I was still feeling a bit queasy Sunday as I headed over to my parents for weekly family time. I was a little irritated that my weekend had gone by with me feeling like hell, as this flu also brought on killer headaches. I tried to focus on being thankful that I had not thrown up and that Amelia hadn't gotten my illness. Then I started pondering what my reaction would be when Amelia does get the flu at some point. I'm one of those people that will gag and be on the brink of vomiting myself when someone does so in front of me. I had been reassured by other mommies that when it's your kid, it's different. Much like being adrenaline charged at a horrible accident scene, you just kind of let your mommy instinct take over and become a puke-cleaning-up machine.
As if to answer my question, Amelia was throwing up by 6:30 p.m. At first, it wasn't so bad. I felt bad for her, I cleaned her up with my mom's help and changed her clothes. There, all better. I recalled how many mommies noted that their kids could hold down breastmilk even when they could hold nothing else down, and since Amelia will not take a pacifier, stuffed toy, blankie, nothing-but-mommy-when-I'm-mad-sad-scared-nervous-just-mommy-all-the-time-dammit, I figured she would feel better if she nursed.
She did. For about twenty minutes. Until it all came back up and then some.
I know, this is my most disgusting post yet.
And yet, while briefly grossed out, I mostly was struck with deep pain and sadness for my poor baby girl. At this point she was crying and sweating, scared and confused at was happening to her little body. And when I say little, I mean it. Amelia has consistently been in the twentieth percentile for her length. Her weight is always good and she consistently grows, she has adorably chubby cheeks, and she is generally healthy. But she's definitely a petite girl and just hours before we had a store clerk ask if she was six months old. She's almost twelve months. To see our little peanut be so sick, again and again-- I counted almost a dozen times that evening-- was more than I could take. By about the eighth or ninth time she got sick, I started crying. My dad hugged me, my mom cleaned her up, we got her comfortable again. About this time it was 9:00 p.m. and my mom announced that she needed to go to bed soon because she would have to get up for work in the morning.
You what now? Work? You aren't calling off to help me with Amelia?
I got that same overwhelming sense of who-in-the-hell-decided-I-can-keep-a-baby-alive that many parents get when they first bring their newborn home from a hospital. I panicked and grilled my mom for details about when I should consider taking Amelia to the E.R., signs of dehydration, what degree temperature is too high, when I should offer her fluids and tylenol. And, when my dad squeezed me as I cried, I wanted to look at them and say-- I can't do this. I'm the kid, you have to take care of me, take care of us. I don't want to do this adult thing anymore, I'm scared, what if I mess up and she gets hurt or worse?
Maybe I sound dramatic, a 30 year old talking about feelings of wanting to revert back to childhood when her own child is ill. All I know is that those feelings were so intense at that moment that recalling them now is bringing me to tears.
I did know that I couldn't ask my parents to call off work, so I had to take a deep breath and be strong for Amelia. And in the back of my freaked out mind, I knew that if she was super ill in the middle of the night, I could call them and still lean on them, ask them to come to my house and help me as I crumbled into a pile of emotion over my sick baby. I headed home, called Jon and asked him to pick up some pedialyte, wine, and candy pumpkins, scooped Amelia up as she started getting sick the second we pulled into the garage, and made up a little sick station in front of the TV, complete with blankets, pillows, and garbage can. We stayed up till 11:30 watching Despicable Me, waking once to be rocked again and take a sip of pedialyte that thankfully stayed down and then up for the day at her usual 6:30 a.m. Amazingly, as if nothing ever happened the night before:
Where in the hell are those damn candy pumpkins?