Hardest Experience Of My Life

– written April 8, 2015

Life happens in the moments when you’re called to be greater.

At 12:30am on Tuesday, March 31 (Janesville, WI) I woke up to a stubbornly awake baby after merely falling asleep 30 minutes prior and a meager 1.5 hours remaining on my sleep watch before the alarm would sound to alert me to get my fanny out of bed to catch a plane with my nine-month-old.  We caught that plane with nothing but smiles and sweet I-love-yous on our lips (although in Maisy language it sounds more like “da-da” right now).

At 6:50pm on Wednesday, April 1 (Parker, CO) I entered the kitchen emotionally shredded.  My dear friend Nicole wrapped me in her arms and I sobbed and mumbled something about how it’s so hard to listen to your baby scream at you when you know her ear hurts but you’ve already done everything you can for her.  It was one of those moments when all I wanted to do was cry as I held my hurting baby, but it wouldn’t come until my pain was met with compassion.

At 6:30pm on Thursday, April 2 (Cheyenne, WY) I nurse my Maisy in the dark on the floor in the corner of a kids classroom at the church Citizen Way is performing at for the night.  She just appears to have hit the lights out portion of her evening when suddenly she spewed all of the milk back at my breast.  I froze, momentarily dumbfounded.  Josh walked in and when I muttered something about the mess in the corner, on me and on Maisy he promptly cleaned it all up as I still just stood there dumbstruck.  Another throw up and temperature taking later I decided to throw in the towel and to put my baby down for the night even though we traveled over 1,000 miles to see our man play a concert.  Our hostess graciously broke from the concert herself to drop us off at her home only for Maisy to make another mess there.  Eventually I snuggled my girl to sleep and prayed my heart out that she would be safe and heal through the night.

At 2:00am on April 5 (Morrison, CO) I woke to throw my stomach up into the hotel toilet.  With a date to Red Rocks at 3:30 calling me I tried to summon the gumption to get myself together for van call.  Instead, a little voice in my head called me to hang back and at 4:00 I was on my haunches at the toilet again, then again, and again… until my baby woke up for some grub.  The moment I lay down to nurse her I knew I was doomed.  She just barely got latched when I jerked myself up, ripping the promise of nourishment from her lips, and sprinted to the bathroom.  I was a moment too late as what was left of my dinner comes flying out of my mouth… only some of which landed in the toilet.  I spent the next eternity aiming my wretching accurately into the toilet while my baby screamed heart-wrenching cries my way.  Only one other moment compares to the sense of helplessness I felt in this moment – hour 67 of back labor as I sat in the birthing tub knowing death would feel better but then the world wouldn’t get to know my baby girl (read my birth story here).  Finally my anchor lifted off the bathroom floor and I dashed to Maisy.  In a half a second she was soothed back to peace as I nursed her.  When she woke again, this time for the day, I tried to get us pulled together to make the rest of the sunrise service at Red Rocks where Citizen Way was leading 12,000 people in worship on Easter Sunday.  Instead, it took me 1.5 hours just to get Maisy and me dressed due to my wretched state.  All the while I pondered how I was going to make it through the morning with Maisy to care for when I couldn’t stand up straight without then having to answer to another round of heaving.  On the one hand I was trying to think of any way to get Maisy off my hands, not because I didn’t want her there but because I felt utterly inadequate and unsafe to care for her, but I could think of no one as I was far from home and anyone else I knew was otherwise engaged in the service at Red Rocks.  So then I thought my best option was to drag my fanny out of the hotel anyway in order to pawn Maisy off onto someone at the service and then go hide in the green room myself and go back to sleep.  But then I realized that was not going to happen either because I really couldn’t fathom how I was supposed to get my weak and feverish body to not only carry simply my own skin and bones but my 20 pound giant baby and all of her necessities out to the car, up all the steps to the Red Rocks Amphitheater, over to someone who can take care of Maisy (potentially making a scene with my nasty and disheveled looking self to do so as anyone I knew would be front and center at the service due to their wifely status), and then all the way down to the green room.  I realized that was about as possible as trying to compete in Iron Man race when you haven’t trained a day in your life.  I resigned to my fate of missing the whole affair and snuggled in with my daughter praying that she would play quietly and fuss free, she would be ready for a nap soon, and that when she did go down for a nap that she would sleep until daddy could get home to rescue me.  She pretty much did just that and I spent the rest of my day sleeping on and off with nursing sessions sprinkled into my waking moments as Josh otherwise took charge of Maisy.  That night I caught a flight at 8:10pm feeling fit to conquer the flight puke free thanks to a restful afternoon, lots of prayer, an apple, and some Young Living lemon oil in my water and Thieves oil on my feet (the better to kill all the bad bugs with my dear).

At 8:00pm on April 7 (Janesville, WI – back home) I realized that my milk had completely gone out – turns out 3 days of mostly not eating rids a mom’s body of any nourishment for her baby despite her fervent desire that her body provide no matter the cost to her own physical well being. So at 8:10 on April 7 I pulled a bottle of breastmilk from the freezer and warmed it for my little girl.  When she was all fed and laid to sleep I sobbed into Josh’s shoulder and said, “no mom should ever have to do this.”

This trip goes down on my top 5 list of hardest experiences of my life.  For the sake of absolute transparency and to give you some perspective on this whole experinece, the other items on that list are as follows: the aftermath from getting beaten and mugged in Africa, my first year of marriage, 72 hours of what felt like literally back-breaking birth, and moving into our first house with a newborn and a gushing birth cavity a mere 48 hours after giving birth to said newborn.  And yet, I am thankful for this experience, and every other one from my top 5 list for that matter, because it is also a warm one.  In this story I also got to spend gobs of quality time with my little treasure.  I got to snuggle her tons and laugh a lot with her.  It is actually some of the most concentrated time I’ve had with her – I virtually did not put her down, she was always in my arms. I love my little bundle, no matter how hard it gets, I’m just praying my milk comes back soon!

UPDATE since this was written:  my milk is indeed back and I am now thoroughly stocked with natural remedies to ensure I don’t run out again 🙂

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