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.


Amy L. said...

Oh, LauraJane, this brought tears to my eyes. I hate it when people say things will be ok, or think our feelings are over reactions...they don't know. I don't think I'd have done any differently in your situation last night. My God.

Sending you deep, cleansing breaths and big hugs...

Veronica said...

Strong woman, you are.
Ah, the things people say. I wish they knew how *real* our lives are, and that things aren't always okay just because someone hopes so, or says so, or *knows* so.
You did all I would have done. I am still amazed how a single Blm sleeps after their rainbow has arrived. Blows my mind, and I hope to follow in all of your strong footsteps.

Your last statement brought tears to my eyes. Love to you on that one.

Brooke said...

That picture made me tear up. We will never forget how vulnerable we are--how vulnerable they are. But you guys are obviously loving her so hard. It's a beautiful thing.

B. Wilson said...

Oh, my friend.

What a rough night. I fear these moments will arise for the rest of our lives. Wish I could give you a hug and bring wine.

You're such a beautiful family and with all my might, I hope all your beautiful McBabes will outlive you from now on.

p.s. we took B's temp like every single time we changed his diaper for the first 3ish months, too! I'm still a little wacky about it, especially when he gets shots.

Melissa said...

I held my breath reading this entire post. Oh Laura. I can only imagine. The line about the urns on your dresser...oh, so haunting. I am half sick reading it.

I am so glad your sweet girl is well.

I am with Brandy, it might be time for a friend to bring a glass of wine!

Caroline said...

We have family in town and Unfortunately my nephew brought with him a nasty stomach virus he passed on to me and then Finn. He woke up from his nap today vomiting! First time he's ever thrown up and it broke my heart and scared me as he was trying to cough it all up.

I have thought too many times what I'd do if I had two urns. I just can't fathom.

Glad your little beauty is doing better. Hope your heart is too.

TanaLee Davis said...

I can so understand why you feel/felt the way you did. I would have reacted the same way given the history. Hugs mama-

Renel said...

Oh oh oh. I am so freaked out just reading this because our fears can send us in to total panic and it's hard to talk ourselves down. We have experienced the worst and my mind goes "there" too easily too Often. I'm so glad she is feeling better. Damn vaccinations I hate them. I'm betting it was the flu shot. She's young and those vaccinations are gnarley. Hugs mama. I know how rough it is. Kai had a fever the last two days and I was not only worried about him but freaked out that he would give it to Harlow. Ugh. So so rough. To be on such high alert all the time! Love that picture!

Addi's mom said...

Man I hate that you know so much. "Going there" is not something we can control but OH MY GOD. Ugh. Two urns...oh that sentence really got me. I can totally relate to this overreacting because when you know what we know its the only way to feel a little in control. Glad G is doing better now. Love to all four of you.

Darcey said...

Hugs to you. I can only imagine how you felt. Amazing how quickly you can get drawn back to that exact place and time.

Dana said...

I would have reacted the same wy. It s impossible not to have those bad thoughts go though your head. I'm so glad she's ok.

Rachel said...

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

^^ that's so beautiful. And true! I'm glad she is ok, it sounds like a scary night.

Tiffany said...

I have anxiety just reading about this... People who haven't been where we have will not ever understand how terrifying a fever is. Nothing strikes fear in my heart like the quick beep a thermometer gives when a temperature is high... Glad your gorgeous girl is on the up swing!

Angela said...

Your words, and that last picture, are beautiful. I am so glad it was just a fever.

Party of Three Heads said...

God, such beautiful words... xoxo

Jen said...

I cannot even imagine the wave of chaos that must have been tearing at your heart, and I imagine the aftermath—the all-too-common realization that this worry-filled life is, indeed, yours—has had its own reverberations over the past few days. Glad that sweet little girl is ok, and hoping things have settled down in your home and heart.

Nicole said...

Vaccinations are rough. Addalee gets higher than normal fevers with each set...isn't she lucky?! I've freaked the crap out several times, and I don't have the memories you do. You're allowed to freak out, though I wish you didn't have to. And allowing yourself to think the worst? Yeah. I am sad to say that I planned Addalee's funeral while I was pregnant with her. I was terrified we'd lose her just as we'd lost Caroline. Hey, it ain't pretty, but it's us doing the best we can.

So glad everything worked out with your beautiful girl.

Hugs, mama!

Laura Beck said...

you're a good momma. Always always always trust your instincts and thoughts over other people's garbage... you are right, we learned the hard way. and we earned the right to worry as much as we feel necessary because we buried a child.

"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." <--- love this... so true.

Tiffany said...

yes yes yes. our minds go there because of what we have experienced. after Juli's 1st round of shots she started to get warm as though she was going to develop a fever. i FREAKED OUT. and like you had to remove myself for a few mins so that she didn't see how bad i was freaking. and when she had her 1st stomach bug, i freaked again. i wish we didn't have to live this way. i'm glad you guys made it through that alive and in one piece. love you all...

Jenny Bagwill said...

I can't even imagine how terrified you must have felt. Thinking of you.

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