Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dear Zoe,

Today is not another month milestone. I just needed to write you and tell you how much I love you.

Two days ago you had a fever. I changed my appointment for my annual and your Daddy and I took you to see your pediatrician. He told us you had a sore throat and to give you Tylenol to fight the fever. No biggie. I went on to my annual and ended up discussing when we're going to start trying to give you a baby brother or sister. Your dad and I talked a little about it and resolved to talk more about it during the weekend, but we never really got a chance because that evening your fever spiked to 103 and we took you to the Urgent Care that is attached to the hospital where you were born.

The docs saw you almost right away and I think they thought your mom and dad were very silly. You sat there in just your diaper and had the sweetest disposition, ever. You did not care when they took your temperature. You were also fairly low key when they took chest X-rays and when they did a urinalysis. You kept eating like a champ and you smiled and laughed and "talked". Honestly, we ended up feeling kind of foolish that we'd stressed and brought you to Urgent Care in the first place. Everyone kept asking if you were our first baby, like they knew the answer already.

Yesterday, you got worse. Your poor little eyes were not as bright as always - they were red and puffy. You were not so eager to smile and you drank your bottles slowly. You felt like a hot water bottle or an electric blanket. The temporal scanner was giving us many different readings between 103 and 105 and we were scared. We called your Cheryl and she brought us a toy for you and a new thermometer to take your temp like they did at the Urgent Care: 105.5. We jumped up and put you in your car seat and rushed you back to Urgent Care.

I filled out the same paper work I had the night before and they called your name within minutes even though the place was packed. You got an id bracelet (that you did not like) and soon you were being called to come back. A nurse told us that only one of us could come back with you, so your Daddy went back with you while I waited in the hall. Those ten minutes were torture for me even though I knew you were safe with your Daddy. We could hear you through the walls in the waiting room, screaming and crying. As I listened with my head against the wall that separated us, I cried too. People came up to me to make sure I was OK, and a few suggested I rush in the next time they opened the door. I wanted to, especially when I saw entire families being escorted in when I had to be away from you. It didn't seem fair, but part of me understood why the nurse had said only one parent.

The good news was your temp had dropped two degrees, but it was still high. We were sent over to another waiting room and sat there for a long time. You were in only a diaper and you were restless. You would not take your bottle, but you did smile here and there. Once we were in an exam room, you seemed to get worse. You would cry when we tried to give you a bottle (you hadn't eaten since the morning) and you threw up twice, all over me. You became listless and eventually the nurse practitioner in Urgent Care got us transferred to a bed in the ER.

The bed was actually a gurney set up in the hallway in the middle of everything. You sat there looking around and everyone had to stop and look at you. You were precious even when you looked ill. The doc told us not to worry, that he was going to have to get some IV fluids in you and some antibiotics to help fight your respiratory virus. I fought back tears and your Daddy was strong for the three of us. Three nurses came to put the IV in. One worked with the needle while another held your left arm and another helped me hold your legs while your Daddy held your body and right arm flat on the gurney. You screamed and cried and I cried with you but didn't let you see the tears. I'm sure you could feel how distressed your Daddy and I were, but we could not help it. No parent ever wants to see their baby in so much pain.

We were in that hallway for a very long time. I couldn't tell you exactly how long right now, because time seemed to move fast and slow all at once. The nurses gave you a Mickey Mouse doll to play with. Cheryl and Chuck-Chuck brought us food since we hadn't eaten a thing all day, felt weak and refused to leave you. We held you and sang to you and did our best to block out our surroundings and make you comfortable. After more than ten hours you finally took an ounce of formula and I think your Daddy and I nearly cried from happiness. Your ER doc came and talked to us and told us he'd been worried, but you were making good improvements. He didn't want to admit us to the hospital, but he did want to keep us in the ER overnight for observation. Daddy went home to feed your Bailey and Max while I laid next to you on your gurney and tried to nap with you. When Daddy got back, he sat in a chair and had his head next to ours while he and I held hands. For those few minutes we were just the three of us, our little family, blocking out the noise of a busy ER.

Eventually, we were wheeled into our own room and we all slept some more. You drank entire bottles and continued to get more IV fluids while I shared a tiny gurney with you and your Daddy slept in a chair. Finally, at 4AM a nurse came in to remove your IV and we packed up to take you home where we all passed out from sheer exhaustion and (for your Daddy and me) relief.

Right this moment you're in your Jumperoo. A smile on your face, your nose running a little. You are not at 100%, but you are leaps and bounds better than you were last night and for that we are so grateful. Nothing in this world prepares you for your child being sick, nothing. You think you're strong and that you will not be one of those mom's who freaks out over the small stuff and then you are scared to death over a fever (a very high one). I cannot imagine what it must be like to have a child who is terminally ill. I'm not a religious person, but I know I prayed last night and I count all of my blessings that you are safe. Almost everywhere we go we are told how lucky we are, how good-natured you are, how well behaved - even when you were sick, you were sweet. I love you, so very much! Last night was torture, but so worth having you in our lives!

By the way, with all the hoopla your Daddy and I didn't get to discuss when our family is going to get bigger - we will. The gyno told me Friday afternoon, "Why waste time?" Honestly, there was a brief moment last night when I thought there was no way I could go through this again. But, we can and I'm sure we will. Your Nana K tells me that she still worries when I get sick and that never goes away no matter how old your baby is. I think that is scary and wonderful all at once. I am sure that over the years there will be scrapes, scratches and broken bones (and hearts) to heal. We'll be there every step of the way. Someday, you're going to have a sibling to lean on for support as well, I promise. There is nothing we won't all be able to get through if we have each other.

I love you, monkey. You show me daily how strong I really am and I'll always try to be strong for you.

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