A Worst Fear – Happening
It happened. It finally happened yesterday, but I still find myself questioning if it was infused by my postpartum OCD and anxiety or if I responded appropriately. Or perhaps, it was both.
I live in the most beautiful place buried in the woods down a gravel drive about a mile long. I live on a property that has multiple houses and people living on it. It’s a place where most people can’t find on their own and need our help to navigate. When I was pregnant and planning a November home birth, one of the biggest fears that surfaced and never left was that I would go into labor during a snow storm, which would make it almost impossible to get in or out of where we live. That never happened while I was pregnant and my midwife was able to easily access me at four in the morning when I went into labor. I later gave birth to Wilder out here in these woods, surrounded by the very trees that they love looking up at in awe during our walks.
But it happened yesterday.
We’ve been hit with a week of snow storms here in the PNW and yesterday was our third, but this one was more of an ice storm. The slush was up to our ankles and the snow turned to sheer ice on the roads. And then, Wilder got sick.
Four days ago Wilder randomly projectile vomited all over me. The very next day Wilder spiked a 103.9 fever and was clearly not feeling well. That fever stayed and only got higher over the next three days when yesterday, it finally hit 105.1. I had been managing it by rotating Motrin with Tylenol, but was trying to extend the time between doses to see if the fever had improved on its own at all. But when Wilder woke from their nap, they were burning up.
I knew it was time to go to the ER and the nurse confirmed it. First I tried my car but it wadsn’t going to move from where it was. That’s when I really started to get nervous. Thanks goodnesses Junebug, our roommate who has a Subaru, was home and immediately dropped what they were doing to help. The wet snow was still falling and the slush rising. We were able to make it all the way to the end of our driveway when I saw it. Another Subaru stuck, completely blocking the driveway or able to move. Just further down the road were two more cars stuck in the ditch as the snow kept coming.
This is when Junebug jumped out and started trying to help shovel all of us out. They shoveled and shoveled and finally the Subaru was free. But we were not and it was not going to happen. It was clear we were stuck and needed help. I called an ambulance and at this point, it was on its way and I was trying to say calm.
By the time the ambulance got there, it had been an hour and half since I had given Wilder a dose of Motrin. When they arrived, they pulled up and we just jumped in. We drove a short ways until we found safe place to pull over and check Wilder over. We found that Wilder’s fever had broke and because there were no other symptoms and because the roads were so dangerous, we decided the safest thing to do was go back home and continue to keep managing Wilder’s fever.
The entire time, the paramedic referred to me as “ma’am” and “she” even though I continued to call myself papa and state that I was simply a scared single dad and that my baby really did have a fever. I was already flooded with emotions at this point and my capacity was on empty. I didn’t have it in me to correct him in that moment because every once of energy went to caring for Wilder and making sure they were ok.
We agreed that taking me back home was the best thing to do at this point. While we were checking over Wilder, Junebug had managed to get their car unstuck and was waiting for confirmation that we were going to the hospital. Talk about a stellar roommate or what, huh? The ambulance dropped us off at the end of our mile long driveway and just a few short minutes later JuneBug came to the rescue, taking us the rest of the way home.
Wilder went to bed shortly after getting home and is doing well today. But I feel the emotional hangover of being stuck in the snow while trying to get my baby to the emergency room.
But also, now I can say that I walked through that fear and Wilder is ok. That being a parent is scary and even if I did overreact, that’s ok too. It’s ok to overreact sometimes because its better then not reacting at all. All night I wanted to pick apart and try to figure out if my reaction was from my heart or fueled by the fear that is postpartum OCD and anxiety. What I do know, is that my brain is a dangerous neighborhood and one I don’t walk with alone, especially at night. This is when we lean into our support; a therapist, a sponsor, a life coach, any one of them.
Community and connection are the foundation of that support and I truly don’t know where I would be without it.
Here’s to showing up for each other, and most importantly, ourselves.
Danny (& Wilder)