05 July 2011

Fourth of July weekend--not so festive after all.

This was one of those long weekends that I'll have etched in my memory for a long time to come. And definitely not for the joy of a day off from work, or summery days spent at a Maine beach.  Nope, this long weekend will be remembered to me as the one where I had my first official 'new mom' meltdown.  You know, that all-consuming frustration and feeling of desperation of not knowing what to do, what's being done wrong, how to fix it, etc.  I guess maybe I should feel lucky that it took 14 months for this to happen.  It made me realize how vulnerable I am, even at 34 years old, and how sometimes all I want is my own mother to fix it and make it all go away.  And most importantly, how the slightest hint of suffering by our child is enough to make me want to crumble into a puddle of emotion, when instead I forge ahead, needing to be strong for all of us.

So it's been a trying couple of weeks, plagued by ear infections, pink eye (me, not him), intensive allergic reaction to antibiotics (again me, not him) and then the ultimate came on Friday afternoon. I went to pick up G early from daycare with the hope of bringing him back to the office to get a little, as my supervisor says, "goo goo time".  I had gotten a text from daycare that he was a little off but that maybe it was those darn teeth again. Not the case.  He was burning up when I went to retrieve from dc.  Off to the doc we went.  This time, we saw Dr. W, the one male pediatrician of the practice who I've seen before and like.   Temperature was taken.  103.5.   Then he needed to check G's ears, but had to remove some obtrusive wax that was in the way--out came this horrifyingly long, pointy tool, that I thought, surely there is NO way you are sticking that into my son's fragile little ear drum.  I was wrong. I actually had to hold G's arms down, while he screamed, and the doc picked away at whatever it was he was trying to get at.  By the end, G and I were both crying.  I can't really describe in words how traumatic this was, for both of us.  The conclusion?  A virus.  Which of course meant no antibiotic.  Instead, we alternated between baby tylenol and baby ibuprofen. 

Friday afternoon. Snuggling with Mrs. Bear
Saturday, G and I spent the day in a recliner. He slept on and off most of the day.  He was not interested in playing, only slightly interested in eating.  He just wanted to be held.  In the afternoon, he had woken up from his nap, and he just was so out of sorts.  I put another call into the doc.  I know, I've now become *that* mom, but what can I say? His eye was now starting to get goopy.  Another prescription.  It was the only time we left the house in three days.  The doc assured me though that with his temperature, especially in something viral, it WILL last a couple days, and it WILL always get worse as the evening goes on.  

It was sometime during that late afternoon early evening, when he was hot,  groggy and so not his usual self, that I just seemed to lose it.  I was feeling so frustrated that there was literally nothing I could do but hold him in order to appease him.  I was also feeling so down and out about my intensely itchy skin, wondering when it would ever get back to normal. Will I ever wear short sleeves again? It's one thing to deal with a sick child when you're at your 100% best...it's another when you have to put all your discomfort aside, mind over matter, and deal with what is most important at hand--this little being, with his glassy eyes and rose-tinged cheeks, holding his arms up to be held, and then once held, collapses his head against you, seeking some sort of cool relief.  Heartbreaking.

That night, G would not settle into sleep.  I could almost picture the revolving door that was his room as I was bounding out of bed, across the hall, holding him, putting him back. Finally, at midnight, I decided what he needed most was to just be near me.  I made a make-shift bed on his floor, using a clean cool sheet, brought my pillow in, and settled him in next to me.  I made sure he had his favorite giraffe, his favorite knitted blankey per Grammie, and we cuddled into each other, me rubbing his back in slow deliberate circles.  He relaxed. At one point, seeing me through the hazy glow of his nightlight, he giggled at me, as if to say, Mama, what ARE we doing down here?  I woke up at 3:30am, to find him cuddled into his blankey, seemingly cooler to the touch, and gently put him back in his crib, while I attempted a couple more hours of sleep back in bed.  The morning came too quickly.

