Travel, Throw up, and Just. Plain. Miserable.

I’m going to be honest, friends. It’s been a rough 24 hours for the Bergey family. If you have a sensitive stomach, or you’re offended by bodily functions being discussed, you might want to skip this post……

After 4 back-to-back missions conferences in different states, we started our trek west on Monday. We planned a whole week for this trip, knowing that with pulling the trailer and eight children it would take us longer than most to go from Florida to Arizona. Plus we wanted to break up the trip for the little ones. (Which we did on Wednesday, with a whole family day in San Antonio!)

Thursday morning, I was making breakfast when I started to feel queasy. When my coffee didn’t taste good and I didn’t want any of the bacon I was frying up, I knew something was wrong. I mean, bacon and coffee, ya’ll.

We loaded up the van and hooked up the trailer, all the while I was  starting to feel worse and worse. Just as we were  pulling out of the campground, I found an intense need to run (and I do mean run) for the bathroom. 

I won’t go into more details but it weren’t pretty. 

I texted Brent (who was sitting in the loaded van, blocking the road) from the toilet, “I’m so sorry.”

It might be noteworthy to point out that this part of the drive west is like driving through an old John Wayne western movie. Only the miles and miles (and stinking miles) of open country is considerably less enjoyable when you’re moaning and groaning and BEGGING your husband to “Find a rest stop NOW!” 

The best part are the threatening signs at each rest stop, “Next Rest Area, 100 miles”. In other words, get the puke out now or you’re going to be doing it in the van for the next 100 miles. 

Brent and the children were all like, “Oh, look at that mountain! Check out the cave! Isn’t the landscaping gorgeous?” And I’m all rocking and moaning and begging somebody to put me out of my misery. 

(Now might be a good time to point out that Titus was also getting sick, although thankfully he only had the explosive-diaper-every-30-minutes end of it.)

I figured it wouldn’t be any worse to be sick in the trailer than in the van (still a small space, although maybe throwing up in our toilet would have been slightly better than the ziplock bag I dug up to use) so we kept plugging along with the trip.

Until about 5 pm, when literally at the exact same moment three boys started moaning in the back.

I looked at Brent, and he looked at me, and we just smiled. Here we go.

We’re still out in the middle of NOWHERE so Brent starts looking for the nearest campground. It’s quite a ways away. In the meantime, the moaning from the back of the van increases and I’m digging under every row, looking for more bags for the vomit I know is coming soon.


We start searching for a gas station and find one just in time for Nathaniel to run in with Brent. At this point, it’s pouring down rain, cold and windy, and half the van is moaning with stomach cramps and the other half hasn’t had dinner. 

I hobble my weak, dehydrated self into the gas station and ask the Hispanic lady at the counter if I could have a couple of plastic bags. She looks at me like I’m crazy. I say, “Um, my boys are sick in the car.” She still just looks at me. I mimic the motion of throw-up to her, adding a few sound effects for good measure. “OH” she finally responds and hands me two bags. 

This is no time for bag rationing, lady. 

I politely ask for more bags and she grudgingly passes me two more.

I head back to the van, just as Nathaniel arrives. He opens the van door and instantly begins to vomit.

There goes the first bag. 

I clean him up, change Titus again, pass out bags and baby wipes to Noah and Ethan, and get back in the van.

The moaning continues while I sip on my Sprite and think, “This is the life.”

Brent finds a campground an hour away, and we head there.

Nathaniel uses up his next bag quite quickly and now we’re down to three. I see a hole in the bottom of one of them so I double up Ethan’s bag and show him how to hold it when the vomit comes.

Brent pays for the campground and begins hooking up the water, electric, etc…I climb out of the van and offer my help, but he takes one look at my bent over self and sends me back to the van to rest. 

Right before I open the van door, I hear screaming.

I open the door in time to see Ethan heaving and vomiting all over himself, the van, and his carseat. 

The two bags remain unopened and unused in his lap.

I pull him out of the van and try to calm him down as the vomit drips off his clothes. Johanna changes Titus again while we wait outside in the rain and cold for Brent to finish opening the trailer up.

Finally, I crawl into the trailer, gingerly remove all of Ethan’s clothes and lay him down to rest. I find a tupperware container and put it next to his head, just in time to catch his next round of vomit. I wash the container clean and replace it just in time to do it again. 

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The rest of the children come into the trailer and Nathaniel and Noah head straight to bed. I cover them up and find containers for them. I give them strict instructions to either get out of bed or use the container. 

Not five minutes later, as I’m picking up Ethan’s disgusting clothing and trying to figure out when I’m going to have a chance to wash them, Noah screams for me.

I run into the room, help him stand up, but it’s too late. He projectile vomits ALL OVER THE ROOM. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s as if his stomach exploded. The rest of the family is gagging and trying to breathe because the smell.

The smell, ya’ll. It’s getting intense.

I get down on my hands and knees and start cleaning up the vomit.

At this point, I’m just thinking, “REALLY?” I would cry, but I feel too dehydrated to make tears.

Instead, I change Noah’s clothes, change MY clothes, change Titus again, get Noah back to bed and sit down to rest. Brent gets dinner for the children who have an appetite, and starts working on getting them to bed.

Nathaniel calls for me. He doesn’t make it off his bed, but he at least makes it into the container. I love on him, clean out his container, and replace it next to him.

All I can think about is how badly I want to lay down in my bed. 

I had done laundry the night before at a laundromat, but ran out of time to fold it, so we just dumped the humongous mound on our bed. The last thing I want to do is fold laundry! Brent grabs it all and shoves it into baskets and out of the way until morning. I thank him profusely.

I clean up 2 more vomit messes. Brent sends me to bed with Titus and sets up shop in the living room with the boys. 

More vomit. More diarrhea. More intense smells filling the trailer. 

I nurse Titus to sleep and finally lay down for a few minutes.

For the next 2 hours, Brent and I take turns getting up with sick children. I’m trying to do the brunt of it in hopes he won’t get sick, but by this point, my head hurts so bad and I’m dehydrated (but don’t want to drink because I don’t want anything in my stomach!), so I share the vomit with him.

Noah throws up all night long. 


Nathaniel gets tired of climbing in and out of his bed, so he camps out on the floor.


By morning, the boys are starting to feel a little better and can keep some water down. I’m able to eat a little breakfast. We get all of the laundry folded and put away, and start closing up the trailer.

Then Johanna starts to feel badly.




We’re back on the road again, trying to make it to Tucson by evening.

So far, Johanna is the only one really sick today. I’m not holding my breath, though. 

It’s days like this that help us appreciate the normal Mommy days. 🙂



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