This past weekend, my little girl experienced the third fever of her life. I would grade myself a B- or C+ in terms of how I reacted and performed this time (the last time she developed a fever, I would give my behavior a D). On Saturday night/Sunday morning, the little Apple woke up around midnight, clapping and talking (nonsensical words, of course). While she lay happily looking up at the ceiling and stringing together made-up syllables and sounds, her parents tried miserably (and ultimately, unsuccessfully) to get back to sleep.
I finally picked her up after half an hour and went to the rocking chair to rock and sing her to sleep. I noticed she felt very warm under the armpits and on her forehead, but was too tired to turn on the lights, fish out the thermometer, and take her temperature. Then, she actually slumped against me like a lump of dough while in the rocking chair and let me rock her, another rare and unusual occurrence. I didn’t think anything of it, and anyway, I had her sleeping soundly again after an hour or so, so I just chalked it up to prolonged jet lag.
On Sunday morning, she felt extremely hot to the touch. Her skin appeared flushed, her eyes a bit glassy and glazed over, and the thermometer told us she was 102 degrees. WHOA! This came out of nowhere. The only thing I could think of was that she had been exposed to cold air the day (and the night before) – she routinely kicks off her blankets and resists all attempts to cover her.
The good news was, I didn’t panic. I calmly gave her some Homeopathy (Aconite 30C, whose symptoms are high fever with sudden onset, especially after exposure to cold). I explained to my husband and mother-in-law that fevers were a good thing. That without fevers, we’d never be able to fight off any infections. That there was no reason to worry (yet) and that we just needed to monitor her for the next couple days to see if any other symptoms developed or if the fever went higher.
The bad news was, a couple hours later, I panicked. After her midday nap, her temperature went a little higher and she seemed to become listless and lethargic. I gave her a dose of Belladonna 30C (the other good Homeopathic remedy for babies). I called my sister-in-law, the MD. I gave her another dose of Aconite 30C. I stuck a Calcium Lactate pill up her butt (calcium breaks fevers). I mashed up a Calcium Lactate pill in her water bottle and gave it to her to drink (not of course, the same one that I stuck up her butt). I got into a big fight with my husband that started by him telling me that I should be more careful about taking her outdoors with little to no clothes on, and ended with me calling him an “a–hole.” Then I cried a little bit in secret, defiantly wiping away tears that I really didn’t want to shed.
When I analyzed this little fight later, I realized that I had interpreted his statement to me as finger-pointing and telling me that her fever was my fault. I also realized that I was already feeling inwardly guilty about potentially causing her fever, which caused me to react defensively. And lastly, that both my husband and I love our baby so much that every little fever, illness, or minute that she spends “under the weather” gets magnified 10x in our minds. We start making up doomsday scenarios (in my mind, I’m thinking, “She’s got a hidden internal infection, bladder infection, ear infection, pneumonia, etc.”) and then we become hypersensitive to what each other says. And little comments blow up into big assignments of blame. And insignificant arguments become huge fights. Molehills become mountains.
In the end, her fever broke around 4am this morning, without any trips to the doctor, or any further hurt feelings. Since I threw the kitchen sink at her (in terms of trying every home remedy in my arsenal), I have no idea what it was that ended up working. I resolved to be more patient the next time she develops a fever and to be more methodical about giving remedies. My hubby and I apologized to each other and resolved to be more sensitive to each other’s stress during these times. And once again, I am filled with the knowing that motherhood has got to be one of the most heartbreaking jobs on the planet!! How have women done it for all these millennia without cracking under the strain? How do other mommies out there handle it when their precious little ones get sick? I would dearly love to know. Please do tell.