My Baby, She Sniffles

Growing up, I was what you would call a "sick kid." I'll spare you the sob-story details here, but if you want a brief recap, here it is (see #4). Throughout my various stays in the hospital, I watched my mom exhibit what amounts to rabid lioness protection of her wee baby cub (me). She kept doctors and nurses who treated me roughly far, far away from my bedside. She asked numerous questions about every blood draw, test, and procedure my doctors wanted to perform on me. She held my hand as IVs were inserted in my veins, slept by my hospital bed every night, and almost always kept a smile on her face (at least in my presence), while on the inside she was most likely sick with worry and exhausted from sleep deprivation.

I had attributed her behavior to what my sister and I affectionately call our mother's obsessive compulsive motherhood disorder. You see, my mother still asks me to sit on her lap. (No, I'm not kidding.) Up until this year, she still filled our childhood stockings for us to rip through on Christmas morning. And she still spoils us as if we were children for our birthdays. Truly, my mother should have had about 10 more children, so she could have divided up some of her attention instead of focusing it entirely on my sister and me.

So, I never understood her perspective on being the mother of a sick child. Of being that fierce protector. Of staying up long nights by my bedside, and doing anything she could think of to make me smile when I was having a particularly bad day.

That is, until this weekend. I now know what it's like to mother a sick (albeit on a much smaller scale) child. Isabella has contracted her first cold.

There's nothing more pathetic than a sick 7th month-old. On Sunday, her first full day of sickness, she woke up in a great mood, but with a nose so congested, it took a 10-minute battle with the nasal aspirator to clean it out so she could breathe better. She was coughing a lot. And sneezing a lot. And while her general personality was the same as it always is, there were times when I would look at her, and the big brown eyes gazing back at me were glazed over and drowsy. She was fever-free until Sunday night, when her temperature spiked to about 100 degrees. We gave her some baby Tylenol and put her to bed, but to say it was a rough night would be an understatement.

But while I would have been frustrated and annoyed and cranky to have dealt with the kind of night she had on Sunday under ordinary circumstances, instead I seemed to channel my own mother's nurturing ways. I nursed her in the middle of the night, something I haven't had to do in weeks. I rocked her, and I soothed her back to sleep. I checked on her often, making sure she could breathe properly. And on the inside, my heart was aching for the sick little girl whom I couldn't do a thing to help. It was unlike any other emotion I've ever felt.

Luckily, she woke up yesterday morning feeling much better. She doesn't have a fever anymore. She seems much less congested. She's hardly sneezing at all, and her cough seems to have dissipated for the most part as well.

I know this is the first of dozens of colds she will have over the course of her childhood. I know babies are much stronger than we often think they are, and that by breastfeeding her, I'm providing her with tons of antibodies to fight off disease.

But holy crap. On Sunday, I was scared. Clearly, I need to wipe my child's snot off my shirt and get a grip.

9 Responses to “My Baby, She Sniffles”

  1. # Anonymous Shannon

    Aww! Little sick kids, esp. babies, are heartwrenching. You did just fine, Kristi! Sounds like you had a good role model in your mother.  

  2. # Blogger My Wombinations

    Poor Isabella! I am glad to hear she is feeling a little better and you sound like you were incredible. I totally understand that feeling, though. We have had our first tastes of that this weekend with Samara (first an uncontrollable crying fit that led to seizure-like activity and then a bad reaction to her vaccines) and it is the worst feeling I've had in my life. I assume this gets at least somewhat easier. I hope so anyway.  

  3. # Blogger Michelle

    Aw! You know, Maddy goes to daycare in 3 weeks (Insert loud sobs here) and I'm dreading it for many reasons- but one is that she'll get sick. There are only 4 other kids in the daycare...but one of them is likely to pass on some nasty germ to my little one.!  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    Poor babe! It is so hard to see the little ones sick. I'm glad she's doing better.

    LOL @ "obsessive compulsive motherhood disorder!"  

  5. # Blogger sunShine

    It is scary when they are sick, especially when they can't tell you what hurts or feels bad. When my son was sick with the Hand, Foot and mouth sickness, I slept on the sofa in the den with him so I could keep an eye on him and make sure that he did not stop breathing. SCARY! Glad that she is feeling better.  

  6. # Blogger kenju

    Oh, the poor little dear. I hope she feels better soon, Mom.  

  7. # Blogger sher

    I would have been just as scared, if I was in that situation. Poor Isabella! Poor mom! That sweet little baby sick, very scary! I'm so glad she's better.

    I love the way your mom sounds. :):)  

  8. # Blogger Damselfly

    I'm glad Isabella is feeling better and doesn't have a fever anymore!

    I love the thought/image of your mom asking you to sit on her lap even now....  

  9. # Blogger Shannon

    ahhh well I am so happy that she is feeling better now... and wow what you had to deal with as a kid... amazing...  

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