There is nothing that breaks your heart more than when your child is sick and there’s nothing that you can do.
Saturday night, Baby Imp woke up screaming. As in, inconsolable screaming. So I got out of bed, gave her a bottle, she fell asleep and I put her back down. And she woke right back up, screaming. Between Lord Imp and I, we rinsed and repeated about 3 times until I noticed she was feeling awfully warm.
So out came the rectal thermometer. And it came back at 102.4 degrees.
Cue the urge to freak out. A fever in an infant is any temperature higher than 100.4 degrees. And since this is a first-time event, I had no idea what to do.
So we brought Baby Imp to the ER. Where we were told that it’s probably something viral, put her on Tylenol and Motrin, give her plenty of fluids, follow up with the pediatrician and come back if she gets worse.
For any normal parent, this is a completely legit way to diagnose what was going on – we don’t know, just keep her comfortable. To a parent with a primary immune deficiency, that’s just not good enough. To a parent completely lacking in any sort of antibodies, being told “I don’t know” is downright scary. I like to know what I’m up against. And I have a child running a high fever. If it’s a cold, I need to know if it’s a cold. If it’s the flu, I need to know it’s the flu. If it’s measles, I sure as hell need to know that it’s measles. That way if and when I come down with whatever the baby has, I am able to tell my immunologist what’s up and I can be given the correct antibodies if necessary without delay.
But, we were just told the baby is sick, keep her comfortable. Incredibly frustrating. Especially since I gave up on sleep that night to bring her in. I went to work Sunday morning only having gotten an hour’s worth of sleep since 11:30 the night before.
Even more frustrating, her condition deteriorated on Sunday. She wasn’t eating much, was lethargic, incredibly fussy, and her temperature had climbed to 104.1 despite alternating between Tylenol and Motrin every four hours. Lord Imp called me at work freaking out, and I told him to bring the baby back to the ER.
This time around, we fortunately had a more thorough examination. Everything came back negative and I did feel bad for putting the baby through all the tests she went through. Some may even think that I’m selfish for putting her through that. But given that sickness for someone with a primary immune deficiency can sometimes equal a hospitalisation, it was necessary not only for the baby but for me as well.
And I can’t be a good mother if I’m in the hospital.
My mother yesterday had brought up the possibility of the baby having roseola. Roseola is an incredibly common illness in children under 2 – from what I’ve read, estimates are as high as just a hair under 100% of adults having antibodies against it, indicating prior exposure to the disease. It presents itself first as a sudden high fever, then after a few days the fever breaks and a rash starts. It’s highly communicable and the fever is uncomfortable, but it is by no means fatal nor anything to worry about. It’s really more of an inconvenient pain in the ass. So at the baby’s follow-up appointment, I asked her pediatrician about it. He agreed that this was very likely the cause of the baby’s illness, and told me to keep up with the fever medication, to not be surprised if the fever suddenly dissipates and she starts having a rash on her trunk, and to call if there were any concerns.
The good news is, Baby Imp has been a little more engaging in a positive manner today – she was even smiling towards the end of the night, something she hadn’t done since Saturday afternoon. She finally started letting me put her down (she was not happy with not being in someone’s arms at all, neither Lord Imp nor I got any sleep until about midnight last night), she got a good 5 hours worth of sleep last night and she even took a few naps today. She was in a much better mood tonight than she had been, probably due to the fact that she finally got herself a little rest. She’s in her crib right now, conked out.
A huge part of me is relieved that she is finally looking like she is working her way through this. The other part of me is paranoid. Like, super paranoid. I hate having fevers, I hate being sick, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to take care of the baby on my own if I do get sick since Lord Imp is out of town for work. I’ve been taking my temperature about every 6 hours during waking time for the past two days, just to keep an eye on it.
We’ll see what happens. I may lack the antibodies that keep germs out, but I have a supply of those that fight the infections. If all goes well, all I’ll end up with is feeling kinda meh. I can handle feeling kinda meh, I didn’t get any sort of sleep until after midnight last night, I’ve been rocking the feeling kinda meh thing for the last 72 hours like a boss. Although I was able to get a good 3 or so hour long nap in while the baby slept, and I was feeling better. Add on to that the fact that I stopped cheating on the low-carb diet and I feel even better (I’m saving my burger/fries/pizza/Egg McMuffin experience for another post).
But I’m still tired. And now it’s bedtime.