Saturday, January 17, 2009

Visiting Daddy

Let's me start by saying that I am glad that we made the trip. Even if it was a disastrous trip back.

The kids and I got a late start since I had been up rather late on Thursday night. As a result, when my alarm went off at 5:30am, I knew I couldn't drive on 4 hours of sleep and I went back to bed. I finally got up at 6:30am and started getting the kids into the van.

When we travel I always like to leave as early as possible (preferably before dawn) and I leave the kids in their pjs so I don't have to get them dressed. Plus, they are a lot more comfortable in their carseats when they have on jammies and can snuggle with their blankets.

We recently moved the carseats around in the van. Previously we had Matthew and Joshua in the back row, the babies in the middle row, and the girls up front. But M & J fought too much together. I decided to put J in the back with the girls and M in a row by himself with the babies up front near me. It's worked out much better and there is much less fighting, plus the girls can hold hands.

By the time we got on the road it was almost 8am. We stopped briefly for breakfast and then again for a potty break and feeding babies. I wish I had a picture of me nursing the babies. I took Nathan out of his seat and leaned him across Ryan's lap when Ryan was still buckled into his seat. Then I knelt on my knees and leaned over the seat to tandem nurse them both. It was much faster than unbuckling both babies. Score one for Mommy!

Because my father bought me a GPS for my birthday I was able to find my way quite easily. We went on a few back roads but for the most part we were on highways. Still, with the stops and my late start we didn't arrive until noon.

The kids were so excited to see Daddy! The girls were squealing with delight! We were all so happy, you'd think he'd been gone a year already.

We decided to go eat lunch at the mini mall on post. It was actually a chilly day yesterday so we bundled up the kids and loaded up the quad stroller. As soon as we stepped foot through the mall doors, I could feel all eyes upon us. Talk about uncomfortable.

We just wanted to grab lunch and spend some time together. Instead, we were stopped at least 2 dozen times. We overheard people talking (loudly) about us. We answered questions, smiled politely, and nodded our heads. We are pretty much used to the constant attention by now, but it never really becomes less awkward. People ask personal questions and sometimes say things that I'd rather the kids not hear. Matthew and Joshua are often mistaken for a third set of twins, but when they aren't Matthew will get attention by talking with complete strangers. I have to admit, it bothers me that he is so outgoing and trusting of strangers. We're working on that.

We finally managed to finish eating and we walked through the PX before stopping at Starbucks. We weren't really doing anything- just being together.

We left the mall and Jason needed to run a few errands. I started to notice that my right breast was becoming sore. I was irritated because I had just gotten over a plugged duct in my left breast earlier this week. I just can't catch a break, you know?

The rest of the afternoon was spent running around getting Jason's uniform altered and picking up items he needed for class. Then we took the kids to a playground, just across the field from the playground we took them to 2 years ago when Jason was here for some other training. I sat in the van nursing the babies and noticed that my breast was really starting to hurt.

The day passed much too quickly and soon it was time for dinner. We were trying to decide where to go when I suddenly started to feel ill. I was clammy and nauseous all at once. I knew right away that I was coming down with mastitis again. Mastitis is a breast infection for those who are fortunate enough not to know.

We left post to head into town and have dinner. While on the main highway that runs through town, we ran into a huge traffic jam. There is a construction area there, but there had been an accident so the cars were just bumper to bumper. We were at a dead standstill. We sat and sat for more than 30 minutes. I was feeling sicker and sicker and even got out of my seat and went back to nurse all 3 of the twins in an effort to get some relief. I told Jason he might have to help me get the infection sucked out. You should have seen his face. He was so not cool with that idea.

I had just started to nurse Nathan when I looked up and noticed the driver of the truck in front of us getting out of his vehicle. We were stopped on a 2 lane bridge. There were 2 lanes of oncoming traffic on the other side of the bridge. The guy must have been a plumber because when he got out half of his butt was sowing as he tried to pull up his pants. Then he proceeded to pee right next to his truck. Right there in front of everyone. So classy. (I would have used my handy dandy potty seat, personally.)

As we were sitting in the wall of traffic we heard sirens. A police car and fire truck were attempting to navigate through the parked cars. There were concrete barriers on both sides of the road so there was no place for the cars to go. It was just a big mess. Finally, they got the accident cleared away and we started moving again.

By the time we ate dinner, fed a stray cat, and stopped for a potty break, it was time for me to leave. I felt that familiar lump forming in my throat as we headed back on post. Jason's voice changed and I could tell he was having a hard time too. Shoot, I"m having a hard time even writing about it now!

We got back to the barracks where Jason is living and pulled into the parking lot. I stared out the window, trying not to cry, as he said good-bye to the kids. And then Leila started crying. "I want to go with you" she sobbed. She begged him to let her stay with him. Jason was heartbroken. I started to cry and he kissed me as I drove away.

I got Leila calmed down and pulled myself together. I called Jason so we could talk on my drive home. He wanted to keep me awake and I was starting to feel really sick so he was worried about me. I could tell I was getting a fever and it was 8pm when I finally left to head home.

Instead of taking the route that we usually take (all interstates) the GPS wanted me to go the shortest route. Jason was talking to me on the phone and telling me to turn on a certain road. Which I did. But it turns out he meant the interstate and not the state road and they both had the same number. Meanwhile the GPS is getting ticked at me, telling me to make a u-turn. To make a long story short, I ended up in the middle of nowhere. And there were no houses, no lights, and no shoulders on the sides of the winding 2 lane road. Then I lost cell coverage. And I started to have a panic attack at the thought of blowing a tire or hitting a deer by myself (with 6 kids) in the back woods with no way to call for help.

I finally got a signal on my phone again and called my mom. As I was talking to her I almost had a heart attack when a man in a black hoodie and jeans jumped out into the road as I was passing. He was frantically waving both of his arms and jumping up and down. Needless to say I did not stop. I did call 911 though. I didn't see any car around and there were no houses for miles. I don't know why he was out there but I wasn't sticking around to find out.

About 20 minutes after that lovely experience, I came across a car stopped in my lane. As I approached I could see that they were starting to move very slowly. I started to pass when I realized that it was an unmarked police car and they were shining a spotlight into the woods directly to my right. Talk about creepy! By now it was 11pm and who knows what they were looking for out there. I couldn't get home fast enough.

I can summarize the last hour of my trip by saying this: I did not think I would make it home. I was sure I was either going to a) fall asleep, b) die from my fever, or c) lose my mind and get lost. Fortunately none of those things happened and we got home around midnight. I could barely walk but I managed to carry the kids inside and put them to bed before finally collapsing. When I took my temperature it was 103.1 and my breast felt like it was on fire.

I spent most of yesterday drifting in and out, between sleep and semi-sleep. My mom came at 3 am. She and my grandma drove 12 hours to get here and they watched the kids all day yesterday so I could recover. My fever finally broke and I'm feeling better now. My breast is still extremely sore and I have a bright, red rash that covers about 1/3 of it. This is definitely the nastiest infection I've had yet. It probably warrants antibiotics but I'm giving it until Monday to clear out.

So, all things considered, it was a good trip! The trip home was not the greatest and I could have done without the creepy guy, the deserted back roads, and the raging infection in my poor booby, but I'd do it all again just to see Jason.

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