Last weekend my two-year-old was sick in one of the worst possible ways. It was bad enough that he had whatever cold virus was going around at the moment–he was coughing pretty badly already–but when a child gets a stomach bug on top of that, the 24 hours or so of relative dehydration is a nightmare. My poor boy coughed all night long last Sunday night, and when it got so miserable he would just cry that pathetic it-hurts-and-I’m-sick-and-I-hate-this cry I went in and snuggled with him while he coughed. And when, an hour or so later, I got up to feed my baby girl after being liberally coughed on by a sick, sick toddler, I figured the chances of the baby staying well weren’t great.
She didn’t. And none of us are really surprised. And I’m afraid that having a sick baby, in and of itself, is one of those things that doesn’t really get better–it doesn’t matter how many kids you have. On the other hand, managing the sick baby situation does get better with practice; here’s why.
1)I know how to suction. My oldest had RSV at 6 weeks old and spent 5 days at Primary Children’s Hospital; the nurses there taught me how to suction a baby’s nose correctly. (I often wonder if we could have avoided the hospital if I had known that several days earlier.) Suctioning didn’t work for my middle two, which was frustrating, but this baby is like my oldest. I can suction her before I feed her and get gobs of green stuff out, and I know it makes a difference in both her breathing and her eating. I LOVE having something I can do to help.
2)I’ve had sick babies before. No, it doesn’t get a ton better, but at least I know that babies do get sick–and they also get well. It’s tiring, and they’re fussier and won’t eat as well, but that 5 days at Primary’s was the exception, not the norm.
3)It’s easier to accept that it takes time. A virus is a virus, and it has to run its course. That’s not fun, but repetition does get you used to it, so to speak.
You may have guessed that this post is my way of staying positive; managing it does get better, yes, BUT…
I still really wish my 17-day-old baby girl weren’t sick.