Last week Mary Virginia was pummeled with a small fever that turned into a big fever that turned into the sort of fever that bulldozes your backyard to build a strip mall. That sort of fever.
You’re probably getting tired of hearing about us getting sick. You and me both.
All Mary Virginia wanted was to be held, so that’s what I did. For nearly 72 uninterrupted hours. It gave us plenty of time for mother-daughter selfies in which I’m wearing the same outfit for three days straight.
It all started Tuesday morning. When Tom left for work, Mary Virginia felt warm-ish and was sort of fussy.
That night she went to bed a little early, and Tom and I high-fived in celebration of the extra time to catch up on Downton Abbey. Two hours later Mary Virginia started screaming obscenities from her crib, and when I felt her hot forehead, I realized I should have gone to bed hours ago.
Since I can be dramatic, I’m going to tell you about my night in bullet format lest I be tempted to exaggerate. I know the exact times because I was texting a friend of mine whose daughter threw up three times the same night. Kids are so convenient.
- 9:48 pm Mary Virginia is inconsolable. I nurse her, she falls asleep.
- 1:28 am Mary Virginia is inconsolable. She feels warm, so I give her Tylenol, nurse her, and put her back in bed.
- 1:47 Mary Virginia is moaning and crying
- Tom checks on her. Still crying.
- 2:00 Still crying. I take her temperature. 104.1
- 2:21 Call the 24-hour nurse line. Try to put her back in bed. Still crying. Her temp is down to 103.8, so the nurse says the Tylenol is working; get some sleep.
- 2:30 She’s still moaning and crying whenever I put her down. Sleeping with me is the only thing she wants, so I pull her into bed with me even though the nurse said to avoid skin-to-skin
- 3:00 Can’t fall asleep. Try to put her back in bed
- 3:06 Our power goes out.
- I’M SORRY, WHAT!? WHY IS THE POWER OUT???
- Mary Virginia is crying. I get back in bed with her.
- Tom calls the power company and demands an answer, as if he’s talking to a server who brought him a well-done steak when he clearly ordered rare.
- 4:10 Can’t fall asleep. Our house feels cold. Start fantasizing about taking her to the doctor.
- 4:15 Power comes back on. Temp is still 104.
- I finally fall asleep, holding Mary Virginia.
The next morning we go to the doctor. I hate taking my kids to the doctor because pediatrician’s offices are not designed for entertainment, they are designed to examine and diagnose children. My pediatrician’s office is made entirely of cinderblocks because nothing else can contain kids getting shots, having their noses wiped, and having to wait OHTHEHORROR.
I also hate going to the doctor because the last time we were there, David laid down and sucked a Cheerio off the floor.
The doctor examined Mary Virginia and checked her ears, tested for flu and took a blood sample. When everything came back negative, she checked for a urinary tract infection. Checking for a urinary tract infection is no big deal; they just need a urine sample. But for the diaper-wearing demographic, a urine sample means a being held down on an exam table while the cool-as-a-cucumber doctor inserts a catheter while you scream and wail until you are red and wet with sweat and tears, and meanwhile, your mother is singing Sanctuary to drown out your brother, who’s screaming that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sticker the nurse gave him is “dirty”.
The catheter didn’t work. Her bladder was totally and completely empty.
By bedtime her fever was down to a manageable 99.3. I put her down and went to bed. I felt likeI had a newborn again; if she was sleeping I felt panicky, like I should be sleeping or eating or just standing up just because of how wonderfully luxurious it feels to be vertical.
Then it was night time and we’re back to bullet points because hyperbole has no place here.
- 1:00 am Mary Virginia wakes up. Feels warm-ish, but not bad. I nurse her, put her back to bed.
- 2:36 Mary Virginia wakes up screaming. Feels really hot. I give her Tylenol and she throws it up.
- I get in bed with her and try to sleep.
- 4:06 Not sure I’ve slept at all. I’m bored so I take this picture.
- 6:01 I doze off and wake up sweating because Mary Virginia is so hot. Since she threw up, I’m worried about giving her medicine. I carry her into our room to ask Tom to help me give her a bath. I undress her and take her temperature, it’s 105.5.
- Tom calls the 24-hour nurse line; the nurse calls the doctor to see if we need to take her to the ER.
- I put a cool washrag on her head and neck and email friends to ask them to pray. I fall asleep holding her while Tom talks to the doctor.
- 7 am Tom comes home with an acetaminophen suppository for Mary Virginia and Venti Starbucks for me. The long night is over.
We’ve had fevers before. Lots of them. But this fever was high, and I think it seemed worse since Mary Virginia would not, could not sleep without her mama holding her, which means Mama didn’t get any sleep.
Sick snuggles are nice, but I much prefer a baby girl who is wriggling to get out of my arms and play play play.
After three days of holding Mary Virginia while I brushed my teeth, used the bathroom, cooked and turned on cartoons for David, she has SO MUCH playing to do. And if you need me, I’ll be waving my arms around because, guess what I can do while Mary Virginia is happily riding that horse? ANYTHING I WANT.