This trip to Tennessee for a wedding was only six hours in comparison to the ten we managed with Alex at six weeks old, but you just never know how things will go. Next time, we will travel at night. It makes for sleep deprived parents, but at this point, it is becoming clear Baby is put through much less stress. (Which makes for less stress for Mom and Dad. I loathe seeing my baby miserable.) She usually sleeps and does well for the first part of the trip, but the last few hours are always the worst. Bouncing a car seat to soothe a crying baby while feeling delirious and hungry is really not for the faint of heart.
The first day in TN was great. We ate a late, much needed, delicious lunch at a Mexican restaurant in the town where we were staying, then spent the afternoon catching up with our hosts. (My husband’s sister and her husband.) It was a downcast day, and I loved just sitting on the front porch of their little town house, feasting my senses on the fresh, damp smell, the green lawn and maple, and birds singing. I fed my little one on the porch swing, and I could have sat there a lot longer just relaxing, free of other responsibilities for that moment.
We walked to the local coffee shop and drank incredible lattes, and we also got our fill of delicious lattes made my my brother-in-law a.k.a undiscovered barista. I may have had a caffeine high all weekend, but they were just so good.
We were fed a homemade feast for dinner and enjoyed it around the table with laughter and epic friends. I was pretty exhausted from traveling, but we still stayed up until midnight. (1 a.m. eastern/our time)
We slept in as much as one can sleep in with a baby, then ate breakfast for lunch at my other brother-in-law’s home. Alex decided to be hungry right then, so I survived the low blood sugar/ caffeine high feeling until she was full and I could eat as well. I’m noticing a motherhood trend here. I’m learning to stuff food in while I have a chance. Not the greatest for digestion, but at least I’m not starving! 🙂
After lunch, we went back to the house and got ready for the evening wedding and drove the hour to the outdoor location. It was a rainy day, but thankfully it only drizzled on and off throughout the event.
It was a beautiful wedding, but I feel like I was in a mommy daze the entire time, starting the moment we got out of the car. Alex had finally gone to sleep after crying on the drive, but when I got her out of the car seat to change her into another outfit, she had a total meltdown.
I concluded that she had a tummy ache- possibly from a disrupted schedule and changes in my diet that weekend, but probably mostly the dairy I had consumed. I cut dairy out completely when she was first born, but have been adding it to my diet some more without a problem. The lattes and yogurt must have been too much.
People gave us sympathetic looks as they walked by, and I was at a total loss at how to comfort my screaming teary-eyed infant. I think it’s safe to say that my stress level went through the roof at that point. She was due for a feeding, but she was clearly too upset to eat. I just wished for some normalcy- to comfort my child in a familiar place instead of being cramped in a car or outside in the damp air, surrounded by people.
My husband finally took her to give me a break. Walking around with her was the only way she stayed calm, so I knew there was no way we would both be sitting during the ceremony. I was able to sit with some of my husband’s family for most of it while my husband walked with Alex. I was then able to feed and change her in the warm house, and she was semi normal after that. (Not crying, but still not herself.)
From a mama perspective, (which, get real, is about the only perspective I am capable of currently) the entire wedding was hard for me. I felt overstimulated by the crowd and primal, like a lion protecting her cub from danger or threats. With my baby acting strange and uncomfortable, I wanted her close to keep things as normal as possible for her.
It felt like a weakness that I was so uptight and stressed. I felt rude for refusing to pass my baby around to swooning friends and family, but I kept reminding myself that a mother’s hormones and instincts are a gift to teach her how to care for her baby. I kept telling myself that I don’t have to apologize for listening to my instincts, and I knew I made the right call to go home early when my poor child projectile vomited all over herself in her car seat. Sweet baby shivered when she was getting undressed for a warm bath back at the house. After she was snugly and fed, she went to sleep and had a normal night, thankfully
We left for home early the next morning. We stopped to eat in a barbecue restaurant my husband wanted me to experience, and it was definitely an experience feeding my baby while eating with one hand! 😉 She was happy and content, but then I started mentioning that her face was getting red, when it happened: projectile vomit again. We got a to go cup, and I filled it with hot water in the bathroom to clean her up when we got to the car. My husband washed her up and changed her all fresh and clean in the front seat, and we were on our way again.
