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Being a human is hard, being a parent is stressful, being an anxious parent is sometimes too much!

As many of you know I ventured into uncharted territory this weekend. I decided to take my book to the Iowa Horse Fair to promote it to a crowd of people that didn’t know me. That meant leaving home Friday at 7:00 AM and not returning until 7:00 PM Sunday. While that might not seem like a big deal for most, it was huge for me. Remember, I’m the girl that hated to stay away from home as a child/teenager.

My family came down to attend a rodeo with me Friday night, stayed in the hotel to swim and attend the horse fair with plans to head back home Saturday night. This was a fantastic plan up until the moment Ellie put on her swimsuit to go for her first dip in the pool, I noticed a red mark on her tummy, looked closer and realized she had hives. My first reaction was, “oh crap it must be bedbugs!” After a quick examination of Grace, who slept in the same bed as Ellie, we realized she had none of the red marks. As we retraced our steps through the week, night and morning of we determined she had had a lot of citrus. She’s had citrus before but we did all comment that she had had a large amount. Luckily, because I’m an anxious mom, I had Benadryl with me and we gave her some which seemed to ease the hives.

Said child must have taken some selfies at the horse fair!

Fast forward to a successful afternoon at the horse fair and my family hitting the road to travel home.  My niece joined me at the horse fair and we had a great time laughing with kids that came to our booth and visiting with each other. As we were finishing up at the vendor show for the night I got a call from Rob that the hives were back with a vengeance. If you are at all like me you know what happened next, my legs went numb, my arms went numb and my heart felt like it was going to fall out of my chest.

Does she have hives because I’m not home?

Does he know what to do if she has trouble breathing?

Will he even hear her if she has trouble breathing with her sleeping?

Why isn’t he taking her to the doctor?

Rob eased my mind by telling me he had spoken to our friend that is a nurse, asked for advice and he had even picked up some over the counter meds for her. My body started to calm down as I talked myself into the fact that he would do just fine, it wasn’t my fault that she had hives and he could parent her just as well as I can. As I tried to fall asleep in the hotel room that night I kept telling myself she was going to be fine, at the time she fell asleep she was having no trouble breathing, and it was just something on her skin.

Fast forward through a restless night of sleep and another phone call that the hives were back and worse. Cue numb feeling in arms, legs, and lump in throat. I began talking to myself, using my name and telling myself that it would be fine, kids get hives. I will admit though I couldn’t stop the feeling that it was my fault because I wanted to go away and promote my book. That was the mom guilt/anxiety kicking into overdrive. I know I’m not the only one to experience this, but man it’s a crappy feeling!

Why do we as mom’s or parents get this guilty feeling? We HAVE to take time for ourselves. Especially when we give, give, give all of the time.

My entire way home from Des Moines I couldn’t turn the negative thoughts off in my mind about it, if I wouldn’t have went to promote the book she wouldn’t have gotten hives and on and on!

Guess what? It’s Thursday and she still has hives and I am still an anxious mom.

I will repeat what I have said before, I am doing this work so that my girls know that they too can dream big and huge! But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with the mom guilt and anxious feelings that many of you may be dealing with, too!

Are you an anxious human? How do you deal with parenting guilt?

From the gravel road-

Jen

6

10 Years ago today I got a second chance at life. Some of you know this story and some don’t, but it is part of my life and part of why I am the person I am today.

In March 6th of 2009, I was scheduled for an MRI because of a killer headache that I had experienced the previous weekend, I had no idea what the next months of my life would be like.  

That day I left my job with another killer headache, blurred vision, and literally threw up into a cup for 45 minutes as I drove myself to the hospital where my MRI was scheduled to take place.  The MRI wasn’t scheduled until 4:00 that afternoon, but I walked into the ER at 1:00 knowing that something was not right. I was diagnosed with spinal meningitis that evening, I don’t remember much at all of that time when I was in the local hospital.  I remember lots of yellow gowns and wanting to cover up with tons of blankets, but the nurses kept pulling them off of me because my fever was so high. I would doze on and off and don’t really remember the events leading up to my transfer to St. Mary’s in Rochester, Minnesota.  

What I do remember is the transfer to Rochester.  The ambulance was cold, bumpy, and I felt very alone.  For that ride to Minnesota my headache did subside (I now know it was probably from the help of a whole lot of morphine.) By the time they unloading me and got me to a room the doctors attempted yet another spinal tap while in my hospital room and it was literally the most painful feeling I have ever endured in my life, my head felt like it was exploding, the faintest light made my eyes feel like the were being yanked out by a hand in the back of my head, and even the faintest touch of a hand send pain through my entire body.  That was the night my grandparents visited me. I know, this freaks people out, but on that night I now know just how close I was to leaving this earth. I vividly remember my Grandma Bushbaum standing there with a glass of diet coke with lemon and a fly swatter in her hand.  I vividly remember by Grandpa saying they were just coming by to check on me.  I vividly remember asking to go with them and my Grandpa saying, “No, Jenifire. You have to stay here.” My grandma kissed my forehead and they left.

My next memories fade in and out and include lots of hallways, bright lights that caused intense pain, and lots of vomiting.

I spent the next 4 weeks in and out of hospitals both local and out of state.  I had a 1 year old, my husband had a new job, and I was in the first year of a very demanding job.  

Obviously, I am here typing this post today, so you know the story ended well. It was definitely a long road of many ups and downs, but those weeks changed my life forever!  There were times that I truly did not know if I would get to watch my baby girl grow up and days that my body hurt so badly I wasn’t sure I could keep fighting. I had blood clots in both arms and had gone through more spinal taps than anyone should ever have to endure.

I don’t think I fully realized the “trauma” that my mind and body went through in 2009, but I am often reminded when I have to have a routine blood draw for my Crohn's Disease checks or when I have to lay still for a CT scan or MRI to check my guts.  Even a routine blood draw now causes anxiety to creep in and I literally have to have to go to a different space in my head to prepare for a CT scan. I don’t suffer headaches often, but when I do my mind immediately goes to the thought that this could be it again. (Obviously not every headache is from meningitis, but once you have experienced the feeling it is one you never forget.)

That extremely difficult road I traveled in 2009 didn’t just leave me with anxiety and chronic weakness in my hands.  It left me with a second chance at life. It left me with hope that there is a beautiful place called heaven where our loved ones that have passed are waiting for us.  It left me with a desire to LIVE life to its fullest and never take it for granted. It left me with a desire to leave nothing unsaid, to dream big and huge, and to love every birthday, hug, and event that occurs in my life.

Have you experienced a second chance at life? I am always fascinated by stories of second chances and would love to hear about it.

From the gravel road-

Jen

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