PowerMom Override

by Mrs. Smith on January 16, 2022

Trigger warning: Child medical emergency detailed below. Please don’t traumatize yourself by reading what I need to write about our experience yesterday.

The short (detail-free) story is, one of our children had a seizure yesterday and was back to his normal self when he regained consciousness. No personal or family history of that kind of thing. Tests at the ER showed nothing abnormal. We will pursue with deep gratitude the referrals they gave us to pediatric specialists (as well as whatever other professional help comes up on my radar) and hopefully identify the cause. We would appreciate whatever prayers, good vibes, well-wishes, and emotional support you’d like to send our way. 

Mr Smith and I are deeply grateful for things going as well as they did, and for things continuing to go as well as they are. I’m seeing the hand of God in all the things, even when it’s hard. This is the post where I throw my vulnerable thoughts out there because… because that’s just what I do.

So here’s my much more detailed, myblogismyjournal, account.

Maybe my fear-mode is busted.

It SHOULD be a really scary thing to see your child unconscious on the floor when that child is well past the age of spontaneous nap-taking.

It should be terrifying to see his breathing ragged, his face pale, and his lips a very scary shade of de-oxygenated purple.

It should make your heart sink when your husband tells you that he wasn’t breathing moments before.

It should be heartbreaking to take over doing cpr compressions when your husband can’t do them any more, while 911 is on speaker phone counting to ten with you.

You should definitely be feeling something as you sit there in the now-crowded kitchen at your still-unconscious child’s feet, answering questions about his medical history, while 4 fire fighter paramedic people try to get him to wake up, stick electrodes all over his chest and take pin prick blood samples to try to figure out what’s going on.

Some part of you should be panicking, too, when you hear your other kids freaking out in the background, crying and scared about what was going on.

It would make sense to be crying and scared, too, when you’re the mom and you love this child more than your own soul.

I must have been in some kind of shock, I’m sure, because none of those emotions registered at all.

I was surprised.
I was not exactly clear-headed.
I had moments of confusion, like when a phone didn’t materialize in my hand so I could be the one to call 911.
I was concerned.
I wanted him to wake up and I was trying to figure out how to help that happen.
I noticed, as it happened, how odd it was that of all the things I could be doing, I was taking off his house slippers and his socks, so my hands could go on autopilot and do whatever they wanted to do with the reflexology map they know so well.

It must be that when my brain took inventory of options, it decided that feelings were not going to be an asset in those moments. (But apparently, foot zoning was?)

I knew when I saw him

that he’d wake up eventually, though it was surreal how long it took. (We were on the phone with emergency services for 17 minutes before the firefighters got there, and then it was at least another 10 minutes before he finally regained consciousness.)

I knew they’d take him via ambulance to the ER to run more tests,

I knew Josh would be there with him, knew they wouldn’t find anything in this first round of tests, and I knew I’d be driving down to the hospital that night to pick them up.

In the instant I saw him on the floor in the kitchen, I knew all of those things –

And that’s exactly what happened.

My gut feeling is that continued testing probably won’t reveal any physical problems, but we’ll go ahead and do the things anyway, of course. It’s a *tremendous* blessing to have access to medical care. Hoping the referrals they gave us at the hospital will have space in their schedules to get him in sooner than later. I’m looking forward to having those boxes checked and all the potential problematic causes ruled out.

On the one hand, I want it to be a one-time fluke.

On the other hand, I’d like answers. Definitive “this is what happened” answers – and random flukes don’t give you that.

He’s been his normal self since he regained consciousness there on the kitchen floor, though he was super tired and as he walked through the house, I wasn’t entirely confident he’d make it without assistance. (The anti-seizure medication they gave him at the hospital made him even more groggy and he mostly slept through everything there.)

And I… I didn’t know what to think or do with myself after the ambulance left, other than thank the first responders, and hug each child tight when I came back in. Check in with them. Assess their levels of freaking out. Make sure they were okay.

I stayed in this weird head-space the whole rest of the day and into the evening. Is there a “Power-Mom-Override” that kicks in to keep you safe to drive when you need to pick up your loved ones from the hospital? Is it possible to get stuck in that Override gear, so that after all the kids are safely tucked in bed, when your husband breaks down sobbing into your shoulder, sharing how he felt and what he thought during that whole harrowing experience, you still can’t feel anything?

Is it a good thing that my brain simply refuses to think the scary “what if” thoughts? We know nothing right now, so what good would it do to be worried?

But I *must* be highly aware of the risks here, because I had our emergency room graduate sleep on the couch instead of his room downstairs in the basement. Stairs… no. And I had Mr Smith sleep down in the living room on the floor so he could be there if needed.

(It turned out to be a wonderful call on my part, because as the kids woke up, one by one, they snuggled with Daddy on the living room floor, and ended up all being there in a great big pile of Smithies, holding each other in the morning after a big scare. I can think of nothing better in the whole wide world and it’s a bummer I missed it. Probably looked something like this, except with kids a year older, including David, and a whole bunch of pillows and blankets.)

As I woke up this morning,

laying here in the dark quiet after nursing and changing the baby, snuggling him back to sleep, I looked at how strong I was yesterday – thought about how I’ve handled all of this – and in surveilling that territory, I found some tears. Sadness for how impossibly strong mamas can be because they have to be.

I gifted myself thirty seconds of crying over what I am going through this week as a mom, and you know what came to mind in that moment?

Of all things…
Louisa from Encanto.

I thought that maybe I could in fact relate after all to those who cried watching her pressure song. It didn’t kick up any feels for me when I watched it with the fam-bam on Christmas, but maybe, just maybe, I get it now. Maybe I’ll cry about it next time.

The world on my shoulders and that’s just how it is.

Just 100% there in the role of comforter and problem-solver.

Where are MY feelings? In what strange parallel dimension is it JOSH being emotional and ME holding space for him?

I mean, hello. It’s me. I do nothing if not feel the feels. 

No anxiety? Really? None??

Nope. Exhaustion, yes. Fear, no.

Lift it all. Carry it all. Cracking is not an option I need to take. I don’t really feel the need to breakdown anyway, honest, I don’t.

Without even trying, I find that at least in this instance…

I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous
I’m as tough as the crust of the earth is
I move mountains, I move churches
And I glow ’cause I know what my worth is
I don’t ask how hard the work is
Got a rough indestructible surface
Diamonds and platinum, I find ’em, I flatten ’em
I take what I’m handed, I break what’s demanding…

I know what I’m feeling (or not feeling) makes sense given the circumstances. If my fear-mode is busted, it’s for a good reason and it’ll put itself back together when I need it.

I can’t help but want myself to snap out of this numb sense of shock, though.

PowerMomOverride isn’t a fun gear to stay in.

Edit a month later to add photographic evidence that he is indeed okay. 🙂

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