Thursday, May 27

My Poor Sick Baby

Milo got sick on Tuesday. He's still not 100 percent, but it's clear that he feels much better. But Tuesday was rough. He had a cold, maybe. Something was filling his nose and throat with mucus and making it hard for him to breathe. He kept choking and gagging, coughing, trying to clear it out. But he couldn't. His little eyes would open wide and my heart would stop every time he couldn't catch his breath. He slept most of the day, or would just lay there, his eyes half shut and his mouth hanging open, completely worn out.

I was truly worried about him. For the first time since I became a mom, I felt profoundly responsible for him. Milo needed someone to care for him and try to make him feel better, and that person was me. I was the one making the calls and deciding whether to give him saline drops or if he needed his nose sucked out with that bulb thing. I've sort of felt this before, this surprise that I am the decision maker.

Mommy, does Milo need a hat? Is he warm enough? Do you think he's hot, Mommy? Could he be hungry?

I don't know. Your guess is as good as mine.

At first it was overwhelming, making the decisions, but with every day that goes by, I do get better at guessing what he needs. Sort of. But this sickness thing just about killed me. In some ways, I feel like I caused him to feel that way.

It may have been completely unrelated; it may have been coincidence. But I believe it was not. On Monday, Milo received his first two vaccines. I believe that the vaccines threw his immune system into overdrive, making his tiny little body think it needed to fight off something that wasn't there. Or, the vaccines messed with his immune system, making it easy for any little germ to actually give him symptoms. Or maybe he was literally responding to the vaccines themselves, a type of allergic reaction or something. The doctor's office told me emphatically that Milo's symptoms were in no way related to the vaccines. But I'm not so sure.

So why do I feel responsible? Because I decided which vaccines to give him, and when he should get them. I am the one who has been reading about the vaccinations and making the call on going against the medical grain and putting Milo on an alternate vaccine schedule. And I do believe in vaccines as a general rule, but I hate to see Milo feel so bad. Maybe if he had been a little older before starting the immunizations, or maybe if I had been eating healthier, he would have gotten even more nutrient-rich breastmilk. Maybe I could have prevented this.

On top of that, seeing him get that shot just about broke my heart. His face got all red, and he screamed, loudly, over and over. It couldn't even be described as a cry, it was pure screaming, from pain and shock. I immediately started crying. I picked him up after the shot and held him closer than I ever have, and he just buried his face into my shoulder and continued to scream. He did calm down in about five minutes, but continued to sigh in distress for another twenty. Three days later, I still feel like crying about it.

So all this? This is parenthood, isn't it?


Linda and Matthew said...

I remember how awful I felt the first time Charlotte got sick. It was terrible, knowing that she felt bad and there was nothing I could do about it. I still get sad when she's clearly uncomfortable and all I can do is cuddle her.

What I can tell you, though, is that even when I thought she would NEVER get better, she always did. And then she was her smiling, mischevious, cutie-pie of a girl again, like nothing ever happened. Kids get sick and it sucks, but it just means that their immune systems are doing what they're supposed to do.

I wouldn't worry too much about the vaccines. I know it's a hot button topic for some, so I'll refrain from expressing too much opinion, but you are doing far more good for your son by vaccinating him then punishing yourself for making the decision to do so. Charlotte has received every vaccine that was recommended (although we debated back and forth about chicken pox) and with the exception of one spiked fever a few days after a set of shots, she has been fine. Milo will bounce back and won't even remember the shot in the leg. Charlotte takes out her frustration on the nurse giving the shot, not me, so I get to be the rescuer. She loves me. It's pretty sweet.

Milo's lucky to have you as a mommy. Just trust your instincts!

Lindsay said...

It's so very hard the first time they get sick. And I'm afraid it doesn't get much easier. Seeing them suffer at all is heartbreaking. I don't know who said it, but I feel like I truly understand the quote that "having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside your body."

But rest assured you're doing more than a lot of parents do for their babies. You're breastfeeding--yay for you!! You're researching and spreading out vaccines instead of just going with what's popular. You are doing the best that you can do--and that is all Milo needs. :)

Hang in there--this parenthood thing can be tough. And if you need someone to commiserate with on the vaccine thing, you know you can call me. My doc's office has been less than supportive, but I still keep fighting for what I think is best for Gavin. Unfortunately, I'm afraid with all this new medical legislation, we won't have the alternative schedule choice much longer.

Anonymous said... has some great info on vaccines (and other stuff). As a nurse, I see medicine work, but still like to question things--such as vaccines. I'll have you know, I haven't had a single patient with the Swine Flu/H1N1... Makes me question a lot more of what the government/media feeds us. I agree with Lindsay--you doing your own research is more than others do. I really enjoy your blog.

Christy Rice

katy said...

sick babies are definitely a sad thing and I know how hard it is to decide what's best.

without going into a lot of detail/debate I think you definitely did the right thing getting him vaccinated. don't feel like that caused the sickness, I think it was most likely just a coincidence.