Since the day I watched my son and daughter die in the arms of their dad my perspective on mortality has shifted. I have always assumed that if you are pregnant and you make it into the second trimester you will have a healthy baby. Unfortunately, I now know this is not true. Not only from my own experience, but from many other parents that I have encountered on my journey. Sometimes children die. Sometimes they die during pregnancy, or at birth or even well into their life. I now understand that our children's lives cannot be taken for granted, ever.
This weekend I experienced the second most terrifying day of my life. After feeding my daughter a small handful of cashews I watched her break out in hives within minutes. I immediately knew something was wrong and my husband and I rushed to get her a dose of benedryl and head to the Urgent Care. Once we arrived there we sat in the waiting room. I watched Gwenevere as her hives continued to spread. I poked my head around the corner and told the staff we were having a food allergy emergency. They rushed us back and gave Gwenevere more benedryl and a dose of steroids. Her hives continued to spread. I watched as her ears became the color of tomatoes and her whole body got splotchy and puffy. I could see the concerned looks and the medical staff's faces and it was all I could do not to panic. I heard them talking about drawing up and epi-pen and calling 911, my stomach dropped.
A nurse came over and prepared a breathing treatment to give to Gwenevere while we waited for the ambulance to arrive. She calmly explained that the treatments they had available were not working and they wanted to transfer her to the hospital where they could do more to help. All I could think was that I have already had a funeral for my son and daughter, I couldn't lose my baby girl. I held her tightly on my lap and stroked her puffy face telling her everything would be okay.
The ambulance finally arrived and they placed my daughter on the stretcher. I had to ride in the front seat as I listened to her crying for her Mommy. Halfway to the hospital she went quiet and my stomach dropped again. I asked if everything was okay and they told me she had fallen asleep, the benedryl had taken affect. That twenty minute ride to the hospital was the longest car ride of my life.
We arrived at the hospital and the got us into a room right away. Micah found us and he kept reassuring me that she would be fine. My Mom arrived as well. She came in and asked how we were all doing. I broke down and cried. I couldn't lose my little girl, I had already gone through so much. The nurse was in the room getting Gwenevere set up on the oxygen monitor and putting her into a hospital gown. She told us that everything would be okay and I tried to believe her. As we sat in the room and waited for the Dr., Gwenevere's hives started to calm down. I breathed a sigh of relief. The nurse said that the medicine was working. By the time the Dr. came in to see us she was almost looking like her normal self. I knew we were through the worst of it.
That night I didn't sleep very well. At three in the morning I caved in and I scooped Gwenevere out of her crib and I brought her into the guest bedroom me. We slept there together for the rest of the night, although I kept checking her breathing. She woke up in the morning with a big smile on her face saying "snuggle, snuggle, snuggle". I couldn't believe what a trooper she was through this whole experience.
I know that most likely Gwenevere will live a wonderful healthy life and live well beyond my years. I still can't shake my fears that she won't. I want to do all that I can to protect her and keep her safe. But, I know that as she gets older she will have to explore on her own. She will have to make mistakes and learn from them. I won't always be around to keep her safe. I just have to hope that I will be the best parent I can be and teach her to make good choices. I am not in control of her life and that is one of the hardest realizations that I have come to. What I can do is make sure she knows every day how much I love her.