This is a true story. In three parts. Part 1 is sort of a preface and parts 2 and 3… well, they’re doozies. Here we go:
I have to back up to about May. We were preparing for CHA (the trade show in Chicago in July) and there was lots to do. I work from home which is GREAT, but at this time, I was working all kinds of extra hours, on the weekends, and even staying up till midnight to start working with the web guy who lives in the UK – which often meant I was working until 2 or 3 in the morning. I even pulled a few all-nighters there towards the end.
So May, June, and the days in July leading up to the trade show – busy busy busy. The hardest part was after the kids got out of school on June 7th. Until I’d taken the job in September of ’06, I’d been purely a SAHM and when the kids had vacation, we always spent a lot of time together. And now I was hardly getting to even make dinner for them let alone spend any fun time with them. But we knew this was just for a season and there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Flew to Chicago for the trade show on Wednesday, July 18th. My husband took the kids to his brother’s house to stay while I was gone and they were happy because they’d get to play with their cousins who are the same age. The trade show was busy but that was fun because it meant it was going very well.
(click here for more CHA pics)
On Saturday I did not even sit down until around 4pm! There were too many people interested in the goodies in the booth – which was fantastic!
On Sunday however, I got a call that while my daughter Holly (age eight) was swimming with her cousin, she’d gotten a hold of the chlorine floatie which my brother-in-law had taken out of the pool and set by the side. It had been sitting in the sun and the water that was left in it was becoming more and more concentrated by the chlorine tablets. You’ve seen the signs on chlorine boxes:
So when she picked it up and it spilled on her hands, she got severe chemical burns. Ron had gotten some really bad flu and they don’t want sick people near burn victims because of the high risk of infection so I had to leave the trade show floor and get the first flight back to California. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to fly home right then anyway – it was killing me that I was so far away from my baby while all this was going on. Ron picked me up from the airport and took me home just long enough so that I could get the other car, grab a couple things, and get to the hospital. And there was my poor baby with her hands all bandaged up. They decided that she should go to the Pediatric Burn Unit at Shriner’s Hospital since they were better equipped to handle this sort of injury. The next procedure would be cleaning and debridement (removal of damaged skin tissue) which is a very painful procedure. By the time we got set up to do this at Shriner’s, it was midnight. And the oral medication they had given Holly just was not enough for the pain. But they kept trying. I got frustrated and asked for an anesthesiologist. But this late at night there was no anesthesiologist (nor respiratory therapist which you need when doing serious pain medication) on call. It became obvious that she’d need an anesthesiologist, so we’d have to wait for morning. I slept on the couch next to Holly’s hospital bed utterly exhausted after having been up since 4am my time that morning and the physical and emotional drain of the day’s events.They did the procedure Monday morning. They weren’t going to let me be in the room while they did it, but I insisted. I needed to know (and see) exactly what was going on with my baby. I assured them I wouldn’t freak out or pass out or whatever, and they relented. Here’s a pic of her after the procedure:
You can see on her right arm where the stuff dripped down and gave her some minor burns.
I can’t tell you the range of emotion you go through when something like this happens. At one point, the doctors were afraid that not only had she gotten an infection, but that it had gone systemic as well. Scary stuff. Thankfully though, they ruled that out later and just a normal treatment of antibiotics would do the trick. We were also concerned about the long term affects of this. Would she lose any fingers? Or lose any range of movement from badly burned/tightened skin? And well… would it just look ugly? (think of her wedding day when it’s time to put the ring on her finger and she has a badly scarred left hand to put out there). After the procedure, they ruled out most of it and we were probably just looking at scaring. Time would tell.
While all of this was very difficult, there was something sweet about the time Holly and I spent together in the hospital. Just me and my daughter. Getting to spend more undivided attention with each other than normal. Especially sweet after me working so hard the previous months. But back to the situation… there was now the burn wound care to worry about. This is something Holly would have to be able to tolerate as well as something I would have to be able to do once we got home. So when they changed the bandages later on Monday, Holly had to be brave and I had to watch and learn. Torture. For both of us. Burn treatment is so very very painful. We spent yet another night in the hospital and after a few more dressing changes, we both got to the point on Tuesday where they could let us go home.
It was emotional coming home. Ron hadn’t seen his daughter and Drew hadn’t seen his sister since she went into the hospital. And I hadn’t gotten to be home with my family since the Wednesday before when I’d left for Chicago. We were thankful that Holly was generally going to be ok and we’d just have to wait and see how bad the scarring was. I had to do one more dressing change before the day was over – the first one at home just me and Holly. It was so hard. She was in so much pain and was begging me to stop. In tears myself, I had to beg Holly to let me finish. “Please baby, we have to do this.” When she saw me cry she said “ok Mommy you can keep doing it”. But it was so hard, I can’t even tell you. But now that I was home, the kids knew we could spend some time together. So they asked if we could watch Star Wars together. It was so great just relaxing with the kids on the couch and getting to spend time like this for the first time in months together. It was the “exhale” moment for sure. And you know what happens in exhale moments. You finally have time to stop and think about all the things you have just been TOO BUSY to even THINK about up to that point.
About 20 minutes before the movie ended, I was thinking about this and that. And I was reminded about a part of my body that was sore that I’d noticed in the hotel room in Chicago, but was too busy to think about more than just noticing it. I was reminded again now. WHY am I sore there? (the “TMI” part of it was that it was my ‘ehem’ bosom that was sore).
And then… I should have gotten my period by now. Think, think, think. Uh, I should have gotten it two weeks ago. I’m like clockwork. Never late.
OMG, I’m pregnant. It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I knew that I was. And just couldn’t believe it. We have a ten year old son and an eight year old daughter. And we were done having kids. Had been done for a long time. Gave away all the baby stuff when Holly was three. Done done done. I had to wait until the movie was over, not wanting to interrupt the first thing the kids and I were getting to do together in so long. And when it was over I went to Ron and said, “I think I’m pregnant and I’m going to take a test” (thankfully I had one in the house). I took it knowing that I would have been surprised if it was negative. And of course, it lit up like a Christmas tree with the big fat “YES, you are pregnant” line showing up. Ron and I were stunned at the idea of having another baby. But he was really excited and happy. Which was so sweet. And was a good thing since I was more in the “freaking out” camp about this. We. Are. Going. To. Have. A. Baby.
Holly’s hands healed beautifully. We believe it was a miracle after much prayer. If you didn’t know she was burned, you would never notice anything. There is slight discoloration, but like I said, it is noticeable only if you know what you’re looking for.
I am now 29 weeks pregnant and due on March 18. We are having a girl and are thrilled about that. If you go to CHA in Anaheim in February, come by the Inque Boutique booth #3757 (I’ll be at the demo table) and see me as big as a house, lol.