Friday, November 9, 2012

I barely made it through.

Yesterday Grace attended her six month appointment. Weighing in at a hefty 18lbs14oz, she is every bit the chubby, cuddly lovebug we've known she would be.

We had our innoculations and the first dose of the flu shot.  She cried, I stuck a boob in her mouth, and she was fine. She was tired and slept the whole way home. I was warned about low-grade fever as a side effect... But she hadn't suffered any illness after her other vaccines.

And last night she was a little tired, and cranky and so I resorted to taking her temperature.

Temperature taking is something I'm very hyper-vigilant about. Because Jack's low grade fever spiked very quickly once admitted to the hospital, I am terrified of any temperature above and beyond the 36.6/36.7 we have always known her to be. And by "known her to be", I actually mean it- we took her temperature multiple times each day for her first three months of life. For realz.

So last night just before her bedtime she had a temperature of 37.5. This is low grade. I gave her the appropriate dosage of Baby Tylenol (which must be delicious in it's "dye-free white grape goodness" because she took it like a champ!) and about 1/2 hour later she was in the high 36s. Good.

And of course it also earned her the option to sleep between her mum and dad where I could pop a boob in her mouth with every lip smack she made. Makes us both feel better about the whole thing, so off to sleep we went.

At 4:30am I awoke to her stirring and I decided I would take her temperature again. I stuck the thermometer under her arm pit and clicked the button on my phone to illuminate the screen. 38.5'. I freaked out, turned the bedside lamp on and sat her up. She was sleeping, and didn't really open her eyes. And I was very quickly retaking her temperature while my mind flashed back to our time with Jack in that hospital room, trying anything to lower his temperature. I looked over at Scott and looked just as worried as I was.

"You want to party?"
"I dunno... Kinda tired mum"
And so I gave her more medication, removed her sleep sack, striped her down to her diaper and began taking her temperature a million times over while nursing her. It was sticking in the 38s and I was making lists in my head of what I needed to pack to take to the hospital.

Scott told me to simmer down, and to stop taking her temperature- it wasn't changing and I was stressing myself out. By this point, my little girl was awake and thinking it was a surprise early-morning party just for her.  She was babbling and smiling and being generally gorgeous.

I told Scott I was going to go take a shower in case we ended up needing to take her in. I needed a few moments to myself to pull my thoughts together. I needed to be away from her so I wouldn't keep sticking that thermometer under her armpit.

So off to our bathroom I plodded, and I stood under the stream of water and cried. I thought of the tiny corner shower in the family room at SickKids- the one so small it was hard to raise my arms to wash my hair.  I thought of which hospital I would take her to- our local ER, SickKids, or McMaster Children's which is the closest one to us now.

My mind went there- what it would be like having two urns on my dresser... Of how I could ever survive if I lost her. How I just wouldn't want to.

I finished up in the shower and called out to Scott to see how Grace was doing. No response. I stepped into our bedroom and Scott had Grace turned towards him and she was asleep. I tiptoed over and Scott shushed me, telling me she had just fallen asleep and her temperature was now 36.9.

That little hand on his neck, and the big one on her back? L<3ve 
Eventually, after googling incessantly and taking her temperature again and again and was back down to normal. I questioned whether we were wasting precious time by not already being enroute to a hospital. I wondered whether anything I could do would have made any difference in protecting Jack's life... My mind was swimming with what ifs. After sitting up just watching her for another half hour and listening to her steady breathing, we finally went back to sleep.

Today she's a little cranky. She has no interest in bouncing in her bouncer, she's been given another dosage of Baby Tylenol and she's pretty darn tired. A call to her paediatrician confirmed the temperature wasn't anything to freak out about, but we were told we could come in if her temperature continues to stay up but that this is par for the course after vaccines.

I sat with her on my lap just a few moments ago singing "you are my sunshine" as she smiled and sighed and starred me down. And I told her that I love her to pieces and that I needed her to be okay. I barely made it through the loss of Jack. Just barely.

And so when people tell me to relax, or to be positive or that everything will be okay, this is why I lose my mind. Because I've experienced the worst and the mere thought of anything happening to her now is enough to take me back to those darkest of days.

Sometimes a fever is just a fever. And sometimes it's so much more than that. It's a reminder of just how fragile this life continues to be. It's the tearing at the seams of a still mending heart.

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