These past few days (oh wow, I guess it's almost a week now!) have been full of ups and downs. After a relatively normal day on Friday, the tide shifted at dinner time and we had a 'first' that we weren't anticipating. Our first trip to the emergency room. Looking back, it may have been an overreaction (although my friends have been quick to reassure me that there is no such thing when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your child), but when you started shivering and shuddering and just generally not acting like yourself, your father and I panicked a bit.
You've been an exceptionally healthy little girl; I don't think you've ever even had a sniffle that didn't disappear with a single little squirt of breastmilk up the nose, so we were completely out of our element. The emergency room is no place to spend a Friday night, that's for sure. I won't say that everyone was rough with you, but I will say that no one was gentle.
Your only experiences in a medical setting have been with our family practice doctor, who is always gentle and warm in his care, explaining to you (and us) every step of his exam. The emergency room does not offer that sort of care, nor are they particularly understanding or supportive of parents who don't adhere blindly to every aspect of modern western medicine. We got suspicious or annoyed looks when answering questions about your immunization history, (Yes, she's up to date based on our selective/alternative vaccination schedule). When the doctor suggested that we catheterize you to obtain a urine sample to rule out a UTI, he seemed surprised when I inquired as to what other symptoms might suggest a UTI was a concern, and downright dismissive of us when we opted not to consent to the procedure.
We got you back home with as little trauma as possible, trying not to over-analyze the experience in our mental processing of it. Your father and I, we're talkers, and no dead horse is safe once we get going! The next few days were touch and go. You were tired, fussy, and clingy, and your fever waxed and waned with each passing day. While you're still more tired than usual, you've been fever-free for over 48 hours now and seem to be on the path to your former self.
This first illness of yours, as mild as it was in the grand scheme thing of things, has brought me to a place of gratitude. I'm thankful for instructors who are willing to provide me with what I'll miss in class so that I can stay home to nurse you back to health. I'm thankful for co-workers who take over for me so I can stay home to snuggle the baby who only wants her mama. I'm thankful that my body makes breastmilk, the only thing I could count on you to fill your belly with. I'm thankful for your father, an equal partner in parenting, who took over when I was feeling overwhelmed or touched-out.
Most of all, I am so, so grateful for your overall health and wellbeing. This little bug, whatever it was, was nothing compared to what some babies and their parents endure. Every day, I see or read a heart-wrenching story about critically or fatally ill babies and children and the parents who fight so hard to advocate for them. Your health is such a blessing, one that I have all too often taken for granted. As I snuggled your warm little body, stroking your hair while you replenished your system with my milk, I looked into your sleepy little eyes and was overcome with relief knowing how healthy, happy, and well cared for you are.