March 26, 2005

It Got Quiet

Sorry. Things have been spooky on the home front. Remember when Maisy got to take that FUN Ambulance ride for her febrile seizure? Well. She apparently gave up "Breathing Properly" for Lent and didn't tell anyone. Instead she saved her little secret for Wednesday night near midnight, when she woke up screaming whenever she could get enough air to scream. Which wasn't often. Scott heard her by SOME MIRACLE STRAIGHT FROM GOD. We tried to get her airways open, failed, and called 911 while she thrashed and struggled and gasped and wheezed and reddened and faded in and out. Once again fire trucks and ambulances decended, oxygen and albuterol were supplied, and I in my pajama top sat weeping and singing LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO over and over again in the back of an ambulance as it wailed and sped to the hospital.

SHE IS FINE. Of course she is fine. Or I wouldn't be here telling you about it. It was a bad, sudden onset of evil croup, and once again we followed up with the pediatrician and once again he assured us this is a healthy little girl and an isolated incident which is no one's fault except mine for being a terrible mother. Then he hit me.

Okay no, that didn't happen. BUT, I am having BAD CAVEMAN MAGICAL JINX thoughts. Do you have that suspicious VOODOO gland in your brain? The one which, no matter what happens, can find a way where it is absolutely YOUR fault and clearly the result of your actions? This can work directly, in an ALMOST RATIONAL cause and effect way, as in: "This is my fault because I didn't have a humidifier going in the baby's room,"even though the REASON you didn't have a humidifier in the baby's room is because you just read this LONG LONG THREAD on your mom-writers e-mail list about how humidifiers can actually CAUSE terrible illness because they get MOLDY and DISEASEY and disseminate illness into the air, AND you know DARN WELL that if you HAD had the humidifier going on the room you would now be saying, "Oh this is because I had the humidifier going and I might as well have taken a BAGGY FULL OF CROUP AND MUCUS AND DEATH and stuffed it by hand right into her throat and lungs!"

And that's not even the worst of it, because at least that MAKES RATIONAL SENSE. The worst is the late at night when the baby is in your bed because you are too scared that she will suddenly STOP BREATHING for no reason (now that there is precedent) and at first you can't sleep because her feet are stuffed into spleen and her exploring fingers keep creeping up your nostrils, but then she falls asleep and you lie there STILL not sleeping. You listen to her lungs processing air, in and out perfectly, her whole little body the walking definition of miraculous as all her little parts pump and heave and digest and burble.

She is so lovely, smooth skin gleaming in the light of the Glow Worm bedtime pal you are squeezing so his head lights up to let you see the rise and fall of her small, sturdy chest and you think, "The humidifier had nothing to do with it. This is YOUR FAULT---COSMICALLY. You are self-involved and awful and all you think about is YOUR BOOK and you just left town for a month to do book promo and you are leaving for another 6 weeks and this is the UNIVERSE saying YOU DO NOT DESERVE THIS CHILD you TOWN-LEAVER, you BOOK-OBSESSOR. You did this, and you DESERVE THIS FEAR and what you should do is STOP EVERYTHING, your writing, your friends, your work, your sleeping, your marriage, JUST STOP and you should stand over her and her brother every moment, vigilent, you must live to watch their lungs work, because this was a wake-up call to make you understand NOTHING else matters but that those two small hearts keep pumping, the four lungs pulling air in and out, and PS you are a BAD BAD MOTHER and YOU LET THIS HAPPEN because YOU. LOOKED. AWAY.

Here in the daylight, I know that's not true. Its croup, not karma, not judgement, it's a meaningless blip of malfunction in an otherwise healthy little growing body. But my love for her, my huge and paralyzing love for her, makes me search so hard for meaning. If I can make it MY FAULT, then I can control it. I can then do whatever must be done to propitiate the croup gods and keep her safe, keep her breathing, keep her happy and unharmed in a cheerful pink world where I can control all the elements and my baby is never at the mercy of that which is random.

Posted by joshilyn at March 26, 2005 8:53 AM

Oh man... (((HUGS))) So happy she is OK now, even if it is all your fault :) One mom to another, it's always "our fault."

Posted by: AGK at March 26, 2005 11:05 AM

I love you my dear sister in law and I tell people all the time what amazing parents you are because your Sam and Maisy are so great. I know that won't stop the night time evil voice dude because it is hard to stop our crazy brains from running a billion miles an hour when we don't have "tasks" to occupy our minds. I just wanted you to hear a not so evil voice in the daylight!!!

Posted by: allison at March 26, 2005 11:10 AM

I am SO relieved everything turned out. How frightening!

Posted by: katie at March 26, 2005 11:22 AM

ugh. big ginormous hugs to you and maisy and scott and sam too (cuz he probably woke up - well, maybe not...irene seems to sleep through anything, so maybe sam does too). but good lawd! you got all that night stuff EXACTLY RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!!! and it is possible that perhaps it's a gene that wakes up the second that sperm hits that egg. i had it to a much lesser degree pre-children, but NOTHING like i've got it now.
you're a good mother. maisy and sam are delightful and healthy little creatures. you are good. all is good. hmmm, i must be tired b/c i'm getting rambly.