Sunday.  We woke up, had our usual cheerios and milk appetizer, and played a bit before breakfast.  At 9:30, he was ready to go back down for a nap, and frankly, so was I.  My eyes felt like they were being weighed down with sandbags, and let me tell you, they didn't look too pleasant either.  Are those what bags look like? Ugh.  At 12:15, I went to go check on him.  Fast asleep.  There was no waking this kid up.  At 2:35, I thought, uh oh...we could be in for quite a long night.  I felt like I needed to get him something to eat or at least drink---my fear being that he would get dehydrated, and then we'd have a whole new mess of problems on our hands.  I know, never wake a sleeping baby, but after five hours of napping, I figured, I'd get some food in him, and then put him back to bed if that's what he wanted.  He ended up staying up til about 6:15 and back to bed he went. Not before a little cuddle time with daddy, however.  He woke up sometime in the middle of the night, wide awake, wanting to play.  I thought I could simply recreate what I had done the night before with my little bed sheet and snuggle him to me. Nope, he wanted to play.  He wanted to explore his room.  Not what I had in mind.  I finally got him back to bed. We slept until 8:30.  Thank GOD it was a long weekend.  

Snuggling with Mrs. Bear and Bumpkins the Tiger
Monday, the fourth of July, a day traditionally for bar-b-q's, friends, family, and fireworks, was not quite spent like that for me and Boo.  Instead, while it appeared that the fever was on it's way out, someone was still very needy, very much wanting to be held by mama, and had no interest in playing. So we spent the day, literally, in the recliner.  Now about this recliner.  Terry just bought this thing a week ago and already it's become the best piece of furniture we own right now.  It rocks, it leans back, it stretches out.  In a word, it's Divine.  And that is where G and I stayed.  Him nestled against me, bringing me back to those early weeks of infanthood with him, when he wasn't so busy like he is now.  Around 3:30, we woke up from our nap together, and I was drenched from where his head was.  Could it be?  Had this dang fever finally broken?  Up popped his little cherubic face, giving me that gap-toothed grin, and I think I let out the biggest sigh of relief. My baby was back.  His hair was wet and matted to the side of his face, but he was cool. And chatty.  Finally.  He ate a good dinner, enjoyed a playful bath, and back to bed for the night he went. (Note of interest---do not give baby cool bath when dealing with a fever.  Doc says it just ends up aggravating them. Good to know.) 
Napping with Bumpkins, gripping of course, his tail.
 Today.  We both managed to sleep the entire night--a first for both of us in several days.  While my eyes still felt like they were being dragged down by sandbag weights, I was relieved that we had both caught up on some much needed rest.  Dressed and off we went to dc...until we get there and I notice, why does he have all these red bumps on the side of his face?  Why does he have them on his belly? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO US?????  At 8am, I promptly call the doc, (this number is ingrained in my memory's speed dial), and manage to get in an appointment for 9:15am.  Off we go, and as we're sitting in the waiting room, I'm noticing that he does seem more like himself---he's waving to other babies, he's interested in exploring. Good sign.  In the doc office, Dr. H, again, not our regular pediatrician, but my next favorite doc, assures me that the spots are actually a GOOD sign. Huh?  It means that whatever nasty virus he had is finally gone, and the spots are his body's way of letting me know, just like how I knew when his fever broke. Thank goodness.  However, we weren't done yet.  She checked his ears.  Guess what.  Ear infection back.  And in his diaper area? A yeast infection. Terrific.  Most likely because whatever took over his body this weekend, really exacerbated everything else that could go wrong.  Two more prescriptions to pick up at the Target pharmacy.  Those ladies know us by now.  

We're waiting for the 'scripts to be filled, and G is chatting away, giving sideways glances to the girl behind the counter. Waving, smiling, making his usual strange noises. I know it'll still be 24-48 hours before he'll be completely back to himself, but it was just as gratifying to catch a glimpse of it after having not seen anything resembling himself this past weekend.  Someone wise pointed out to me that this is just one little hill in the many bumps of parenthood that we will no doubt experience.  And while I believe that to be true, it didn't make this one any easier to deal with when you can't see the light at the end of what appears to be a very dark and lonely tunnel.  I'm just happy to have our boy back to his happy self, and look forward to this weekend where we may actually leave the house to enjoy this fresh, summery Maine air.  As for me? I'm wearing short sleeves today.

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