No, no, no, such a little baby should not be getting this sick. They talk about 100 F being a fever in babies (and over 99 F for preemies) under three months and to call the doctor right away if it is over 100.4. It’s 102.4 and getting higher. Normally, for instance with my son, I wouldn’t worry but as my tiny daughter takes a turn for the worse from full blown crying to barely whimpering and not even waking up to eat, I know I should take this seriously. I’m up all night with her while she sleeps for a change, trying to force her to eat some but she doesn’t. I can’t see any symptoms other than the fever which just adds to my worry.
The next morning I’m a complete mess (even more so than normal). I had asked the nanny to come so that I wouldn’t have to bring my son to what I thought would be baby’s dreaded tongued tied procedure. The boy is extra wild this morning asking me the same question over and over while I’m trying to keep my calm. Baby is limp in my arms but at least she nursed a bit in the early am and she is responsive (there was a time last night when I considered going to the ER, constantly texting my mom).
As we are waiting for the nanny to come, I’m serving sonny breakfast but it’s a struggle, everything I suggests get vetoed and even stuff he asks for and I make, he is refusing to eat “try again mommy!” I’m seriously close to tears here. Five minutes before we have to leave and twenty five after the nanny was supposed to show up I realize in a cold sweat that she is probably not coming (she is never this late!). In a panic I try to dress a struggling three year old (yes, I am aware that you don’t want to go in the car, yes shoes are required, no you can’t bring the dog and if you are hungry might I suggest bloody eating??). I’m hoping the staff at the doctor’s office won’t look twice at his pj pants, messy hair and mismatched socks (oh well). Baby girl doesn’t even protest cry when I put her in the car seat (very unlike her).
I call the nanny, near a breakdown, from the car, she overslept (again, has never happened before…I’m so glad she picked today!). I ask if she can please meet us at the doctors. She will do her best to hurry (knowing she is at least 30 minutes away and still in bed, I silently hope for my son to behave, just this once).
As expected the doctor is very concerned but after examining the baby (no tongues being clipped today) she is getting increasingly worried. We are in the midst of potty training our son and he is convincing me that he has to potty twice during the examination AND it is against policy to leave the baby with the doctor or nurse at any point (of course it is!). I hate to be “that mom” but as I dash to the nearest restroom, sick infant and three year old with PJ pants around his ankles, in tow (of course he doesn’t even go “it’s not working mama”) I angry text the nanny twice (and then being me, follow up with a nicer text about where we are exactly so she can find us easily). Little do I know that we have to spend the next several hours at the doctor’s.
When our nanny finally shows up, our boy transforms into a good little boy, playing and sharing his toys in the waiting room (geez, I don’t even have time to worry about all the germs, antibacterial gel anyone?). After an hour or so of hanging out in the exam room while the doctor disappears for minutes at a time (apparently they worry about her “complexion” her very high fever, dehydration and her fatigue fearing they have to send me to the ER), she finally explains that babies under two months old usually get hospitalized (it’s actually another policy). She doesn’t want to make the wrong decision and she knows it won’t be easy for me to drive both kids to the hospital right now and how will I stay the night (I’m pretty sure they don’t allow crazy three year olds to room in) while my husband is out of town?
She just wants to test baby’s urine for a possible UTI, if it’s not that, she fears meningitis and then we have to head straight for the hospital. I apparently have two options here, wait until baby M pees on her own-hoping they can catch some urine or put a catheter in her. I know how uncomfortable the catheter is and baby already hates me after I let them check her anal temp, I pick to wait. The doctor cautions me that is much more accurate with the catheter however so I waiver, texting my mom again. Since I have to decide before she has a chance to answer, I agree to the catheter, praying they won’t hurt my girl. Well, what follows is the biggest struggle to put the dang thing in there, making me question first the nurse and then the doctor’s competence. Baby cries herself into a red hot frenzy as I’m trying to hold her head and arms while trying not to cry myself as doctor mumbles about everything being so extremely small and delicate.
So, first we have to wait for the preliminary results of the urine test (which has to be collected TWICE because they didn’t get enough the first time) and then we have to wait in order to see what to do next (hospital or not). I get to take baby back in the waiting room while we wait for urine results and there I find my son who has befriended the whole nurse staff. He is greeting patients and their parents, handing out stickers and showing kids the toys and books, waving goodbye and tidying up the waiting room after each kid. They love him and the secretary jokingly exclaims “he is hired”. I can’t help smiling proudly, my little helper!
Urine analysis comes back positive (poor baby, UTI are no joke, I would know, had enough of them) so luckily no hospital but I have to be on standby until the full report of bacteria comes back. Since they can’t take any risks they shove a huge syringe full of antibiotics in my tiny infant’s thigh. Her silent open mouth scream says it all. Then we have to wait another TWO hours to make sure she doesn’t experience any weird side effects. It’s not easy being a mom sometimes AND we get to do it all over again tomorrow for the second dose! I have to promise to take baby to the ER if she does not get any better over the next 24 hours. We say goodbye to the poor nanny who didn’t even get to have lunch but spent hours in a doctor’s office waiting room (without even being sick and probably on an empty stomach sans breakfast and having to deal with my son and ME). When we come home, operation juggling an energetic preschooler and monitoring a very sick infant is in full effect.
Before my son goes to bed that night he asks “mama, I love going to the doctor, can we go every day?”