After a sufficiently productive and enjoyable day, I made my way to the bedroom, hefted myself into my recently raised bed, read a chapter from Emma and laid down to my repose. Ever so slowly the muscles in my expectant body relaxed to the sounds of a pre-recorded rainstorm. I was blissfully unaware that nature seemed to be blissfully unaware of Spring's arrival and was leaving white evidence of Winter's stubborn nature all over the landscape. It wouldn't have staying power or any disruptive capabilities other than disappointingly chilly weather so close to April. I would only ponder these ideas after a long and distressing night. Distressing because, at that moment of initial relaxation, I was also blissfully unaware that it would only last a few more of those prescious moments.
The first tired complaints of my daughter drifted from her room and I, with slight tension, waited for the expected event of her return to unconsciousness. As her cries gained momentum and urgency, I wondered if perhaps the electrical brown-out soon after she went to bed knocked out the heater in her room. With a sigh, I went to her door, still hoping she would become quiet and go back to sleep.
Upon opening the door, Audrey redoubled her cries and reached for me in desperate supplication. I picked her up and turned on the light. Approximately 3 seconds later, she burped and my shoulder was suddenly warmer than usual. Um... I turned her to look into my face with concern. She coughed and threw up all over me. Wow. Awesome.
I quickly moved her to her changing pad and sat her there, whereupon she proceeded to throw up several times in succession. I think my brain shut down at that point and all I could think was "help!" I was trying to imagine cleaning her up, cleaning myself up and cleaning her room up by myself. At 11:15 at night, that wasn't going to go well. In a panic, I told Audrey to wait on the changing table and I ran to get my lifeline... the phone.
I can only imagine what Ben thought at my calling him so late. I can't even start to concieve what he thought when he picked up the phone to hear my panicked voice and Audrey crying in the background. My rescuer promised to be home in a few minutes and I hung up the phone thinking, "what next?"
Ben came home to Audrey in the bath and me next to the bath a fraction of an inch from a complete meltdown. Ben ushered me off to take a shower and sat with Audrey. I was silently hoping that her stomach troubles were relieved since she seemed to be in a relatively good mood, considering. A fresh diaper and clean pajamas seemed to make everyone feel better. Unfortunately, she was now wide awake and not interested in going back to bed.
Over the next two hours, she threw up every time we thought she must be feeling better and got another change of clothes. She wanted to go back to bed, but every time she settled down with Ben or myself for a cuddle, a few minutes later she would get the wiggles and almost inevitably be sick again.
Ben eventually arranged for a replacement on his shift at work, knowing that I wouldn't rest easy without his presence. We all got back to bed somewhere close to 2am. Ben attempted to comfort me by commending me on the way I handled myself in this crisis. He sited my composure and ability to think clearly enough to put Audrey in the bath while waiting for him, instead of completely dissolving into utter helplessness under a deluge of tears. Unbeknownst to him while he was trying to lift me up, I was completely dissolving into utter helplessness under a deluge of tears.
Is strength the ability to deal with unpleasantness with confidence and forebearance? I can't believe that there is any strength involved in silently holding off insanity until the lights go out.