My blog about Jack’s birth has been put on hold for a week because, well… life has intervened.
Our baby boy is sick. Not Jack, but Charlie, who woke up in the middle of the night the other night burning up with a fever. We gave him some Tylenol and basically tried to comfort him for the rest of the night, but by morning, he was getting worse. We paged the on-call doctor at our pediatrician’s office before they opened in the morning to report his 103+ fever and increasingly frequent diarrhea, asking if we could bring him in to get checked. With our pediatrician’s office overloaded with flu patients, we were told to “manage the fever” as best we could for the day, since they couldn’t see Charlie until later that afternoon.
I spent the entire day on Friday running between Charlie and the baby. By this point, Charlie was having diarrhea every 15-20 minutes and was doubled over in pain, screaming from the cramps each time. His little bottom got so raw that he wouldn’t even let me change him anymore, so I was simply undressing him and sticking him in the shower to hose him down every 20 minutes, then trying to warm him up again as his little body was racked with chills. I would try to feed Jack, burp him, change him, and then run to Charlie, shower him, change him, try to get him to eat or drink something, then run back to the baby, over and over again for what felt like an eternity, stopping only to run down to the basement to throw in our umpteenth load of laundry, which is now reaching epic proportions.
I let Jack lie in his bassinet and cry more than he’s ever cried before. I tried nursing Jack one-handed while rubbing Charlie’s back with the other hand, trying to help him get through the cramps until 3 p.m. came, and I could load everyone into the car to head to the pediatrician’s office. I was so relieved to go in, and was even more relieved to find Will there waiting for us.
While I sat in the car with Julia and the baby, trying not to expose our 2-week-old to any more germs by bringing him into the pediatrician’s office, Will bundled Charlie in a blanket and carried him in. A half hour later, Will called me on his cell phone, all choked up. Charlie was being sent over to the Emergency Room to be put on an I.V. for a few hours due to dehydration.
Those few hours turned into a two-day hospital stay for our little boy, who was poked and prodded with needles and painfully catheterized in an attempt to find out what was causing his severe diarrhea and fever. It was torture for him, and torture for me, because I couldn’t even be there with him since I’m nursing Jack and we’re trying our best to keep the baby from getting this. (I did sneak into the hospital a couple times just for a quick visit, equipped with my hand sanitizer, and a post-visit shower and wardrobe change before picking up the baby again.) Hearing Charlie’s cries for “Mommy!” on the phone broke my heart into a million pieces, because my little boy has been so sick, and I haven’t even been able to be there with him. Thankfully, Will has been by his side the entire time, and is quite frankly the better parent to be there, since he’s far better than me at keeping his emotions in check for Charlie’s sake.
It’s been scary to have Charlie in the hospital, and lonely without Will and Charlie at home. Thankfully, after a whole slew of tests, most of the more serious issues have been ruled out (H1N1, flu, parasites, etc.) While we’re waiting for the rest of the test results, Charlie and Will are finally on their way home. While he’s not entirely better yet, Charlie is at least eating and drinking on his own now, and the diarrhea has slowed down considerably. I’m so relieved.
This isn’t how I expected our first full week home with the baby to go. But, such is life. If nothing else, it’s been a huge reminder of what’s most important in our lives—the health and well-being of our children. Without that, nothing else really matters.