We had to make a grocery store pit stop first, but then I drove the rest of the way home while Baby and her dad took a nap in the back. Note: pumping and driving is safer than texting while driving. Don’t ask me how I know this. You do what you have to GET HOME already!
One last feeding/diaper changing/car seat break session, and the trip was finally over
All three of us couldn’t have been happier to be home. I’m amazed how Alexandra recognizes her home, her ceiling fan that she likes to watch, and just everything familiar. We made and ate an easy dinner, semi unpacked and cleaned up the house, then snuggled up on the couch to watch a worship service and unwind.
Monday, we had to drive an hour separately to drop our car off at a dealership to get some recall things taken car of. Driving that far with Baby my myself for the first time went well, until there was traffic and rain in town, and I made a wrong turn, and my baby was crying while I was trying to navigate.
I fed Baby in the truck at the dealership, and all three of us cramped in the front seat to run some errands. It went something like this:
Truck wouldn’t start. (corroded battery cables.) Messed with cables until truck started. Fresh Market run. Park truck just right so it wouldn’t roll. (It’s a manual and the parking break needs to be fixed) I stayed out. Kept baby happy. Truck wouldn’t start again. Home Depot run. Kept truck running. I stayed out with Baby. Kept Baby Happy. Husband forgot wallet so he came out to get it. Couldn’t find it so he used my card. Back to Fresh Market to look for wallet. Park crooked against curb so truck doesn’t roll. Found wallet on the dash. Laugh it off. Order takeout over the phone while baby is starting to cry. Baby is now screaming. Stop in at auto store for another errand. Leave truck running. Give up trying to comfort/bounce baby to sleep. Get baby out. Still screaming. Try to feed her. Still screaming. Bounce her and the truck starts rolling. Put my foot on the brake. Husband comes back out and walks around with her. She stops crying. Put her back in car seat. Heartbreak as she immediately starts crying again. Bounce baby to sleep in the way to pick up takeout. Feel like a horrible mother that I couldn’t cuddle her to sleep instead of her crying herself to exhaustion. Pick up takeout and head home. Realize we forgot to get gas and almost run out. Make it to gas station and wait for an available pump. Baby wakes up disoriented and basically bursts into tears when she sees me, possibly remembering her previous feelings of abandonment. Get her out of car seat. Comfort baby. Husband pumps gas. Park elsewhere. Feed baby while husband eats takeout. Burp Baby and put her back in car seat. She doesn’t cry the rest of the way. Get home. It’s 7:30 (I left the house at 3) I eat my takeout. Give Baby a bath while Husband showers. Watch Dancing With the Stars All Access and enjoy happy baby.
Halfway through the show, I tried to feed Alex when she acted hungry, and she got SO upset. Then commenced a screaming session that lasted what felt like hours. Her mom and dad may have both cried. I have not seen her so in pain since she was a few weeks old. I was so helpless. It felt like knife in my chest, holding her wriggling body, wiping her hot tears, and looking into those searching eyes as she screamed until she was hoarse.
I have no idea what was wrong. Either she had a sore throat or earache from getting chilled over the weekend, she reacted to something I ate or drank, or she had teething pain. She has been drooling extra much and chewing on and sucking on her fists even when she’s not hungry. Either way, I felt like I was dying inside.
Eventually, I got her calmed down enough to eat. She would eat, then cry, eat then cry, and eventually she slept. I put her down for the night, and we went to bed as well. It was a long night for me because she was awake more than usual, and I kept her in bed with us more to comfort her. (and possibly myself after that ordeal. heh. ) It’s hard for me to sleep with her in our bed because I’m scared one of us will smother her. Eventually, I would wake enough to put her back in her cradle. Baby and I slept in, and she’s pretty much back to normal. I was never so happy to see smiles and hear coos. I have kissed and held her extra much today.
So yeah, you could say it’s been rough, and life is super crazy right now in more ways than one. I know we will get through it though, and God is taking care of us. I don’t want to miss these moments with my daughter, because even if it’s so hard sometimes, she brings so much joy. I love her so much it hurts.
I’m ending this long Mama saga now.
© Brenda Kanagy