flu and better news

Our little boy has the stomach flu.

It started Sunday morning at 4am: throwing up, dazed, dry heaving, our first middle-of-the-night call to his nurse practitioner’s service. By morning, he had a fever, which hovered just below 102 for a little under twenty-four hours. He drank very little, so we worried about dehydration. During this time he wanted almost nothing except to be snugged up tight. He couldn’t sleep much at night, but napped a lot on us all day. When his fever broke at 4am on Monday, we thought we were out of the woods. Bram’s energy was low, but he seemed a little more himself. Then the diarrhea came. And wow: that stuff is hardcore. We were worried about dehydration – and even a little about Rotovirus, which we haven’t vaccinated for yet – but we took him to see Nan (our beloved NP) today, and he conveniently had diarrhea in the office so she could check it out. :) She reassured us that it’s not Rotovirus, that he’s doing great considering, and that we’ve been right to hold off of Tylenol since his fever was low grade. She said we’re doing all the right things, which made us feel really good (and for which we should thank Christina, our midwife throughout the pregnancy, the amazing woman who caught B [with me] and who is now a wonderful friend). She gave us lots of great advice and reassurance at the peak of our worries. Because man-oh-man is it terrifying to have a sick kid.

Since we’ve been swaddle-weaning this week anyway, it’s now been five night since we slept more than two hours at a time. The last two nights have mostly been one-hour stretches. We’re exhausted, but mostly we’re just grateful that B is on the mend. Nan thinks this will be of-the-past by Friday (which is when J’s dad arrives for a visit). I’ll be glad to have this behind us, though all these long snugs have been so sweet. It’s amazing to feel of comfort to him.

Now for some brighter news and photos:

Here’s B’s four-month photo. Curious boy is about to climb OFF of the glider. Gods help us once he’s mobile.

Earnest baby. I was just recalling this weekend that Ernest was in our name-pool for this boy. J and I met over Ernest Hemingway, so it seemed appropriate. We love the name, but aren’t crazy about the nickname Ernie. Anyway, it would at least have suited him.

I am not-yet good at wearing Bram on my back, but I’m working on it. I’m struggling because I want to carry him high, but I’m so short that my arms have a hard time making him a seat once he’s up there. Anyway, we’re getting it. I feels like a hurtle that we’re training for together. Like we have to trust each other a lot to get proficient.

Happy boy. Delighted pomo.

Curious boy. In-love mama.

Lords I love these expressions. I adore B’s smiles, but this face just makes me melt. He makes it a lot, usually just before a big, goofy grin.

This was taken at B’s first birthday party: his friend Thea (Dorothea) turned two! (Or, “too much” as she likes to say.) Clockwise, Anne, the aforementioned Christina, Bramble, and the birthday girl. We are so grateful to have this family in our lives, and to have been there to celebrate this righteously awesome little girl. [I desperately hope we did not infect them.]

Swaddlers, a Baby K’Tan, and our Moby. All put away now until we’re (Gods willing) blessed with another squish. It’s concomitantly sweet and sad for B to have outgrown these early, stretchy tools.

Finally, we rearranged our house in the three days before B’s flu. We needed more room for our growing boy (more soft floor space, more maneuverability). He was also outgrowing the portacrib in our room, but we were nowhere near ready to move him into his own room, so we had to dissemble and reassemble his big crib in our room. In fact, we want him closer, not further away, so while we were at it we took apart our bed frame and put the mattress and box springs squarely (or, you know, rectangley) on the floor. Now we can nap with him less fearfully, and we can bring him into the bed for family bed if/when we’re ready.***

This shift gave us a lot more space in B’s room for what we really do in there: read, rock, listen to music, play, and do baby yoga and massage). There are lots of floor mats and pillows in there now, and tons of blankets for floor time.

I thought I’d hate having our bed on the floor, but I’m finding so much pleasure in the feeling that our house is set up to accommodate the thing we most care about: family time. I love not feeling terrified of B falling from our high, high bed, and I love the closeness of knowing he’ll be rooming-in for a long while to come. I used to care more about aesthetics. Now I care about function. I think it’s a good house to start a life in, and that makes me so happy. [Also, in the aesthetics department, the blanket folded over at the end of our bed is a wedding blanket made for us by our dear friend Mick. It’s got our date on it and everything. It used to be in the living room, but I’m thrilled to have it in our bedroom now.]

The newly arranged living room. A whole rug of play space. A handy stack of blankets.

*** Co-sleepers: any tips as we ease our way into this? Though we understand the research, we’re still nervous. One of my biggest goals as a mother is to put down my anxiety so that my kid doesn’t incorporate it into his own way of being, and I think I’ve done a pretty great job of this. This is one of the reasons we’ve avoided co-sleeping for this long: I don’t want to be afraid every night. I don’t think we’ll move towards all-night family bed because this week aside, B is a great sleeper and we don’t want to mess that up. What we’d like is to bring him into our bed after his first wake-up, though, and sleep together until we have to get up. The problem is, J and I haven’t managed so far to actually sleep. We kind of just watch him. Suggestions?

