And it wasn't even Cecelia who initiated us with this milestone. It was our newborn baby boy!
In Porter's two month post, I mentioned that both Truman and myself were sick last weekend with a fever bug. It took about two days for us both to feel better and really only amounted to body aches and chills, fever, and an upset tummy.
Yesterday, Porter's two month birthday, that post went up on the blog. The night before his 'birthday', Porter slept like hell, even worse than usual. He was half asleep and half whimpering most of the night and wouldn't let me place him anywhere but my arms. We sat upright in the glider most of the night. Very restful.
The next morning, Porter was really tired but also really fussy. It was almost like he couldn't quite get himself to wake up to be really mad, so he was just crying while semi-sleeping. I couldn't decide if he felt hot or not---the thermometer I always use for the big kids goes right behind their ears, but it wasn't consistent with Porter's tiny little head. The readings ranged from 98.9-99.6 and I couldn't really trust it for accuracy. I let him snooze on me most of the morning and kind of encouraged him to nurse a few times when he would wake up angry. I figured he was just really tired from the night before, since I knew I was exhausted myself.
Once Cecelia went down for her nap and Truman began his quiet time, I really stopped to look at my sleeping baby. He just didn't seem like himself. Sleeping SO much, crying and fussing whenever awake, and just seeming....off. I started to panic a bit, working myself up to believe something was seriously wrong with my newborn. It was a wave of mommy intuition that I've never felt before: I just knew this was something.
So I texted Nate saying, 'I think something is really wrong with Porter and I'm scared. I might take him to the doc.' Nate texted back saying to trust my gut, asking what was going on with our buddy. I said I couldn't really pin point it---didn't seem to have a fever, was sleeping but not really, was eating but not really. I had Nate call me and I started to cry talking to him over the phone, as it really hit me how worried I was about my baby. I called the doctor's office and explained what was happening with these vague but odd symptoms. She said I could give him Tylenol if I thought he was in pain and they only worry about a fever if it's a rectal temperature over 100.4. She suggested we watch and wait, especially once she heard Truman and I were sick the previous weekend.
Porter then woke up and nursed quite well, smiling at me after that session. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. But when I went to change his diaper, I decided to take my first ever rectal temperature just out of curiosity. I was kind of shocked when it read 100.5 and immediately called the RN with this reading, and as I did this Porter started to cry really hard again.
I gave him acetaminophen and the nurse said she would talk to the doctor and call me back. Not even 2 minute later, my phone rang. I was bracing myself for her to say, 'Can you come in right now?' and I was going to be a little stressed at the idea of waking Cecelia from her nap and dealing with her wrath, on top of Porter's hatred for the van (and our doctor is a good 20+ minutes away). But the nurse said, 'Because he is so little, and because the fever is too high, the doctor wants you to go straight to the ER now.'
WHAT? Holy crap. Not at all what I was expecting. She said I could try an urgent care, but because he is so young and the temp was over their allowed limits, they would likely send me right to ER anyway. Crap. This is when I *really* started to panic.
I called Nate and he picked up, but Porter was crying so hard it was hard to even update Nate---I just said, 'They want me to take him to the ER, can you please come home?' He had a few cancellations and was already packing up, thank goodness, so I started gathering up the diaper bag.
Nate got home, Cecelia woke up and came downstairs, upset that I was leaving, but I head out the door at 3:30--not even sure where the ER entrance was for our Children's hospital. Heck, I've only been there one other time and it was with Truman earlier this year----not the ER, but their Urgent Care. Somehow I found it and somehow Porter didn't freak out in the car ride. Thank you, God.
We checked in, the nurse took his vitals, and then we waited in the waiting room for a full hour. Sort of horrifying to see and hear some of the kids around us---one little girl had the scariest cough I've ever heard. There were plenty of kids on crutches and some looking really ill. I just stood there holding my baby praying the germs away. A few moms asked me how old Porter was and, 'Oh, he is so tiny!!' Because he is! He is way too little to be sick and at the ER!!
Finally they called us back to our room at 4:45pm. Another nurse did more vitals and by this time, his temp was down to 99 degrees with the meds. He was smiling at her and being generally adorable, looking quite healthy. The resident came in about 45 minutes later. She said she would talk to the attending. FINALLY the head MD of the ER came in right before 6pm. I had nursed Porter twice in this time, watched a bit of Bravo, and decided that Porter was probably just fine if the meds were working so well.
(Places I've nursed: mark down 'Children's ER room' on my list)
Poor buddy did great during our stay but did have a few moments of being OVER IT.
The doctor said that they have a '56 day rule', for any babies that are 56 days old or younger. They get directly admitted to the hospital for a full work up because of the risk of infections from the birth process. Porter's two month birthday meant he missed that cut off by four days. Also, she said that since his fever was SO low, just barely over their limits of what to consider 'serious' combined with his usual health and zero other risk factors, she wasn't too worried about him. She said she thought it's the same virus Truman and I had, which is basically a cold. If his fever gets to 103 or more, or if he continues to have a fever above 100.4 for more than two days, then she would think about a urinary tract infection and could test his urine. But she didn't believe that was warranted right now.
She said that anything more serious would likely mean a higher fever, and as long as he is comfortable, nursing to stay hydrated, and doesn't have any respiratory issues we are supposed to just ride it out. I straight up asked her, 'So you aren't worried about anything serious with my baby?' and she said, 'Nope, he looks really good and will be just fine.' I know she can't say that with certainty but it did help this nervous mom relax a little to hear that.
We packed up and headed home, spending a total of 2.5 hours at the ER. Not too shabby. I'm so glad he didn't have to be admitted and didn't need any major testing like a lumbar puncture or something invasive!
(get me out of here, lady!!)
The kids were super excited to see Porter (and me, sort of) when we returned home. Nate seemed drained from parenting the bigger ones for a few hours (validation!!!!) and we did bedtime as a family. I cuddled and nursed my Porter extra hard. He got more meds to help him sleep and then only woke up TWICE last night, which is about 300% better than the previous week.
Today he has been resting but also has been awake and HAPPY instead of seeming so sick. This morning he had a temp of 99 but just now he had absolutely NO temperature, and he hasn't had any Tylenol since last night. Hallelujah.
The whole ER experience was obviously really jarring, and if I let myself really consider all that *could* have happened, I get extremely overwhelmed. I'm so incredibly thankful that my baby is likely healthy, that we'll get through this and move onto the next rough patch in no time, and that a trip to the ER is not the norm for us. I despise when my children are sick---there is nothing worse than feeling helpless as a mother, watching one of your children feel miserable and not being able to do much about it. As always, a little reality check like this makes my heart go out to moms who have chronically ill or seriously ill children. Life is so fragile. Children are such gifts. Even when I'm more sleep deprived than ever and feeling like a failure of a mom for allowing my baby to get this virus, I know that we are so freaking lucky.
And so I won't stop cuddling anytime soon. Can't give too many kisses, or send up too many THANK YOU GOD prayers.
Hoping this is not an indicator for how this winter will treat us. And I hope this scare is behind us! What a weird week. Here's to an uneventful weekend and my mom flying in tomorrow!