There must be something about Tuesdays.
Or this shirt, that got puked on two weeks ago, exactly, and which I will never be able to bring myself to put on Abby again. (I'm not superstitious by nature, but sometimes unfortunate coincidences freak me out, all the same.)
Most likely, it's just the season. (Yet another reason to be down on Christmas this year. Pbbbt.)
At any rate, when I heard Abby coughing from her car seat on my way to my scheduled OB appointment, the last thought on my mind was vomit. I thought that we were past that, for a long while. I did panic, for a moment, as I always do when she coughs several times and then is totally silent, gripped with a paranoia that she had somehow choked on something back there and was slowly being deprived of air, out of the line of my sight. I called her name once, twice, three times. Nothing. Finally, another cough, rather productive this time. I was too busy feeling relieved to hear a noise from Abby for it to occur to me that the sound was somewhat suspicious.
A few seconds later, however, I heard a sound that was unmistakable. That horrible gagging, belching sound. And it was pointless to be asking, but I did it anyway, loudly and in a growing panic, "Abby, did you just throw up? Abby? Abby?"
Unsurprisingly, there was no answer. And I had no idea what to do.
Since I was mere minutes from my destination, however, and Abby did not seem at all perturbed, I continued on. Then the sobbing began (mine, not hers). Intense and uncontrollable, and I when I pulled into a parking spot in the garage I was simultaneously relieved to be off the road in my crazed state, and terrified to get out of the car to view the carnage. I had gotten a quick glimpse, and confirmation of the undeniable, while at a stoplight, but I was still carefully keeping the full reality as far-removed from me as possible.
Stalling, the first thing I did was call Tom. But all that he could do was lend a sympathetic ear. Even if he got in the car right that moment, he wouldn't arrive in time to take over with Abby before my appointment. However, hearing his voice calmed and steeled me, and I hung up, took a deep breath, and opened the back door of the van.
It was bad, and it was everywhere. In the hood of the coat that I had laid over her lap, spread across her shoulder straps, on both the buckle and clasp of the harness, and deep down into the seat and back of her pants. I had to strip her of everything but her diaper, socks, and shoes, and I had no extra clothes to cover her with. (Making mental note to start keeping outfits in car for both babies, ASAP.) Like last time, she appeared more confused than anything, and was totally calm until I started to remove her shirt. I think that she didn't like the feel of the damp fabric moving across her skin, initially, and after that, she started to get cold. It was thankfully not freezing outside, but it was pretty brisk, and before I could finish getting her cleaned off (with cold wipes, no less), she had begun to visibly shiver.
Thankfully, there were plastic bags lying around the car for trash and soiled clothing, and though Abby's coat was unusable, mine had been with me, and was untouched. I wrapped her up in it, and secured her in the umbrella stroller, and the crying promptly ceased (on both our parts). Since she seemed comfortable and content, I left her be for a few minutes while I tackled the car seat. There wasn't much that I could do with it, but I removed what I could with baby wipes, marveling at my sudden ability to face puke head-on without cowering in fear or fighting back impulses to gag. Maybe it was adrenaline. Certainly, being able to stand outside in the fresh air while doing it was helpful. I could pretty easily block out the smell by exclusively mouth-breathing.
After about ten minutes, Abby and her car seat were as clean as I could get them. But then I had to decide what to do. Should I go to Pediatrics, and find out if there was some place I could drop her off to be watched over for 30 minutes or so (I was pretty sure there wasn't)? Or should I just go up to OB/GYN and try to reschedule? I couldn't imagine they'd want me bringing her in there and infecting the place, and I felt bad about asking.
I elected to head upstairs to OB and tell them that I'd have to cancel, hoping to come up with some plan for getting back home along the way. However, as I approached the line to reception, my doctor happened to be coming out into the waiting room. I wonder if I perhaps interrupted her pre-appointment coffee run or restroom break? Regardless, she greeted us excitedly, and began to chat with Abby. Then I burst into tears. Just completely lost it. I tried to explain myself as she ushered me quickly, and directly, into an exam room. She was so very gracious, and was totally cool with the whole "germ thing," though I felt pretty bad about it the whole time. Abby's aroma didn't exactly light up the room, either.
Puke smells are probably all-too-familiar to doctors of all kinds, however, and my doctor paid it no mind. In fact, she took a few minutes to clean up the spots on Abby that I had missed. Then, she did a quick check for Raspberry's heartbeat, joking that, "Well, at least this baby is doing well," and generously supplied me with more useful paper products than I could ever need, including those sheet protectors they use at hospitals when you're giving birth. Best gift ever, in that moment. They were perfect for lining the inside of the smelly, damp car seat so that I could get Abby back home in it. I was also able to score a child-sized paper gown from Pediatrics on my way out the door, so that I didn't have to put Abby in the seat in her near-naked state.
Thank you God, that this happened on my way to a doctor's office. I'll have to figure out where I can buy some more of these things for the future, and keep them in the car, too.
Since Abby nodded off on the way home, Tom carried her straight up to the crib as-is. We figured that her shower could wait until after she had a chance to get some much-needed rest.
However, she didn't sleep much, that I could tell. Though there were long periods of quiet, they were accentuated by chatter and singing. I let her be, since she was happy, Michael was sleeping, and this would probably be the only time I would have to manage the car seat without interruption, which, I must boast, I took care of all by myself. Take that, emetophobia- I'll best you yet!
After an hour or so, when Michael awoke, Tom went up to retrieve Abby and found that she had not only removed her gown, and ripped parts of it to shreds, she had removed her diaper, as well. This was actually a first for her, since I've taken great care over the years to never have her just in a diaper, to remove the temptation. I wondered what surprises might be waiting in her crib.
Tom hadn't noticed anything amiss upstairs, but then he saw her socks. They were both soaked on the bottom, and I knew it wasn't from puke. She had completely missed her shoes when she got sick. So, while Tom took Abby in the shower, I checked out her room. As I suspected, there was a very wet corner of her mattress, where she had clearly peed. I tried to curb my annoyance. After all, those sheets had to be washed regardless, but- come on! She had to go pee on them, too? It was like adding insult to injury.
In the grand scheme of things, though, a blip. A mini-blip, even, and I had to chuckle over it even as I pulled the soggy sheets from off of the mattress.
Just one of those days, right? Let's hope that this was the worst of it. Because, once again- Abby's now acting like nothing ever happened, and once again- we've just had the one incident (thus far, anyway). So please, little Michael, don't you catch it, too. It wasn't nearly so simply or easy for you, and if we have to start all over, I might really lose my mind, then.