Well, we made it to five months. But the inevitable, even for a breastfed baby, finally did come to pass. Julia got sick. We survived almost two weeks with Mr. Poole’s family, amongst the colder weather, sniffling, and sneezing coming from all sorts of family members and friends, but then three days after coming home, that suspicious-sounding cough appeared, and within two days, not only was Julia’s cold in full swing, but I had it, too! So, it was an extra-special challenge to take care of a little cranky sickness monster, when I was feeling achy and fatigued myself.
But we persevered. When she got to the point where she couldn’t breathe through her nose (making nursing extremely frustrating), and I desperately needed sleep, I called the hubby at work and he was home within 30 minutes. What a blessing! Side note: When I was considering marriage, I have to admit, I mostly just thought about what kind of a husband Mr. Poole would be. But in God’s providence, I also landed a guy who would be the most wonderful father I could imagine! End of side note.
We’re still in the thick of it, although I’m hoping we’re on the upswing. So without further ado, here are the lessons I’ve learned thus far.
1. You don’t have to go to the doctor the first day she coughs.
I did, which I suppose was the typical, safe, first-time-mom thing to do, but I wish I’d waited to spend my $20 copay until her symptoms were more than a little gunk in her nose. Later, after she’d thrown up a lot and was running a fever, that would have been a better time to take her in.
2. It’s okay to actually call the pediatrician if you’re worried.
I’d never called an actual doctor before (as in, “press 2 if you’d like to receive a callback from a physician”) until the night I went into labor and was calling to ask when I should go to the hospital. And I honestly hadn’t thought about calling Julia’s pediatrician about her fever until someone on facebook recommended it. I ended up calling because although I’d taken her in earlier in the week, she’d since then thrown up big time on several occasions and was running a 100° fever. Talking to the doctor who’d already seen her was great peace of mind. And there was no copay involved.
3. Buy baby tylenol before your baby actually has a fever.
The lady you saw frantically running into Walgreens at 6pm searching the shelves for the one remaining bottle of baby tylenol? The one who was hurriedly calling her mother on the way home to figure out what dose to give her 18-pound baby, who was meanwhile throwing up all over her daddy at home? Yeah, that was me.
4. Sick babies who are crying really hard sometimes start coughing really hard. Sick babies who cough really hard throw up really hard.
It’s a fact of life. And then, the medicine and milk you just tried to give them is all over the crib, and you have to wash and dry the sheets and the mattress cover before they can lie down in their bed again. And you have to wonder whether or not to give them more medicine. And you have to give them an early bath to get the vomit out of their hair. So do WHATEVER it takes to get them to stop crying and you won’t have any of these problems!
5. Let sleeping sick babies lie.
I run a pretty tight schedule around here, and this involves occasionally waking Julia up if it’s time for her nap to be over. But when a baby is sick, just let them sleep. They need more sleep for their little bodies to fight the germs wreaking havoc in there.
6. Your baby might not eat as much at each feeding, but she’ll want to eat more often.
This was a surprise. Julia is a champion eater, as evidenced by her 96th percentile standing for weight. I wasn’t expecting her to get tired from eating so quickly at each feeding. But then it made sense for her to go from eating every three hours to every two and a half during the day.
7. Be prepared for your previously perfect schedule to go nuts.
This is kind of a result of lessons five and six. Last night, Julia decided to stay up until 11:15pm, and then wake up at midnight again. And then, she was awake (as in, playing, wanting milk, talking, and crying, but not acting sleepy) from three until five am. Thank goodness for Mr. Poole – I took the first hour shift, he took the second. And then she slept in until nine, and would have slept longer if I hadn’t woken her up. Okay, so I broke rule #5 there, but I was afraid of having another horrible night if we let the madness continue!
8. Pray for wisdom and peace.
I feel like I do a lot of this these days – “Lord, I need your wisdom!” and “Please give me peace in this moment!” I’m so thankful that God answers these prayers!
9. Ask facebook for help.
Note: since I posted this the first time, I switched around the order of these last two. Prayer comes first. Asking facebook comes second. But I tell yah, there’s no better human advice than that which comes from the mommy friends in your life! I actually have a friends group called, “mommy friends,” and so when I posted a status asking for wisdom about what to do about the throwing-up-the-medicine problem, I only made the post visible to my friends who might actually have wisdom to give. That way, I don’t spam my entire friends list with baby questions. Also, I belong to a few mommy groups on fb that have people asking questions and giving answers all the time, but I instead preferred to hear just from my actual friends. Within a few hours I had almost 30 responses from some pretty amazing ladies. It was such an encouragement, and I felt so much better about the whole situation!
10. It’s okay to just sit in front of the computer and let your little one watch a baby video.
I am not a fan of TV. I think I have personally turned on our television three times in the past four years. I definitely don’t want my child growing up addicted to media. But when she’s just sick and cranky, all she wants sometimes is to snuggle up next to mommy and watch a video. And that’s okay. I’m learning to enjoy these precious moments, however difficult they are!
Having a sick little girl is harder than I thought it would be. But I remember that “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 1 Corinthians 4:17