Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Surprisingly, my first sick baby
I didn't talk much about it to my friends when a stomach virus went through the house a few weeks ago. In 13 years of being a parent, I've never been so grossed out. I think it will help me to write about it here.
You can stop reading if you want to; I won't mind.
It started with Turtle, poor little 17-month-old baby. I've never had a kid so young throw up. I've always figured breastfeeding helps protect their tummies from vomit-inducing germs. In this case, although he breastfeeds a lot, he got sick. I discovered he was sick when he threw up all over me in the middle of the night.
This post is not going to encourage people to co-sleep. I can only say that a month later, he's still sleeping with us, so that's the only endorsement I can muster at present.
It was mostly potatoes. I had been out that evening, so my husband fed him. Must have been potatoes. Turtle retched about five times before he was done, me trying to keep it all in the same place — on me. It was stinky. It was voluminous. I'm pretty sure some of it came out his nose.
I had to wake up my husband. (!) We totally stripped the bed. Put in as much laundry as we could. I threw Turtle's footed, fleece pajamas onto the porch, out into the frozen night. They were coated with potato puke, and I couldn't deal with it yet. (By morning, they had turned into a puke popcicle. Kind of made me wonder what I had been thinking the night before.)
Poor Turtle cried and cried. He threw up lots more, much more than you'd think a baby could. The only thing that comforted him was nursing, and then he'd throw it up. I didn't deny him, however. I thought it best he keep hydrated, even if he kept it down for only 20 minutes.
After a couple hours, he still couldn't settle back to sleep. Not in bed, not in my arms, rocking, sitting still; nothing worked. In desperation, I set him on the floor by the toilet for a moment. He instantly fell asleep. Literally, the second his head hit the floor, he was out. Curious, right? When I'm sick, I often feel best lying in that same spot.
I watched him for a few minutes. I took a picture. He kept sleeping, so I didn't want to move him. Or leave him alone. I got a pillow and blanket and lay down beside him. I got about 90 minutes of fitful sleep that night.
I ate almost nothing for two days. It's possible that I had the virus, too, and didn't eat enough to get sick. Or it's possible I was just too grossed out to eat. But as the rest of the family got sick, in turn, I did not. That was the saving grace at the end of the ordeal.