Writing this from under a sick, feverish, miserable baby boy named Porter who is sleeping on my chest. Day four of this crap and we are all pretty much spent with this sickness. The cuddles are fantastic but seeing my babe crying in misery is truly the worst part of motherhood. Make it go away, antibiotics! Please!
Bottom line: Porter is sick and it sucks.
Backstory in case someday I want to remember the past few days of torture, or if you care to commiserate with me:
Porter was fussy on Saturday night around 6pm when we were at a birthday party. I brought him home at 6:30 figuring he needed an early bedtime and noted he felt warm. Temp of 100.5ish, which warranted Ibuprofen from me along with a lot of 'I hope he's just teething and not coming down with a bug.'
Sunday (Mothers Day): he had a fever and slept a lot. He drank his first bottle of the day but was really perturbed with the rest of them and only ate a few solids. I had our neighbor come and look at Porter's ears which looked fine. We agreed that this was probably just a virus and needed to run it's course (hate this phrase so much, bleh). He had his moments of being very happy and active (probably while medicated) but was not himself. This was also the day that Truman gagged and puked on his lunch, so it was a super fun Mothers Day. I fought hard to keep my worries about 'worst case scenario' at bay.
Monday: I woke up before the kids and started getting ready for the work day. Porter started crying hard in his crib and when I went in there, he was burning up. Fever of 103.8 which scared me, so I started the old Ibuprofen/Tylenol rotation. I sent Cecelia to Lori's, Truman to school, and tried to get Porter comfortable. The meds sort of helped in that they dropped the fever but after drinking maybe 4oz of formula, he basically refused everything else for the rest of this day. I started using the medication syringe to give him formula and juice and water but it was a STRUGGLE to get him to drink anything. And forget solids. It was rough. While he napped in the afternoon, I ended up going to see two patients and Tony stayed with the boys. I hated leaving and almost didn't go because Porter protested when I handed him over to grandpa. But then he was mostly fine and napped while I was gone. Still, if the worst part of being a mom is seeing your child sick/miserable, then the worst part of being a working mom is handling a sick child in general. Making the decision on whether to stay at home and postpone work/reschedule patients or try to use our village of help so that I can fulfill my 'other job' duties is not my favorite. It's hard to juggle responsibilities when my baby needs me, and yet I know I'm lucky in that my job does allow flexibility in cases like this. Of course, I still feel guilty when I cancel a patient to stay home with Porter but most everyone understands the job of a mom comes first. And they all promised to do their exercises for me while I'm at home, so we will see if they followed through or not!
Monday evening when everyone was home, we attempted to take Truman and Cecelia to their soccer practice. Porter came with us but I knew he'd never last long and he didn't. Neither did Cecelia, actually, just because she decided she didn't want to play soccer anymore. Great. Whatever, I guess. I gave Porter and CC a bath while Nate and Truman stayed at soccer. P was mostly happy in the bath and went to bed after I force fed him a crushed up popsicle and Nate forced some juice into him. Seriously, Porter drank maybe 6 oz of fluid all day. NOT OKAY! He had a wet diaper first thing in the morning and then again around 2pm but that was it. I don't like this.
Also don't like the fact that while Nate and I were watching a Lost downstairs around 9:30, I heard Porter making weird noises in his crib. Looked at the monitor and saw he was really ticked off, ran up there to find that he had thrown up that popsicle/juice combo. No! I changed him and changed the sheets and he was super lethargic, would barely wake up for me and I panicked. I called Nate up and he sort of calmed me down because Porter *would* open his eyes but I just didn't feel good about this anymore. Nate and I decided I should take Porter to Urgent Care. It was set to close in 15 minutes so I booked it out of the house with my sick/sleepy baby and kind of prayed the whole way over, since he was still so out of it.
(I'll spare you the pictures of him half-asleep and looking freakishly tired. Really hard to look at those).
We made it in time and he looked awful at the clinic. Temp was 103, he puked into my hands while I was answering questions from a rather annoying Nurse Practitioner about Porter's Apgar scores at birth (!?), and then the doctor looked him over. He wasn't due for his next Ibuprofen dose but they did give him Tylenol to reduce the fever and Zofran to help calm his tummy. I told them that he hadn't had a wet diaper in about 8 hours and they didn't like that (me either!) so they said I had to push the fluids even more. The doc was on the fence about sending us to the ER for fluids but she said it was a 4 hour wait and they don't love to do IV fluids at Children's ER without any other major issues. They swabbed him for strep and it was shockingly negative, his ears were clear and so were his lungs. So basically: probably a virus, keep medicating and pushing fluids. I straight up asked the doc if she was concerned with any big, scary diagnoses (since I had been googling meningitis). She said it was good that he fought them for the throat swab, he would wake up a bit occasionally, and he could still make tears so he wasn't severely dehydrated. My nerves were calmed and we headed home, where he drank a good 1-2 oz of pedialite before bed. And of course I didn't sleep well at all that night, but also didn't wake him to do meds.
Tuesday: Porter's temp was an insane 104.5 when he woke up. Ibuprofen took about 45 minutes to work and throughout that time he was inconsolable. Nate wisely and swiftly decided to cancel a few of his morning patients to stay home and help since usually he is out the door at 6:30. I could not deal with all three kids with one super sick and one needing to get to school, so I definitely needed my teammate at this point. I called our doctor's office when they opened at 8 and the nurse said that was a really high fever (duh) but since he was just evaluated the night before, there probably wasn't much more they could do. We talked it over and she said if he still had a fever the next day, after three full days of a fever, then the doctor would want to see him on day four. She was supportive and said she knows it's really hard to watch a baby in such misery but to hang in there and keep doing what I was doing. I got Porter scheduled for the following morning but hoped maybe his fever would break and we wouldn't need that appointment.
