Lessons From a Kidney Stone

Lightbox business consultant lessons from a kidney stone


This is a different sort of blog post for me.  

It's not about making your business more efficient or streamlining your systems.

And even though I’m writing this on my phone from a hospital bed at Bozeman Deaconess, it's not even about multitasking.


I'm not writing because of my obligation to my blog schedule, although I will write about how this experience has changed that obligation.

Mostly I'm writing because I want to capture these moments and feelings before I’m discharged.  It's more of a journal that I want to share with you and remember for myself.

See, once I'm back at home, I'll be faced with the visual “needs to be done” list that shows up when you arrive home from a trip, or when you’ve left in a hurry. 

For me, it's the latter.  And although I've only been across town for the past couple of days, I feel like I've been on a trip.

That trip started around 5:30 am on Tuesday when I woke up to some intense pain in my back.

I know it came on suddenly because I had woken up an hour prior, which is not uncommon for me.  I'm 23 weeks pregnant.  Pregnant people have to pee a lot.  I felt totally fine and normal.


Now, I’ve had back pain throughout my pregnancy, usually on days when I spend too long on my feet or otherwise overdo it physically.

But this was different. It didn’t feel like muscles or bones. It felt higher on my back, and it felt dull and aching and serious like it was coming from an organ. 

My kidneys. 

I got up again to use the restroom and nausea hit me. 

My husband, Sten, asked if I was ok. He was getting dressed to go for an early morning ski with our Catahoula, Garth. I told him I didn’t feel well at all but I’d try to sleep it off. 

He left to ski and I laid down, phone in hand, to try and play internet doctor to see what was wrong with me. 

The pain worsened and led to nausea. I ate half a cracker and drank some water, but nausea won. Vomiting, cold sweats, and waves of stabbing and aching pain kept me moving from the bed to the bathroom to walking slow laps through the house. 

Until then, I had planned to at least attempt a natural childbirth. But the pain I was in was so intense, I would have done anything to stop it.   I would have signed up for an epidural at that moment if I could have.

Two hours later, Sten arrived home and took me to the emergency room. 

Two hours after that, I was on an IV, and five hours after that IV, I finally had my pain under control. 

At that time, I still had no diagnosis, but I was no longer in pain. I would have been happy there, except with no answer as to what caused the pain, we could only assume it would come back. And that scared me. 

My labs had been normal, with no blood in my urine, and an ultrasound of my kidneys showed no stones or infection, only mild swelling. After a consult with a urologist, it was decided that I would stay overnight, operating under the assumption that I had a kidney stone that didn’t show up on the ultrasound. If no stone had passed by the morning, I’d undergo a search and retrieve procedure to find the blockage, whether it be from a stone or an anatomical issue caused by my uterus or the baby. 

Sten left to take care of the dogs and grab overnight things from home as I settled in for the night. 


Lightbox small business consultant Bozeman shopify expert

This was my first hospital stay ever. I wasn’t even born in a hospital. But they were taking good care of me and were so nice to me even when I was in so much pain I couldn’t even roll over to face them when they spoke to me. Once the pain had passed, I found myself feeling so grateful to the nurses who took my care personally. 

It ended up being a kidney stone that had thrown that huge and painful wrench in my Tuesday, and luckily it passed that evening without intervention. 

I’ve been in the hospital now for 22 hours without pain, and it’s given me some much-needed time to reflect. 

The ten hours of excruciating pain were simultaneously a blur and the 600 slowest minutes of my life. 

Those dragging seconds put you in a place you don't go to otherwise.

It’s not pleasant, but you’re 100% present.

There is nothing else on your mind other than your current physical condition.

You couldn't think of anything else if you tried. 

And I tried.

And there’s nothing like 10 hours of slow mindfulness, no matter how excruciating, to bring you so far away from your current “stressors” that you actually are able to see the forest for the trees. 


Click here to download a free 21-day gratitude journal and join me in forming a habit of practicing gratitude.


Waking up today, pain-free, makes me feel so grateful for so many things.  For my health.  For my husband.  For the kind and gentle nurses who took such good care of me.

I am grateful to be able to sit and type on my phone and feel physically fine while doing it.

We don’t normally appreciate these things, yet they are the basic building blocks of our existence.

Without it, we have nothing else. 


My husband was right by my side the whole time, holding my sweaty hair as I vomited and holding my hand as I got pricked with yet another needle.

He never once complained about spending 24 hours in the hospital, leaving only to play single-dog dad to Garth and Sofia before coming back to sleep on a pull-out chair beside my hospital bed. 


Bozeman Business Consultant 21 Days of Gratitude Journal 

These are the things that matter. 

And I think I lost sight of it along the way.


I believe that sometimes our best-laid plans are halted by a higher power to force us to stop and take stock of what we have. To pause and rest. Or to force patience. 

I'm not a patient person.  I thrive on the fast track and I hate delays and inefficiency. 


I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks, which meant I had 35 weeks to get two businesses and a house in order.

And with every week that passes, the clock has ticked louder, reminding me that soon, everything will change.

I have so much to do before then. 

My to-do list grows as my due date approaches.  


And soon, everything will indeed change. 

And this baby girl will show up whether I'm ready or not.

Whether I've met my sales goals or not.

Whether I have 2-3 months of blog posts scheduled or not.

Whether the nursery is ready or not. 

Whether we have a name or not.


So I've been hustling to get everything done, laser-focused on what's next and always wanting more. 

And that's where I lost it. 

That's where I forgot to stop and appreciate the good. 

That's where I forgot how much I have to be grateful for. 

And since, despite my husband’s gentle suggestions, I was unable to stop pushing forward and just be content with the right-now, my body threw in a massive and painful kidney stone to sit me on my ass and make me look at how much I have, and how lucky I am.  

Because really, when I look back at this time in my life, what’s going to make me feel more warm and grateful?

Knowing that I had a solid business or two because I hit my sales goals and never missed a blog post, or remembering the precious moments I had with my husband, eating water crackers in a hospital room, talking about what we want to name our baby girl? 

I’m confident it’s the latter, and I hope I don’t have to land myself in the hospital again to force my eye back on the real prize. 



I'm embarking on a 21-day gratitude challenge to form a habit of practicing gratitude.  I invite you to join me!  Click here to download a free printable.

Each day, write down one thing you're grateful for.  Keep this list somewhere you'll see it every day, and you'll never be far away from the reminders you need.


Bozeman Business Consultant 21 Days of Gratitude Journal

1 comment

  • Love this account of your ordeal, and the lesson that came from it… and, wow, I’m impressed! Blogging from the hospital bed… that takes some dedication :)

    Wishing you some time to disconnect, unplug and eat lots of casseroles surrounded by love for a while… I’ll see you soon!


    Hannah Bratterud

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