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Guts, and how I hated mine

One minute, I was watching the American Idol results show, the next I was watching everything I’ve eaten since Christmas Eve 1986 exit my body. My illness was sudden and startling.

I weakly announced I was going to bed. Everyone in the family agreed it was where I belonged. My leg bones ached, my abdomen clenched, my head did both. Every pore in my body wailed and I thought of her:


The chills arrived just in time for me to realize there was no way I’d be able to nurse Archie in that condition.

Evil Formula Company and their Evil Black Free and Loaded With All Things to Undermine the Purity and Sanctity of Breastfeeding Diaper Bag of Doom saved the day. I snipped open the plastic tag which held the zipper shut and found enough formula powder for 4-4oz. bottles. Boy, I was glad I wasn’t snooty and principled when the elderly hospital volunteer lady delivered it to my room the day Archie was born. I took the formula packets to my husband, croaking feed him. I slouched back to my bed and its covers to shiver through disturbing nightmares.

I felt like my abdomen housed a Volkswagon.

After three hours, I got out of bed and lurched downstairs to get a cup of ice. My husband was rocking in the recliner with Archie, who had just sucked down a bottle of Enfamil.

Archie looked serenely happy and content, more than he had been all day. Imagine a rosy-cheeked 6 week old, wide-eyed and cooing at a host of invisible angels. He had been fussy when I was on duty all day. In retrospect I feel it was because my body knew what was going to happen at 7:50pm MST. It was hoarding food and fluids. My milk supply seemed weak. He had been hungrier than I realized.

The Volkswagon slammed into reverse and backed over my heart.

Around 4:00am, I woke when I realized the Volkswagon had split in two, a la Herbie, and parked in my chest. The steering wheel was on the right side.

I mustered enough strength to nudge my husband into retrieving Archie for a quick feed. I wanted to make sure he got any antibodies my body was making. He nursed, but wasn’t exactly eager. Formula fills, and his tummy wasn’t in the market for me yet.

The happy news is that the illness vanished as quickly as it appeared. I have been trying to nurse as much as possible to reclaim anything my supply lost during those 19.5 hours.

The bad news is that my husband, Ryley, Sam, Joel, Beatrix, and Archie have hosted their own battles this week against the nasty virus. Archie was awake all night with a gurgly tummy and thick spit-up. Tommy and Aidan haven’t succumbed and I hope they won’t.

I hope you won’t, either.

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