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22 thoughts on “flu and better news

  1. It’s funny how the things we each do in our separate parts of the world mirror each other sometimes! We too took down the crib to bring it into our bedroom a month or so ago :)

    Our bed, however, remains high. I fear a bed on the floor would only lead to it becoming a great big dog bed for our beasts. Your bedroom looks lovely though – peaceful and perfect for a family of three.

    I’m glad B seems on the mend. And there is hope for you two – we stopped swaddling when the weather got warm suddenly and our air conditioner was not yet in. Once it was in, we decided not to go back. After a long month of very interrupted sleep, one night she just figured it out. Just like that we are back to sleeping long stretches (though not yet through the night). Thank the gods – we were about at the end of our rope! We are also back to co-sleeping. There were a few months there where we stopped because she was sleeping better in her crib than with us, but now it seems to be comforting to her again so we are back to family bed. At almost 6 months, co-sleeping is a totally different animal than when she was tiny and swaddled. Now she stretches out, turns herself over, moves to lay horizontally, kicks and hits, etc. She takes up space in the most marvelous way. It is a lot less scary now because of her mobility and size, and I think we sleep more soundly than we did before. We do do a lot of staring, especially when we get in bed and snuggle in next to her warm sleeping self. We can’t believe how much she has changed in the last few months, and seeing her all splayed out in our bed makes it all very clear… <3

    • I think this all the time: we’re like NGP-twins! :) We don’t have the dog problem, so it’s been easy for us. In fact, our cats are getting older and a little arthritic, so this helps me worry less about them having to jump. Because really, there was never any option of keeping them off of the bed. :) And thanks for the swaddle-hope. I keep telling myself that we’re lucky to have had as much sleep as we’ve had, and that this is likely just a hiccup. It’s easiest to remember this during the day.

      Also, J and I both love the line: “she takes up space in the most marvelous way.” That these little beings we created are taking up more and more space in the world is just thrilling.

  2. Your living room photo just blew my mind. How do you do that!! Somehow you’ve managed to make your spaces look bigger and simpler. That’s some serious rearranging skills you have.

    I’m so glad he’s on the mend. hugs all around.

    • Trick one: move half of your furniture to the basement/give it away to your family (i.e. you!). Trick two: good photography angles. But thanks! I love that stuff (as you know).

  3. Aw, poor baby and mamas! That flu sounds terrible! I’m not into giving any of my family much medication, but I think if G had a fever I would have grabbed the tylenol right away. Tell me about your logic for avoiding it. I’d like to learn so when G gets her first fever we’re ready.

    We took our bed down this weekend too! We’ve been meaning to do it for about a month but haven’t been able to and it’s SUCH a relief. Next stop – more rugs for our bare floors.

    We’ve been co-sleeping since day one and have only recently felt like it’s less safe with the bed up high and G’s oncoming mobility. Now that the bed is down where it should be, things are great again. I would love to be able to fit a crib in our room, but we barely have space for our bed and some shelves. G just transitioned out of her cosleeper (where she’s been napping) this weekend when she pulled her cute self up.

    The early days aside, we’ve never worried about the safety of co-sleeping. We read one book, Sleeping With Your Baby, but I’m not sure how much that helped, honestly. What helped most was talking to our lactation consultant, a big proponent of cosleeping, about how in so many ways it’s the safest way to sleep. Neither of us are big rollers and we find we’re both very aware of G all night long, even when we’re sleeping well. G is still breastfeeding all night long (something we have to change) so Fern can’t really help but be aware of her. But even when I’m sleeping heavily, I always know where she is and have never come close to rolling on her. The fun thing is that G is really aware of us too. There’s nothing better than the baby resting her chubby little arm on yours in the night. I guess my advice is that you’ll likely feel less nervous after a few tries (and I totally agree not to mess with a good thing and take him out of the crib if he’s happy there). It feels very natural once you get the hang of it.

    • So I’m no medical professional. Everything I think I know is probably a. half wrong and b. reductive. But I’ve heard that it’s good to let a low grade fever stand because our bodies get fevers for a reason (i.e. fever helps fight infection by killing little heat-sensitive virus cells). Of course, it’s necessary to treat a high-grade fever because those can be dangerous, especially in little ones. I think our line with Bram is around 102. He hovered just below that this time, so we never treated him. Had he gone above 102, especially if he got close to 102.5, we’d have been all about the Tylenol.

      How funny that you guys just took your frame down too! These things must happen in cycles, and we all must be connected somehow. Or at least it feels this way to me sometimes.

      Thanks for your reassurances vis-a-vis co-sleeping. It means a lot coming from you three. I trust that as daunting as it feels now, it will feel like second nature within a few weeks of starting. I mean, I could say that about a thousand things since this baby was born. It’s been a steep learning curve, right?!

