A week before my daughter's 5th birthday, my heart broke into a million pieces.
She had a normal kid cold. Cough, runny nose. She said she didn't feel that good, yet played in the mountains with grandma & grandpa with her normal big smile & huge laugh.
The next day she started a fever, so I stayed close by for snuggles and to give her some tylenol. The next day she was flush and didn't have an appetite. We decided to take her up the street to urgent care to check things out amidst the "no mama, I don't want to go to the doctor, I'm fine."
My body & mind can easily fall back into the moment. She was waiting in the hallway for me to grab my keys and papers. I turned around to get her and my body went numb. She stood in the hallway...pale white with eyes rolled up in her head. I ran to her and kept repeating, "baby say my name, baby say my name." She was there but she wasn't.
The moments that passed felt like hours. We carried her into an exam room as she went into seizure. Her body shook, she threw up and her breath struggled. I lost my mind at the same time was very aware of the conversation in my mind. Watching my baby, I felt helpless. She couldn't speak, she couldn't see me, she was lost, I was lost. My thoughts poked in and kept repeating, "is this what it feels like to lose someone?"
The seizure continued for over 20 minutes...through the ambulance ride and at the hospital. She laid on me on the emergency room bed while the doctors gave her an IV and medication to stop the vomiting & seizure. I laid motionless for 4 hours with her until she mumbled her first word to me. After we were released from the hospital, the doctor shared that a febrile seizure is like running a marathon (or 3) for a small child. She would be tired, listless and not herself for a while.
I didn't leave her side for the next week nor did I sleep or breathe. Every time I looked at her sweet face, I instantly went back to that moment. It took my breath and a piece of my heart away each time.
Being a mother means having a piece of you...your heart & soul outside of your body at all times. When they feel, you feel. I never knew that the motherhood journey would involve so much hurt. A deep ache from the desire to protect. A pain from having to address your own fears of loss & surrender.
A week after her 5th birthday, I caught my first glimpse of her former self. Full of life, energy, health, hope. There are many lessons that I learned from this experience, yet the one that I celebrate the most is the heart of the mother.
"The purest thing in the world is the heart of the mother, the heart-chakra, the center of the mother. It can move God. It can move the Universe. It can cause an effect beyond limitation. The heart of the mother is the greatest power of Infinity ever given to any finite being."
A special THANK you to my tribe: Cara, Amy, Danielle, Katie, Katy, Rosa, Heather F, Heather H who held such big space for my hurt & fear. My parents who stayed with us. Nurse Bobby at Urgent Care who selflessly went above & beyond. The ambulance drivers & pediatric team at Swedish for holding such compassionate space for a mom in crisis mode.
To all of the mamas out there who rock their sick kiddos in the wee-hours, to the mamas whose kiddos are in the constant care of health care professionals and the strong mamas who have experienced loss...may your hearts always remember your infinite strength.