Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teething, ear infections, runny noses and the croup

Yes, as you may have guessed from the title of this blog post, today did not go well. Mom went home last night, Jim doesn't get home til nearly midnight tonight, and so, it's just me and Miss Annika. The fates that be decided to use this opportunity to introduce me to a part of motherhood that I haven't seen much of yet: the sick baby.

It all started shortly before my last blog post. Annika had gone to sleep around 7, but it was 9:15 and she was awake again. I suspected that it was teething and hoped that with a little Tylenol, some rocking and some singing, Annie would feel comfortable enough to sleep the rest of the night. But, of course, I was wrong. It took about an hour to get her back to sleep. I noticed that while she was crying, she was pulling at her left ear. When she finally went back to sleep, I looked this up on-line and learned that it could be a sign of teething. Or it could be a sign that she has an ear infection. Great. But what could I do at that point? So, I went to sleep.

At 12:30, poor Annie was awake again, uncomfortable. I was so sleepy that I decided to see if she was also so sleepy that she would also fall back asleep. And this worked.

It also worked at 1:30 when she woke up again.

But it did not work at 2:40, when she woke up and was really crying. Interestingly, this was also about the time that the Tylenol would've worn off. So perhaps it really was helping. I'm still not sure. Anyway, it took another hour to get her back to sleep. In the end, out of ideas, I gave her one of her old "soothie" pacifiers from the hospital that we hadn't used in the months. (Annie's a thumb sucker but wouldn't suck her thumb last night, presumably because her gums hurt). I didn't put the pacifier in her mouth; I just handed it to her. She examined it carefully, over and over again, as if it was the greatest and most interesting thing in the world. I also put her "lovie" blanket (the soft pink mini-blanket with the hippo head attached) next to her. She stopped crying almost immediately and within a few minutes she was asleep again. I have no idea why this worked, except that I suspect the Tylenol finally kicked in.

Annie then slept til her normal waking hour of 6:00, when she was quite hungry and took down her bottle. I decided to call the doctor to ask about the ear infection. I figured the doctor would just realize that he was dealing with a new parent and tell me that it was teething and send me on my way. But instead, he suspected an ear infection and said that I should bring her in. I should also mention that Annie has had a runny nose for a few days, probably from a cold that I also seem to be fighting.

I haven't mentioned yet that I just started my job less than 2 months ago, and already had to call in sick from work on Monday because I was awake all night with a stomach bug. This didn't look great, since it was the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, but I didn't have a choice. Today, I was supposed to go to a conference in Boston that had required attendance for everyone in my office.

But again, I really had no choice. The pediatrician needed to see Annie and that meant that we had to go. We got the first appointment of the day, at 9am. I called my boss and explained what was going on. She was very understanding - she has two kids of her own.

The doctor took us quickly and ruled out the ear infection. He looked at her gums and thought that her top gums were definitely swollen, and that there was definitely a tooth coming through on the bottom. He recommended an aspirator for the runny nose and Tylenol for the teething.  So I brought Annie to day care, and then got on the T and went to work.

At 1:30, during my lunch break, I got a call from the director of the daycare center. Although Annie was "fine" and I shouldn't worry, she told me that Annie had a cough that sounded raspy, like a seal. She mentioned that she had heard this type of cough before in other kids and in her experience it didn't go away "by itself" without prescription medicine. She mentioned that it sounded like a croup-like cough. I'm not entirely sure why she called, because she wasn't asking me to come pick Annie up. Maybe she was just covering herself, in case it got worse? I don't know. Anyway, she said she would watch it and if it got worse, I would need to pick Annie up.

So I freaked out again, because I have a friend whose son was rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance because of the croup, since he was struggling to breathe.  Should I leave work? What if tonight, Annie gets the croup and I don't know enough to call an ambulance? I called the pediatrician's office again. They said not to worry - just get a vaporizer and elevate the side of the crib mattress where her head is. They said that if the cough gets worse, I should just call them and they can get Annie in for another appointment tomorrow.

So I went back into the conference, stayed til 4, and then picked up Annie. She was just fine. No cough at all. She was just tired. The day care teacher said that she only coughed when she woke up from naps, which makes sense for a kid with a runny nose, since all the post-nasal drip builds up in the throat. But I got a vaporizer anyway and set it up. It's actually quite nice. I gave Annie a nice long bath with the special "vapor" soap that is supposed to clear up your sinuses (it smells a little like Vicks). She had a good dinner (peaches and rice cereal), didn't want her last bottle, and then went to sleep. And she's been sleeping now for about 30 minutes. Let's hope it continues.

No comments: