Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The scary side of being a mom

This past weekend I experienced fear, self-sacrifice and endurance like I never have before. Being a first-time parent means being thrown curve balls. No matter how much advice you get from the long time parents you know, there will always be things that you don't expect, or even know how to deal with.

And even though my husband is a trained firefighter, he was taught a lesson - that all the training in the world can't prepare you for dealing with your own child being in what could be a life-threatening situation.

Our baby girl had a fever on the weekend, that suddenly spiked for whatever reason (possibly, but not positively the bath her daddy was giving her) and caused a febrile seizure. Unfortunately, we had never heard of a febrile seizure before, so when her eyes glazed over and she suddenly went limp in the tub, we immediately thought the worst. My husband pulled her out of the tub and tried to get her attention while I instinctively grabbed the phone to call 911 (which, by the way I have never done in my life). I stayed calm enough to give the operator the accurate information and relayed info to my husband as he continued to talk to Sofia to keep her awake. She wasn't shaking, but her eyes were sleepy and she couldn't move much or lift her head. After a few minutes, which of course felt like eternity, she started to come around and by the time the rescue unit arrived she was lifting her head again and trying to babble.

We were escorted to the ER, where we discovered that she had a fever of 103.2 F, so we had to try to bring it down slowly. Then, the doctor recommended we take her to see a pediatrician in the city, just to make sure she was ok. The next six hours were the longest, most exhausting hours of my life. Most of that time was spent waiting for the doctor, Sofia's fever to come down and for test results to come back. At 4 a.m. we were given the OK to leave, with a prescription for an ear infection (which caused the fever in the first place) and strict orders to return if we noticed anything our of the ordinary.

Sofia's case wasn't the worst one in the ER that night. For the most part even though she was probably as tired as her parents, she was generally happy and curious about everything going on around her. She took all the tests and poking and prodding like a champ. While next to us there was a couple with a 6 year old boy who had much more serious seizures and later, a 6 month old with a terrible cough and trouble breathing. The hardest thing for me to hear was the mom of the 6 year old calling a friend or family member with the news that they were in the hospital, as she fought back tears.

Through it all, I was utterly drained. I had a headache and couldn't keep my eyes open, yet as soon as I heard my baby girl cry out, I was awake and alert again. All that mattered to me was that she was OK.

There is nothing scarier than seeing your child in distress. You act on maternal/paternal instinct, doing whatever you have to do to fix it. The feeling of having no control over the situation is painful, to say the least.

We are very lucky that Sofia is fine, and now we know that a febrile seizure is not life-threatening. I wish someone had told me that, but I probably would have reacted the same way in any case. And if it's not that, it's something else, because there are many other things that could, can and will happen that we as parents will have to deal with. Looking back, I know we did everything right and that makes me feel good, like maybe I can handle this parenting thing after all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They keep growing, even when they are sick

Wow, I write in my blog one day and the next thing I know it's almost a month later. But I have a good reason.

My husband and I recently had our first experience with sickness. I have decided that there is little that is worse than a sick baby. What began as a cold turned in to tonsillitis and a double ear infection, which meant Sofia's first round of antibiotics and trip to the ER. She wasn't herself. She didn't play, she slept all day and she completely lost her appetite. And the worst were the nights she kept us up screaming, trying to tell us she was hurting but we had no idea where or how to fix it.

Luckily she's a trooper and she pulled through after two long weeks and finally she's back to her playful, silly self. I missed it so much. Suddenly she's doing things she didn't do before she was sick, and every little accomplishment is that much more exciting. She crawls everywhere, stands at the table and bangs. She drops things. On purpose. Then laughs. Oh how she laughs. There is no sound better than a baby's laughter. If you can think of something better, I'll buy you a coffee. There just isn't, and that's final. She gives hugs, blows raspberries, claps her hands and plays with her hair. She's becoming a little princess and I love it.

This week the snow began to melt and we ventured outside for the first time in what feels like years, but is really just weeks. Well, maybe months. It has been a long winter, and it felt so good to breathe in the fresh air. Sofia enjoyed it too, as she rode in her stroller for the first time this year, bigger and more attuned to her surroundings than the last time. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and many more outings this spring and summer. And hoping for no more sickness cause I think we've had enough around here.