I woke up Saturday night to find my baby had been replaced by a fireball. He was so hot, it almost hurt to touch him. After a little bit of Tylenol and nursing, slowly he returned to baby temperature and drifted back to sleep.
I did not return to sleep so easily. I kept checking him, touching his skin, reassuring myself that he was still baby, not fireball. He was restless, waking often and whining in his sleep, and I cursed my inability to fix what was bothering him. I want magic cures, I want instant fixes, I want my happy healthy baby back.
It’s been like this for three days now. He will play for short periods; mostly he just sits limply, or clings to me. His eyes are so heavy, but he only sleeps for fifteen minute stretches. He cries and bites himself and pulls his ears, and I could easily sit down and cry with him. And there’s the fever that keeps returning, the two am fireball baby, my fear so thick I can taste it.
First thing Monday, I took him in to the doctor. His fever was down, thanks to the dose of Tylenol I’d given him at 5am, but he didn’t even move when the doctor examined him. His diaper was still dry after 16 hours. I wanted to plead with the doctor to make J feel better, but instead simply nodded along when he said that J must have a virus, no ear infection, and keep doing what I’ve been doing. (But it’s not enough, I thought. He’s still sick.) And then he gave me 24 hours to get J’s fluids up before putting him in the hospital.
At the words “IV” and “hospital,” I think my heart stopped. My fear reached a whole new level. It didn’t matter that the doctor also said it probably wouldn’t be necessary, that J was going to be fine, I only heard the danger–the needles the machines the tiny body on a hospital bed. In that instant, I wished I was still pregnant with him. Carrying him inside of me, he felt safer, less vulnerable. Now, I am so helpless to protect him. I kept thinking, what if I do everything I can, and it’s not enough?
I went home armed with Pedialyte and determination. He will get better. Right now. I’m his mommy, and that’s what mommies do–we make it better. Of course, he refused to drink any of the juice (frozen or not), or anything else I put in his cup. Instead, I nursed him as much as I could. I wrapped him, comforted him, loved him, and waited.
After close to 24 hours, we were finally successful. I have never been so happy to see a wet diaper in my life. His fever has stayed down, he’s a little more active, and I can breathe a sigh of relief. He may still feel a little yucky, I still wish I could do more to make him feel better, but at least I know he is going to be okay.