassure A, who was in his best firetruck jammies, that his sister would be absolutely fine. He was asking all about hospitals and ambulances and wanting to know exactly what would happen and when. I was leaned over E.’s carseat, holding a piece of tubing into her stoma site to keep it from closing up. The plastic kept popping out and then I had to stick it back in place. Gastric juices were bubbling and rushing all over my hand and down her onesie.

The whole ride I was silently and fiercely berating myself. While trying to remain completely calm and answer all of his questions in a matter of fact way. I didn’t want to make it any worse for little A.

But oh man, I could not believe that I made that mistake. I still can’t believe it. And that mistake has resulted in five hours in the ER (during most of which she was screaming and crying in pain), three vomiting sessions (so far), a set of X-rays for A., a missed day of work (for me), and a near sleepless night. Oh, and another surgery. Which happened today.

Radical self-forgiveness. That’s what I’m working on.

The doctor had to surgically put in a new tube, plus fix some of the tissue that wasn’t healing up well. The tissue would have had to have been repaired anyway. But it probably wouldn’t have required an operation.

The procedure went fine. In and out, day surgery. It was like 15 minutes total in terms of the actual operating time. We knew the nurses and the anesthesiologist from our very recent stint there. Everyone kvelled at how much E. had grown in the past three weeks (an inch!). And they told me that this kind of stuff happens all the time with these tubes, which is reason number one hundred and seventeen why we had tried so hard to avoid it for so long.

Now we are back to the zone of healing and up in the night at all hours and pain for this sweet baby and bodily fluids everywhere.

We got through this day, and I am looking forward to looking back on this time. Only because then we won’t be in it anymore. And that sounds pretty good to me.

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