All day I kept him on the Ibuprofen and Tylenol rotation, giving him one of the meds every three hours so six hours spaced for each medication. His fever did stay down but Porter stayed angry, hated to drink or eat anything, and was restless when napping. I got maybe 1 oz of pedialite in his belly after a strong showing of 4 oz first thing in the morning. Tony got Truman from school for me and then I called him in the afternoon for backup. I was feeling really guilty for paying Truman and Cecelia zero attention as I cared for Porter all day. So after Cecelia's nap, I called Tony to see if he wanted the big kids to come and play at his house for awhile. He was totally game and yes I know, we are so lucky to have helpful and willing grandparents! It takes a village and right now my in-laws are a giant portion of that village!
Don't hate this part.
Porter and I got snuggle time, I gave him a bath, and then he was angry at life until he napped on my chest. Nate called and said he'd like to still play volleyball that night but wanted to bring CC and Truman with him (and his dad). I thought he should just come home but said if the big kids wanted to go to watch him play, then fine. They did want to go and Tony took them to McDonalds first, so they were basically high on life. Nate came home and made me dinner before leaving for volleyball and he got a few more squirts of Pedialyte into our sick baby. Porter woke up and was really beside himself so as Nate left, I took Porter and Henry for a walk around the block. P didn't love it initially but a little fresh air was necessary for all involved and it helped me bust out of my funk for a bit.
Happy for a few minutes here.
We got home and P was inconsolable again, so I called Urgent Care to be 100% sure that the strep test didn't turn positive over night. They said they would call if it did, and I didn't receive a call, but I wanted to be totally sure anyway. The nurse was kind, saying it was indeed negative, and she talked me through my options. I mean, fever was climbing each morning without meds, getting fluids into him was beyond difficult, he was peeing just twice per day (and seemed to be just a few drops each time), and he was simply miserable. But again, the nurse said that we could bring him in but there probably wasn't a lot to be done. Watch and wait.
I cried after hanging up the phone at that point, feeling hopeless and frustrated and like I just wanted my child to feel better, dammit.
Nate and the big kids came home and they had a blast at volleyball (and McDonalds, and Papa's house ), and then got ready for bed. Porter wanted to stay up and listen to their books for a bit but quickly faded into crying, so I put him to bed after a final dose of meds and a few squirts of pedialyte. Once the bigs were also asleep, Nate and I enjoyed a Lost or two plus a delicious alcoholic beverage that was much needed. I slept wonderfully this night and was beyond exhausted.
Wednesday: I woke up and went for a 3 mile run because I needed it more than ever. Also got to take a shower before Porter woke up, since Nate doesn't leave until 8:30 these mornings. I had already decided to cancel my patients for this date and spoke to most of them on the phone the day before, hoping that maybe I could still squeeze in a treatment or two in the afternoon. When Porter woke at 7:45 his temp was 100.8 and he was pretty angry. I knew we'd keep that 9:30 appointment with our doctor and decided I was not leaving there without a prescription for antibiotics. Four days of a fever combined with misery and the struggle to get fluids in him is enough for me.
Oddly rosy cheeks that briefly showed up.
Nate took Truman to school and I decided to keep CC home from Lori's, too, since I'd be home anyway. We went to the doctor and Porter's ears were still clear, lungs fine, throat red but apparently not horrible. Same old, same old. The doc tried to have me wait one more day, then call if he still had a fever after that. But no, sorry, can't do it anymore. When he mentioned, 'but if you really think antibiotics are necessary now,' I jumped in and said, 'Yes, I really do.' I mean, I realize there isn't a clear diagnosis for something bacterial but it's worth a shot. Porter hasn't been on antibiotics before (aside from eye drops) so it's not like I'm pumping them into him constantly. SOS, we are in dire straights here, doc! I think he sensed that and also Porter was really cranky there and just *looked* so sick.
Uh-oh. Sick baby is not happy.
So amoxicillian was waiting for us at the pharmacy after that. Yes. Porter was really tired but also cranky this entire day. He drank just a little bit, didn't pee until 4pm, slept on me for a few hours, and started his antibiotics. At one point I was going to see two patients but then Porter would only nap on my chest, so I had to push them off until the next day. AGAIN. Sigh. They understood but I still feel like I'm not being very professional when I choose to stay home with my baby. And yet, can't really pass up the opportunity to sit on the couch with my Porter boy.
We all went to the playground after CC's nap and Porter seemed quite lethargic there, which was a little unnerving. But once we got back home he perked up and even ate some yogurt and cheerios for dinner. Hallelujah! A triple bath was had and I started to think maybe Porter was turning the corner after two doses of the antibiotics. He went to sleep easily and I'm hoping tomorrow we get our happy, healthy baby back.
Feeding my baby some yogurt. Little bird here.
And at dinner, some smiles!
I'm planning to work tomorrow and also Friday since I'm really far behind now, and have a girls weekend planned in Chicago this weekend. MUST go to girls weekend, it's been years in the making to see these 'PT school' friends again! But of course, I will not be okay with leaving Porter if he is still really sick (and don't even talk about the notion of one of the other kids getting this bug, shut your mouth). So basically, really hoping with all of my guts that Porter is better tomorrow. Let's turn this proverbial corner already, alright?
Enough of this madness.
(also working on his ten month post since it's officially two days late, but my buddy is simply not up for a photoshoot in his bowtie and leg warmers just yet. So the post must wait and I'm sure everyone totally noticed my tardiness).