Posted by: kristen at March 26, 2005 11:24 AM

As one mom to another - I know EXACTLY what you mean about taking the blame when there really isn't any blame to be had. My son was born with scoliosis and I went through months of back braces and doctors visits and special medecine and all that stuff and I agonized over it because maybe I slept too often on my right side and not enough on my left and that's why he's curled. I didn't take enough calcium - I took too much calcium - the cold medicine my doctor said was ok really wasn't okay - I worked for too long (he was born 5 days after I took a leave of absence) - I tripped once too many times - the car wreck really did hurt my baby before he was fully developed - hanging around people who smoked hurt him....

It was awful. Poor kid couldn't sit up because the brace squished into his weiner and it hurt really bad.

Good news is that he's a happy, active, smart 12 year old and he outgrew the problem. I am sure that your little'un will too. You are a good mother and I can hear the love and your worry in your words.

Posted by: Karry at March 26, 2005 2:32 PM

Blame it on the MOMWRITERS, Joss. JUST SAY NO!!

Posted by: Natalie R. Collins at March 26, 2005 2:52 PM

Oh you didn't know? Yes, all your fault. Same with my child. All my fault. Even when they are in their 40's and get the sniffles, it's still going to be our fault somehow...


Very sorry that you had that scare, glad things are ok!

Posted by: Heather McCutcheon at March 26, 2005 4:10 PM

It can't be all YOUR fault; it's all MY fault. Seriously, I'll take it all. You rest. But it's your turn to shoulder the blame on Monday, mkay? Thanks, doll.

Posted by: Mir at March 26, 2005 6:42 PM

I'm so glad Maisy is doing better. Gentle hugs to you both.

(Maybe you should modify the bunny foo foo song and sing about scoopin' up the croup and bashin' it on the'll be afraid to ever visit anyone in your house ever again)

Posted by: DebR at March 26, 2005 7:20 PM

Being 'at the mercy of that which is random' is what I refer to as 'the Monsters in the Closet'. When they were teeny tiny the Monster was SIDS, Croup (Erin had it at 6 months and we spent early Christmas morning at Egleston), RSV and others. As they have grown, the Monster has taken on different shapes and characteristics - illnesses and happenings that I dare not name for fear of jinxing my babes. I don't think the monsters will ever go away. I bet my Mom and Dad still imagine 'monsters in the closet' when it comes to my brother, myself and our children.

Posted by: dana at March 26, 2005 10:09 PM

OH, Tulip, I am soooooo sorry. What an awful thing to happen. I'm so glad she's ok.

Sam is six weeks old now and every time I wake up in the night for any reason OTHER than that he's screaming for food it's with the sick thought: "he's SMOTHERED, you horrible person, and you SLEPT through it, SLEEP is more important to you than your CHILD, and you don't deserve him anyway."

Just so you know you aren't alone in the morbid-thought department. Lots of love to everybody!!!

Posted by: Amy at March 26, 2005 10:39 PM

Oh, honey, but IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I was wracked with guilt at UCSF Children's Hospital after our son's diabetes diagnosis. Because he was diagnosed near coma I blamed myself for not catching it earlier, even though his pediatrician had told us he was fine. There in the ICU, a VERY KIND male nurse said to me, "You were not supposed to know any sooner than this."

It'll be OK. SHE'S OK. Not, not, NOT your fault. Love, Martha

Posted by: Martha O'Connor at March 26, 2005 10:49 PM

I am so glad she is okay.Love,Whitney

Posted by: Whitney at March 27, 2005 11:30 AM

I have so loved reading your blog since discovering it a few weeks ago, and oh MAN this post just made me ache for you... Rational sense and motherhood don't have a whole lot of overlap, in my experience, and the opportunities for guilt are just so damn huge they defy gravity and anything else quantifiable.

I am so happy your daughter is okay, and just hope that the confluence of your fine work, your sleep, your marriage, your kids, and ALL GOOD THINGS mesh in a way that allows you much-deserved pride and comfort and even mental nourishment (as much of that as any of us are allowed!), from here on out.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at March 27, 2005 7:08 PM

I'm glad Maisey is better. I hope you will be too. Hope you had a happy Easter.

Posted by: carolyn at March 27, 2005 8:28 PM

You know what's your fault? That she lives, breathing luminescently next to you tonight. THAT is your fault, because YOU did that, along with Scott and God.
Once that life was set in motion, you do the best you can. And your best? Is wonderful.
Oh, and good heavens, you live in a state where humidifiers go to see what humidifying is all about. You don't need a humidifier there any more than we in Denver need an oxygen-sucking device carefully stashed in our rooms. Good heavens.

Posted by: Kira at March 28, 2005 12:42 AM

Hello, this is my homepage.

Posted by: bill66 at March 30, 2005 9:58 AM