Ahem…serious post ahead…
I saw this blog topic on twitter a few days ago and only one moment came to mind. Sure, parenthood isn’t easy. There are many ups and downs. There is a loss of patience…frequently. There moments that I have dreaded (trying to explain death to a four year, for one) and there stretches of time that I don’t look forward to repeating (hello potty training!). But the hardest times for me are when I see my child sick and my child in pain.
Roughly 2 years ago, when Livie was 3 weeks old, she woke up in the middle of the night with a fever. It wasn’t a very high fever (at first), but there was something very off about her. She was VERY irritable. She was warm to my touch. Call it mom gut, but I knew something was wrong.
We called the Dr. as soon as possible and after dropping B off at preschool we rushed to see the Dr. (they are amazing and have walk-in hours). When we got there her temperature was 102.1, which is VERY high for a newborn. Because nobody else was sick, her Dr. sent us immediately to the ER. He was very grave about the situation. He prepped me for what was about to happen, but mentally I was not registering it. I really had hopes that the situation was being over exaggerated.
When we got to the hospital the Drs and nurses wasted no time. Our sweet little girl needed to have a spinal tap and we had just sit there and watch. What was even WORSE was that the first sample the Dr took ended up having blood in it — so they had to do it AGAIN. I’m not quite sure how I survived that moment. I would give anything to be sitting there in her place. It took ever fiber of my being just to sit in the chair and watch – as she screamed. I mentally held her hand. Kept telling her it was going to be OK. She was only 3 weeks old, but she had been part of me for more than 9 months. Watching this physically hurt.
In the end, L ended up testing positive for Late Onset Group-B Strep (GBS). This is something they test the mother for late in pregnancy (I tested positive for it) that doesn’t affect the mother, but can get into the baby’s bloodstream causing a bacterial blood infection. It is very rare for babies to have a late onset infection. According the Dr., about 80% of the time it is not caught and turns into spinal meningitis (which is why they do the spinal tap). Thankfully, in L’s case we caught it IN TIME. She did have to stay in the hospital for 10 days for many rounds of antibiotics (through an IV). I stayed with her the entire time – only leaving to shower and use the rest room (the hospital food was surprisingly good!).
It was a challenging 10 days (but also some wonderful ones, I got my first REAL smile from here there), but honestly NOTHING could ever compare to that moment. A moment that defined me as a mother, that made me realize that I could not protect my children as much I wanted to. A moment that exposed my vulnerabilities, and simultaneously gave me faith. A moment that made me both hate and appreciate modern medicine.
I am very, very, very thankful that is the biggest medical scare my children have had. Not everyone is so blessed. Honestly, my hardest moment is NOTHING compared to some of my friends and famil and I am so thankful for that. I am also thankful that her Dr took me seriously when I said something is very wrong. Most of all, I am thankful that Livie is a happy, healthy, and boisterous 2-year old and that she will NEVER remember going through this experience. However, I would do it again in heartbeat if it meant that my daughter could live a healthy and happy life!
Even if you don’t answer in the comments, here’s something to think about this weekend. What has been YOUR hardest moment — either as a parent, or an athlete, or a daughter/son/sibling/spouse? Would you live through it again? Was has it meant to you?