Anxiety Episode #10: I’m by myself with the three kids when one of them gets terribly hurt and we need to somehow get ourselves, unassisted, to the emergency room.

There’s nothing like having a new baby in the house to make me feel all kinds of vulnerable. Lately, I’ve been worrying that some tragedy is going to befall one or more of us and that I’ll have to call an ambulance for the first time in my life because I’m outnumbered and overwhelmed.

For the past week or so the oldest kid has complained of chest pain a handful of times. She’s had no other weird symptoms. No fever. No problem going to the bathroom. No shortness of breath. She’ll just randomly say her chest hurts. Then she’ll make a big show full of grimacing and saying she can’t walk for an hour or so and then return to normal.

I haven’t called the doctor yet because she has hours and days of being totally fine and not mentioning it. And because several times when I pressed her on it, the chest pain mysteriously jumped from the top left to the top right side, and then to the lower belly region. And also because I really suspect that what’s been going on is she’s been twist-swinging on her belly on the backyard swing at our house and at my parents’ place.

Still, it’s stressing me out when she complains about this, and I’m watching her like a hawk when she does for the first sign of some kind of serious illness or distress.

The middle child has been coughing a lot lately and randomly choking on foods and beverages. Will she be the one to need urgent care? 

She’s also been working on mastering climbing the wooden ladder on the play set in our yard. The rungs are spaced pretty far apart, so her legs have to stretch to the max to make the climb. She’s done it unassisted but with me or the hubs standing close by just in case. 

This afternoon she went out back for a time with her older sister. I stayed inside, but told her not to climb and slide without me. She said OK, and then promptly went out back to climb and slide without me. 

I watched from the kitchen window holding both the baby and my breath, willing myself to trust her and her abilities to judge for herself what she is comfortable and capable of doing on her own. 

She made it fine. I exhaled, and then raised the window and yelled to her not to do it again. There’s only so much I can take.

Should I even go there with the baby? Every time I load him into the Moby wrap I pray I don’t drop him on his head, onto the hard floor below, despite the fact he’s the third kid and by now my muscle memory has the process pretty well ingrained.

Leaving him alone on the diaper changing pad on top of the dresser? I do it. know you’re not supposed to. But, there’s a limited time during which I know he won’t be capable of rolling his chubby little bum up over the edge. I’ve got a couple weeks or so. But still. Just the thought of him tumbling off is enough to undo me. 

Or the possibility that one or both of the girls, when they’ve got ‘the wilds’ (which is how my husband and I lovingly refer to their hyperactive, sometimes sugar-induced or sleep-deprived horseplay), will carelessly trip and fall and land on the baby and squish his little itty-bitty guts out. 

Not even two weeks old and I’m already imagining and preparing for the worst for him. What a mess his mother is. What a dark, dark mess.

I mean, this is all I need, really. On top of everything else, to be painfully stressed that we are going to need emergency medical care or to be medevacked to the nearest level 1 trauma hospital.

Maybe I just need to get more sleep.


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