My big brother Damon got married over the weekend...in Oregon.
After much hemming and hawing and waiting for baby birthing and a clear bill of health, Brent and I decided that I would go with Everett for 2 nights - whirlwind trip. Of course we would be leaving during the week of an awful cold times 3. I took Everett to the pediatrician before leaving just to make sure that, 1. it was safe for him to fly - no ear infection or chest congestion, and 2. he was no longer contagious. (oh yeah, I flew my neurotic parent flag super high last week).
David had started with the same cold, but after not running fever and seeming to be on the mend for 2 days, I thought he was on an upswing...until Thursday night.
We drove to Houston (about 2.5 hours) so that E and I could fly out on Friday morning...it was a very long trip with a super whiny Mary Louise in the back - but we made it fine nonetheless. We got out, settled into our room and stretched our legs for a minute before going out for a first world forage for dinner (read as - we crossed the 8 lane Houston street to get some Tex Mex). Big mistake.
The restaurant was loud and Mary Louise and David were beside themselves with the extra stimulation. They sat us in a HUGE circular booth which, in theory sounds nice, but when you can't reach your monkey kiddos who are attempting to (literally) climb the walls and play their own version of Dance Dance Revolution, the extra room only fuels frustration. We ordered...to go, and I left with Everett strapped to my front and a wild Mary Louise over my shoulder.
Once back at the room, we ate and tried to wind down to rest. It was not to be...
David's fever spiked again during the night and sometime around 2am, Mary Louise woke with a cough, runny nose, and a fever as well. Brent and I got about 3 hours of actual sleep before our 5am alarm.
I was dropped at the airport not long afterward with a wide eyed Everett on my front, 2 bags meticulously packed, nerves bundled, and tears streaming. (I've never left my big kids but for my stay in the hospital with Everett- and leaving them sick was a little more than I could handle). Brent assured me he would call the pedi and get them in that afternoon.
I made my way to check in and through security. You don't honestly think I got through unscathed do you? I had to unpack my whole back pack and send each piece through individually. The electric breast pump and camera set off an alarm...I'd forgotten my hidden back up battery pack in the pump bag and apparently, it looked like I was carrying a full clip of bullets. It's ok to laugh. I used up 3 or 4 bomb residue testing strips and had a long chat with the security officer and was off. Thankfully, I'm all too familiar with Murphy's Law so I'd insisted on being at the airport a full 2 hours early in anticipation of delays.
Even though it was a pain, the officers and airport personnel were very very nice to us and respectful of our belongings. They even helped me to repack once everything had been cleared.
I made it to our terminal and a little while later, Uncles Collin and Sean met me there - we all had the same flight from Houston to Portland.
I requested to sit next to one of them but was informed that the flight was very full and it would be "impossible" to change seats. Collin still asked the lady next to me if she would mind switching...who wants to sit next to a breast feeding woman with a newborn in tow??? Who indeed. This woman did.
She flatly said, "no." to Collin's question and snuggled in next to me - she didn't want the dividing arm rest down or anything! - enter random pairing with domineering mother type elderly lady number 445 in my life. For just over 4 hours I got advice on parenting, breastfeeding, and her beliefs on co sleeping (don't do it) as well as stories about all 3 of her grandchildren, television preferences and tid bits of over the top headlines concerning flying (don't sit by the window because the air circulates there- as if in rubbing elbows in the seat next to me, she is somehow breathing something different). She asked me how nursing was going by leaning over and checking things out for herself, she offered to help me change E's diaper (I somehow changed it on my lap) and then asked me numerous times to hold him while trying to send me to the bathroom. By the end of the flight, I was her unofficially adopted daughter and she even stopped and told Collin to make sure to take care of us (Everett and I) during our trip.
But, we made it...and met up with Kyle, got the rented car seat in place and were off. Everett did extremely well - sleeping most of the flight, nursing really well during take off and landing and only fussing a little before pooping which is when I did the whole lap change thing (and thanked my lucky stars for minimal smelling breast milk poop) and by the way - Oregon. is. amazing.
