Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Today I am anxious. Today my demons are winning, and I feel helpless in fighting them back down.
Can I tell you why?
Almost a week ago, my daughter ingested a screw. We went out to run a quick errand to pick up my very last paycheck before I began my full-time stay-at-home-mom work. Because she is getting older, more independent and mobile, she hates being held for long periods of time. I stood and chatted with a few of the folks there, but Addison began to get fussy because she wanted to get down. “No problem,” I thought, “there’s not much here for her to get into.” And so, I sat her down on the floor and kept an eye on her while she explored.
At this particular place, there are floor outlets that are bronze and shiny and super enticing to a curious little babe. So that is right where she headed. Unbeknownst to me, the screws that were supposed to have screwed the plate cover into the floors were loose. And guess how we figured THAT out?
I wrapped up my chat with my soon-to-be ex-coworkers and smelled the poopy diaper as I approached my daughter. It was time for us to head back home so that we could eat some lunch before we went down for our second nap.
I scooped Addi up and walked toward the bathroom so that I could change her out of her diaper before sticking her in her car seat, because no one wants to smell or sit in THAT for the 20+ minute drive home.
Not knowing she had a shiny piece of bronze in her mouth, I laid her down on the changing table. She started choking. My first thought was, “what the heck? Are you faking?” (because she does this fake cough thing for attention). But then I caught a glimpse of bronze and my heart sank.
Without giving time for thought, I picked her up, flipped her over and started beating on her back to get the screw out of her mouth.
I was too late. Her instinct was to clear this intrusion from her airway. She beat me to doing it and down her throat it went.
Do you know what kind of mom you are in a crisis? Well, I didn’t until this moment. I think I was in shock. And I froze. “What the f*** comes next?”
I rushed out of the bathroom with her and announced to the office that she swallowed a screw. Luckily, she was breathing, I knew this because she was crying. I definitely freaked her out by trying my darndest to get the screw out, and I think my panic made her panic (note to future self).
Another thing working in my favor? Someone who calmly told me to call my pediatrician and start packing my things to head to the hospital.
I never thought that in a crisis, I would need someone to (almost literally) shake me and tell me what to do. I am not this person in life. I have always handled crisis well and with a level-headed approach. But I am a totally different crisis-handler as a mother.
Once to the hospital, we got x-rays and spoke with multiple doctors and nurses before they decided we needed to go to the children’s hospital to speak with a specialist. We were told there that we needed surgery to remove the screw because of the sharp edges and the concern that comes with that. We agreed and my anxiety began to kick in.
Have you ever had your heart skip a beat? It’s not romantic like it is in the movies. At least, not for me. It is flipping painful. And a sign that I am about to have an anxiety attack.
The thought of them wheeling my 10-month-old baby away from me while she lay there confused, scared and surrounded by strangers was too much for my heart to handle. But I needed to hold it together for my child. I really felt that she didn’t need that extra stress.
They wanted to do another x-ray since it had been a few hours to confirm the location of the screw before they started the surgery. Addison hated every minute. A nurse and I had to physically pin her down (she a strong girl) to allow them to shoot the area they needed. She cried like I have never heard her cry. She was terrified. She didn’t understand why mama was pinning her down instead of holding her and consoling her like she should be. And I cried with her because every ounce of me wanted to pick her up, soothe her, run out of those damn doors and forget any of this had happened.
Once we were back in our room, the doctor came in and said, “we don’t need to do the surgery! The screw has moved down safely and now she should be able to pass it on her own.”
I was relieved. But also felt like I had a serious case of whiplash.
We were instructed with what to look out for that would serve as warning signs that we need to bring Addison back in immediately. We were also instructed to look through her poop for the screw to be sure it came out. If we hadn’t seen the screw within a week, we were to go back in and have more x-rays done to confirm it was still in there, and then decide how to proceed depending on location. We packed our things and went home.
I was emotionally drained like I never have been in my life. I spent the entire weekend pooping my brains out and not sleeping, thinking of how much worse things could have been. And I naively thought that everything would be fine after having heard the doctor say, “she should be able to pass it safely.”
Well, now here we are, less than 24 hours away from the end of the seven-day mark and we have yet to see the bronze asshole in a poopy diaper. All of those terrible thoughts I had before are creeping back up and I don’t know how to push them down.
We are down to the poopy wire of when we should get this thing out of our system with ZERO sight of it and I am un-rav-el-ing.
Is there a chance that I could have missed it in a diaper? Perhaps. Although, I feel like that’s pretty unlikely considering the links I’ve gone to to look through these dumpers. (I will spare you the brown details, but y’all, it’s gross.)
So here we are, praying and hoping for a bronze piece of horror to show up in my daughter’s diaper as our own doomsday clock ticks down.
I want you to know, I am not perfect. My social media might make it look otherwise, (although I do make a point of being truly honest with where we are) but I am not. I have days where I feel beaten down and like I can’t do anything right. I have days where I am anxious and can’t seem to shake it. I have demons I battle and sometimes those demons win.
Today is one of those days.
I am stuck in my own head and can’t stop thinking, “what if this is my last day with my daughter? What if there are complications with surgery, because no surgery is 100% free of risk?” I am stuck. And I don’t know what to do or how to move on, without knowing that my daughter is metal-free.
This mommin’ thing is hard, and the mental side of things can be even harder. Especially when your heart lives outside of your body and decides to eat a damn screw they find on the floor.