      • I was thinking about co-sleeping more and wanted to add something. There is a LOT of anti-dad (it’s always dad) stuff in the literature around co-sleeping and it really irks me. I’m sure you’ve seen the narrative too: mom (ie the birth mother) is naturally aware of and connected to the baby but watch out for bumbling dad who won’t notice that he’s lying on a 15 pound lump. The Sears books talk a lot about how connected mom is and all about her special instinct etc. Outside of being non-inclusive, that stuff is just plain wrong. I don’t know if you have any particular fears as the non-breastfeeding parent, but I can tell you that we’ve never felt like Fern was more aware of G or that I lacked the connection to my child necessary for co-sleeping. If anything, Fern has said that in the beginning when we were so dead tired all the time she felt like I was more aware of the baby in bed than she was (that was back when we were holding her while she slept). Anyway, I just wanted to raise this.

        Thanks for the tips on tylenol! We read that it’s bad to give tylenol after vaccinations because the post-shot fever is what helps the body make anti-bodies. Makes sense that this would apply with other fevers too.

  4. I was literally just saying this to J yesterday about caring more about function than aesthetics. Get out of my head, wonderful lady! I’m so sorry to hear of Bramble’s illness, but I love all of these photos, and the rearrangements sound lovely. I’m also, of course, delighted to see that you’re still loving the blanket. I always hoped it could wrap you both and your wee ones up for a good snug. Healing and sleepy wishes for all three of you!

    • The wedding blanket is SUCH a loved possession. And I was thrilled to see that – once I dyed our old quilt to make it seem a little fresh/like new again and moved the grey dining room rug upstairs – our room became full of greys, reds, and purples and the wedding blanket was the perfect way to pull it all together! Yay for remodeling without spending a dime, and for finding new places to highlight favorite items. And yes: I bet dog-homes require their own function-over-form layout to be accommodating. I’d love to see more photos of that house of yours!

  5. I had the same response as Christine – your living room looks amazing! Big and airy and lots of room for a playful Bram. Hope he kicks the last of the flu soon.

    • See my comment to Christine above: it’s all smoke and mirrors. :) But thanks, sweet Laura. By the way, I’m working on a comment for your delightful post about traveling!

  6. Poor Bram! I hope he is on the mend and feeling better. It is sooo hard to have sick little ones.n Also, I have been meaning to say this for quite some time. Your photographs are simply amazing. I love the light and the spirit that you two are always so good at capturing. What do you shoot with?

    As for co-sleeping, we were terrified of doing this with our 4 lb. Baby S, but found ourselves having to do it out of sheer necessity. She patently refused to sleep unless she was right beside me (no bassinets, no co-sleeper, no crib for this one). Because of this, we are both incredibly aware of her presence, but not so much so that we don’t sleep ourselves. I love waking up in the early morning and seeing her sleep so peacefully. One of the things that helped quell my fear was something that our postpartum doula/LC told me several years ago when we were talking about co-sleeping with our first: a study was done where mamas were videotaped while co-sleeping with their little ones. Night after night, when one would move, so would the other– so it ended up being this beautiful orchestrated dance between mother/s and baby. Every night, even if Baby S starts in the middle, she will find her way over to one of us which is pretty amazing since she is not really mobile yet. We also sleep on a Temp.urpedic so it’s not like she’s rolling “downhill” towards one of us either. I hope you find some peace with this one and are able to experience some of the joy of co-sleeping!

    • Thank you! I never thought I was very good at photography, but it’s so easy to take pictures of my wife and kid because, really, I love them so much! Honestly, it’s just a Canon PowerShot Elph 300. So, not exciting. I’d love to actually learn about cameras/photography someday, but that’s a different-budget kind of goal. :)

      Also, thank you so much for the wonderful insight into your co-sleeping experience! That video sounds incredible and is super reassuring. Because that’s what I’m scared of, right: what if I’m not connected to him enough? What if I don’t realize where he is? But yes, I want to experience those joys. And more to the point, I think Bram deserves to experience them.

      I miss posts from you! No guilt trip – I have no idea what it is to have two – but I wanted you to know that I love/miss your voice. I have a whole draft post in response to your post about mourning and healing from the birth experience, but it somehow feels bigger than I can tackle right now. Who knows when/if I’ll finish it, but either way, thank you for writing yours. It meant a lot to me.

  7. Sick babies are the sad. Glad he’s on the mend and you guys didn’t get it.

    I also have the same fears about bed sharing so it doesn’t work for us either.

  8. :( I was hoping he was all better. Hopefully it won’t be long now.
    Your space looks wonderful. We had to do some rearranging when our little guy became mobile too. It’s still not perfect, but we’re hoping to move over the summer to a place that has a little more space for our growing family.

    • Man, I just CANNOT post a comment to your blog. Ugh. I’ve been following, though, and I hate that you got so sick! Are you all better now?

      Also, thanks for the sweet comment here. Bram seems to be at about 50%. Sick babies. So sad. :(

  9. Stomach flu is the pits. My husband used to say he would go and pick up our daughter from daycare and when you enter the classroom you get a whiff of THE SMELL… and you just hope it’s not your kid!

    I’m actually commenting to say that I thing your boy is too cute for words, and you two are awesome moms.

  10. So so sorry that your little bug has been sick and you two have been so exhausted – I hope that everyone’s healthy and that you’re all enjoying a visit with Granddad this weekend! Love to you all and can’t wait to see you soon!

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