I called Brent from Collin's phone as I'd left mine in the trunk...that's where some serious confusion began...
He was at the pediatrician's office with Mary Louise and David. David had a double ear infection - one ear infected, the other just starting to look pink. Antibiotics were to be started. 1 down. Straight forward enough. I would have to cancel his surgery an reschedule for a later date (it was supposed to be yesterday - now it's the first week of September).
Then he told me Mary Louise was having trouble breathing. He'd already given one treatment before going to the office and she was "breathing very quick and shallow". (Keep in mind that this child showed no obvious signs of illness until 2 or 3 that morning and already she was having air exchange issues?!) He had to go because the doctor was coming back in but would call back as he knew more...
Really? I lost it for a minute and tried to compose myself. The phone rang.
Our regular pedi was out and he got an appointment with the one that was available. Enter "Blanket diagnosis doctor" who I would very much like to punch in the throat...with words of course. The doctor told Brent that she had "seen alot of cases of Mono lately" and she felt "sure that Mary Louise had Mono".
No, I'm not kidding. I asked lots of questions: what are her oxygen saturation numbers? (no one knew), what was her color? (Brent said she looked sick - I don't know - and had thrown up 3 times) Were they considering hospitalization? (no one knew)
They did blood work - her white count was low meaning no bacterial infection. But the doctor was recommending she go home on antibiotics (wth?) and insisting she most likely had Mono (but didn't think David did?) A test for Mono can be done 4 days after symptoms start. Mary Louise was to come back to another branch of the office for chest xrays the next morning. She was oxygenating well enough to go home on neb treatments - the doctor didn't even feel she needed oral steroids.
We arrived at Damon's fiance's (Claire) friend's house just in time for me to have a mental breakdown in front of soon to be family that I'd not yet met. Nice Heather. Way to keep it together.
Everett was still hanging in there - sweet happy bub.
We were to go to a water fall not far from the house and then to the rehearsal dinner. The fall was beautiful:
and though exhausted, the fresh air and walk was really nice.
After a snack, we loaded up and headed to the rehearsal dinner...or attempted to head to the rehearsal dinner...Enter AWESOME Portland traffic and a 2.5 hour dead stop on an Oregon interstate...
Everett had had enough (not surprising) and so had I. The GPS announced, "2 hours and 3 minutes to your destination"...(I'm sorry, could you repeat that?)
Kyle and Sean searched for an alternate route. We were already an hour late and counting. Everett was screaming. We weren't moving. I made a rash move and took him out of his seat to try to nurse him. It worked for a few minutes before he started up again. Ear piercing screams. No consoling him. The car felt like it was closing in on us. I was nervous that we'd get pulled over for having an infant out of restraints- or somehow get blind sided by the nonexistent moving traffic. I was frustrated with the stand still. I was hungry and had traveled thousands of miles for a dinner and it was rapidly becoming clear I wouldn't attend. I'm pretty sure I flashed all 3 of my little brothers in my failed attempts to pacify the banshee among us. (sorry boys) I begged to be dropped off at the wedding venue (we were to stay on property). Everett cried all the way there.
They dropped me off, had a quick look-see and left. It was beautiful. Red Ridge Farms is the name of the venue - stunning and immaculate - rows of grapes and olives. The cottage where we stayed was one of the most peaceful places I've ever been. Effortless wild flowers and wild black berries, lavender, daisies, clover. The weeds there were things I pay money to plant and tend here.
There was a grand garden tub calling my name. The host brought a snack plate of fruits, crackers, olives, etc. and a bottle of their wine. Everett and I floated in the warmth of the water for just over half an hour, then curled up on the back porch for awhile while he settled (he pitched another fit post bath). Though I was very very sad to miss the excitement of the rehearsal dinner, I knew that leaving us behind was just the right thing to do. We fell asleep together and barely heard the others return hours later.
and because the landscape obviously needed a little something, the next morning, our view looked like this: