Sick Baby: This is ‘Mom Life’

What a weekend we had. Poor Little C has been sick since Wednesday with a high fever and yesterday she started complaining that her tongue and neck/throat was hurting. Her poor little tonsils have white spots on them and she cries every time she tries to eat something. Needless to say since she has been sick the majority of our days have been spent sitting on the couch nursing while watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins. When she is sick I feel so helpless and powerless and I want so badly to make her feel better but I just can’t and it breaks my heart. In addition to breaking my heart, Little C is also having a miserable time sleeping. She has been waking up each night around 4am or 5am and then is unable to go back to sleep because she is so uncomfortable. Due to her nightly wake-ups I’ve been getting very little sleep as well and the last five or six days have felt surreal and dreamlike thanks to my minimal sleep. We will be headed back to the doctor today in the afternoon (on Wednesday her doctor told us to bring her back in if she wasn’t better by Sunday night).

Little C spent the first two years of her life with a nanny at our place, so she wasn’t around a lot of kids and was almost never sick.  All of that changed once she went to preschool. All of a sudden our normally healthy little girl was catching cold after cold, flus, fevers, rashes. I have asked her doctor numerous times if this is normal, for her to be sick so much, and have been reassured that she is just building up her immune system but I still feel like I’m somehow doing something wrong, like I’m failing her….and that sense of failure is made worse by the well-intentioned comments from friends like “that can’t be normal for her to be sick so much” or “she is always sick, she must have a weakened immune system”.

When Little C gets sick it’s doubly difficult because she can not go to preschool. This means that we have one of two choices, take time off from work or hire someone to care for her while we are gone. As much as I would love to be able to stay home with her and comfort her, missing work is hard and Big C and I often find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. Thankfully her old nanny is usually free and comes to watch her, but of course that too comes with it’s own issues since we are then paying for both preschool and the nanny at the same time.

These are the things that you don’t think about much before having a baby. You don’t ruminate on how sad and helpless you will feel when they are in pain or uncomfortable and you can not do anything about it. You don’t contemplate how you will work when they are sick, or who will watch them. You don’t think about the guilt that will eat you alive because you are so torn between work and your baby. I’m lucky that my work is very flexible and that I can work from home, but if I’m home Little C wants me to hold and nurse her the entire time so it’s hard to focus on my work the way that I need to to be effective. This is mom life. This is the darker side of parenthood, the side that makes your heart hurt and makes you want to curl up in a ball. I function best with structure, with normalcy and routines. When Little C is sick my routines are thrown off, normalcy is completely out the window, and I tend to not function very well especially when she is sick for days on end. I’m so looking forward to her feeling better not only for her own sake but for mine as well. Today she will be going back to the doctor to have her throat checked and ensure that we haven’t missed something since we brought her in last Wednesday. Hopefully she will start to feel better soon and life around here will return to status quo; mommy needs a break!