Monday, June 8, 2015

Being an Autoimmune Mama: Stronger than I thought

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Recently, my husband and I took our first trip with baby to Florida.  It was lots of work to prepare to get away and it took lots of convincing to get me to agree to fly with an infant, but I am glad that we did it.  Overall it was a great trip, but there was one adventure that I just had to share. 

It took me a day to get settled and feel comfortable.  We had gotten the baby into a new routine and now I was ready to relax.  I decided to take my very first bath since the little one was born. I had picked out an actual grown up book; I couldn’t wait to read while she napped quietly.  (This is a real luxury when you have a baby as I’ve quickly learned).  Just as I was beginning to feel like I was on vacation…the fire alarm started going off in our hotel. A false alarm? Not with my luck. A loudspeaker quickly blared that we must evacuate the building.  And where was I?  I was sitting in the bathtub in a room on the 12th floor.  My husband? He was downstairs on the beach.

So I found myself naked and alone with my precious daughter, hearing over a loud speaker that there was a fire.   A dream vacation memory in the making if there ever was one.  I didn’t have time to think. The adrenalin started pumping and I rushed into action.  My baby!  A fire! At first I almost ran out of the room without my clothes. I took a deep breath, threw some clothes on and put the baby in the stroller.

As soon as I got out the room, I started screaming in the hallway that I had a baby and needed help evacuating. There was nobody to be found. Everyone must have been at the beach for the day.  I headed toward the fire exit and started a twelve floor race down the steps, carrying my daughter in her stroller.  (I’m not sure if any of you have lifted a stroller recently, but they aren’t light).

I thought about carrying her down in my arms, but that didn’t seem like the safest option.  The stairway steps were concrete and I wanted my baby protected in something in case we encountered a fire.  I kept thinking over and over, “I must save my baby,” as I ran down the stairs, carrying probably over 35 pounds of baby and stroller. Any thoughts I had of stopping were erased when I smelled smoke in the stairwell. My heart raced faster and my legs took on a life of their own. I was glad for me pre-pregnancy attempts at a stairmaster.

It seemed like the run down the stairs was never-ending. Those fire safety messages from grade school ran through my head, but I wasn’t sure how they were going to help me in a stairwell. As I was nearing the bottom, a nice woman and her middle school aged son helped me to carry the stroller the frame the rest of the way.   When I made it through the fire exit onto the street, all I could feel was utter relief. 

Any thoughts if my sprint had been worth it disappeared when I saw two large fire engines and police vehicles camped in front of the hotel building.

I searched the crowd and saw my husband in the distance and screamed for him. He was petrified of course and had sent someone from the hotel to go and help us get down.

And you’ll never guess the cause of this whole hulabaloo, it was a dryer that had caught on fire.  It was classified as a minor incident according to the police and fire officials.  But it was a fire. For me personally, however, it was major event.

Who would have thought that I would actually have the strength to do something like that?  On a good day lifting 10 pounds can exhaust me.

It gave me the confidence to know that as a person with autoimmune disease, I am up for the major challenges of parenthood.  While I might have to do things differently and creatively, when it comes down to it, I will jump through hoops to protect my daughter.  I also learned adrenalin is some pretty powerful stuff.