Friday, June 1, 2012

Patience and a Very Sick Toddler

Apparently I am either a.) not as patient as I used to be, or b.) not as patient as I thought I was. I suspect that it's a combination of both. The past few weeks have been VERY trying, and I have not handled much of it the way I would like to have. The way that I feel I should have.

 Hailey is 17 months old and she is as independent as ever. She has always been very opinionated, and headstrong. A good word to describe her would be spirited. If things aren't going the way she wants them to, she is quick to let everyone know. Sometimes that means whining or fussing, sometimes it means crying, and a lot of the time it means a full on temper tantrum. Thankfully those only last an average of 4 minutes or so... sometimes less, rarely more, She usually gets over it as quickly as she got upset. But those 4 minutes are usually pretty annoying, Especially in public, and especially in a quiet place. She has been having tantrums for almost as long as she has been walking and talking (which has now been over 7 months!), but lately it has gotten so much worse. She seems more determined than ever, and telling her no sets her off.

 A good example? In a restaurant where she is tired of sitting in the high chair and wants to get down. At home, when she is done eating, we just let her down. At the restaurant, she is usually stuck in either the high chair or the "big girl chair", or in a booth next to us. A booth works really well because she can walk around a little bit, get up and down without bothering anyone, but she is still pretty contained. Unfortunately a booth isn't always an option. When she starts asking to get down and we tell her no, the drama starts. Sometimes distraction works, sometimes it doesn't. And as all of you moms out there know, all bets are off if she is, God forbid, tired! Which brings me to part 2 of why these past few weeks have been hard.

She has had a cough for the past 4 weeks or so. It wasn't a horrible cough, and it really only bothered her at night. She literally had NO other symptoms, and I talked to several of my friends about it and all of them said they thought it was allergies and that I should just ignore it. So I did. When we went to the dr for something completely unrelated two weeks ago, she took one look down her throat and said she needed antibiotics asap. The dr told me that she had a lot of yucky stuff in her throat that shouldn't be there and when I told her how long the cough had been going on, she told me that from the level of severity she was seeing and the fact that it had been going on for as long as it had, meant that it was getting worse.

We started a round of antibiotics on a Monday and assumed it would be fine. But she got worse. Every single day she was fussier than the next. Little things just set her off out of nowhere. This past week especially, she would be playing and then all of a sudden she would just look up and start to bawl. And her cough got worse as well. By the next Saturday night, I knew she was not ok. I actually considered taking her to the E.R. My son's bunny had died earlier that day and he literally spent the whole day sobbing. We went swimming earlier that day, and by bedtime, she was gasping and had a weird rattle in her chest. Her breathing was double the normal speed and I was a mess. I felt like a bad mom because my son needed me and wanted to be comforted over the death of his bunny, but my baby girl was struggling to breathe and wouldn't let me put her down. I had no way to be there for my son the way I needed to. I naturally spent most of my time and attention trying to make the baby better. We ultimately did not go to the E.R. but that was a very bad night for me.

Monday was labor day so we had to wait an excruciating two extra days to take her to the dr. But by the time we finally got there, she had a high fever and was lethargic. The dr said that yes, the antibiotics had loosened up the gunk in her lungs but that it had only done half of it's job since it was also supposed to CLEAR it. She never gave me an official diagnosis or a name for whatever it was that she was dealing with, but she agreed that it wasn't good. She prescribed what she called, "a baby z-pack" and said that if she wasn't completely better withing 10 days, that we were to come back asap. By the time we got home from the dr, Hailey was completely out of it. Her fever was so high that she literally just laid in my arms and whimpered. She didn't respond to questions or talk on her own, she ate nothing at all that entire day, and she cried if I put her down for any reason (even to go to the bathroom). I have never seen her like that and my heart hurt for her. This is a toddler that never wants to be held for more than 30 seconds at a time and never ever wants to snuggle because she is much too busy climbing on and destroying things. It was surreal.

The next day she was out of her fever coma, and it had gone down by a few degrees, but she was still miserable. This day was less fun though, because she didn't WANT to snuggle anymore. She wanted to play. So she kept trying to play and would come back crying every five minutes or so. She was basically a whiny, hot, miserable puddle of toddler. She didn't eat anything that day either, She drank a few bottles, but that was all. By that night, we were all stressed. I hadn't even gotten to eat because Hailey wouldn't let me put her down. I actually petitioned my Facebook friends to pray for my sanity because I was struggling.

Thank God this morning when she woke up, the fever was gone. I hadn't given her any advil since the night before at bedtime, and she was better when she woke up. For the first time in two days, she actually looked over at me and said, "Hi" when she opened her eyes the first time, as she has always done in the past. For the past two days, all I got was crying. No greeting, no sleepy morning smile. Just a sad whimpering baby who definitely didn't want to be awake at all. She still has her cough, but today she was back to normal. She wasn't exactly cheerful, and still got upset over little stuff, but now I can fathom a light at the end of the tunnel. My baby is finally on the mend. Two weeks is a LONG time to be as cranky as she has been and my patience has all but gone. Thank you God for putting us at the end of this exhausting journey. The end is in sight. Maybe my cheerful, smiley, happy baby isn't too far behind...

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