I get it, she's super cute and cuddly and you want to squish her. Trust me, I get it because I do it often. But I also want her to stay healthy. Because this is what could happen, and it's not even a worse case scenario, but it was scary enough.
It all started three weeks ago. On Saturday we had a BIG day, lots of running around between Jackson's Boy Scout pancake breakfast (Matt and him were volunteering) and Olivia participating in an all day youth choir concert (more on these tomorrow probably). We came into contact with afew people who had colds, who were coughing but blamed their asthma, and one guy who touched Penelope and then proceeded to hack a lung into a kleenex. It was pretty disgusting. We spent the entire day running back and forth, so needless to say by night time we were all pretty exhausted. All appeared to be well.
On Sunday, it started out alright. Penelope was a little crabby but I figured maybe being screwed up on naps the previous day had set her up for melt downs this day, but no big deal. We went out to lunch as a family (as usual) and we planned on coming home to just relax because I wasn't feeling great. I figured I was just really, really tired so I ended up taking a nap.
Fast forward to 4:30 a.m., Matt has already gone to work and Penelope woke up crying. When I went in there, she was burning up, probably the warmest I have ever had a child. I took her temperature and it was 103.8, so I immediately went and got some Tylenol and thought I'd rock her until she fell back asleep.
Except that never actually happened.
After spending an OBSCENE amount, even with our insurance ($134, to be exact) on a very small dose of Tamiflu, we started it. To which she vomited it up within 45 minutes. We were to give it to her twice a day and each time, she'd vomit. We were literally watching her vomit the very last of our money.
By this point, I was also incredibly sick. I called my doctor on Thursday and again, they couldn't do anything for me except give me Tamiflu which I refused to pay for and figured I'd tough it out. Which was really stupid because I'm just now feeling like I can move without pain and it's been three weeks. That's how bad this is.
Except that she didn't. Matt had been taking the kids to school all week, so I didn't have to take her out anywhere. But by 9, I just had a feeling, and I went in to check on her. She was awake, lying on her side facing the door and just... crying but with no sound.
My heart absolutely stopped.
I took down her rail and she always puts her little arms up for me but today she didn't. I knew immediately something was really very wrong. I should also note that every morning of this week I had to strip her and get her into a bath and change bedding because of all of the mucus. I mean, it was EVERYWHERE. Crusted to her face, hair, limbs, just wherever it could be it was. So as soon as I pick her up I realize she is a total limp noodle. She looks like she's wailing and has tears coming out of her eyes but there literally was no sound, like someone had hit a mute button on my baby.
I got her into the bathroom, stripped her down, and got into the shower with her to get everything off her. She's trying to cling to me but I could tell she just didn't have it in her. So once I get her all cleaned off, and mucus sucked out of her nose (and that's when she made a sound, so I knew she wasn't broken!), I got her dressed in some light pajamas and called my mom.
I knew 100% I had to take her into the emergency room because this had just gotten to a serious point. Her breathing was so shallow. She didn't appear to be struggling to breathe, she wasn't having the sucking in like they showed me on Wednesday, she just looked like she was taking such shallow breaths that she'd eventually just stop.
As soon as my mom came and saw her, I knew I had made the right decision to bring her in. It's always nice to know I am not nuts and I'm not over reacting. She had seen Penelope every day that week and she said we absolutely had to bring her in. And thank god.
We got there, and it's not our normal hospital, but the other one in town because my pediatrician told me that our hospital would transfer me anyways and I would maybe have an ambulance bill, so to just avoid that and go on my own. So we did. They have a really good pediatric unit, so I felt like it was a good decision.
We were in the emergency room for just shy of six hours. There was a few hours of debating whether to admit her or not but ultimately, the amount of oxygen she was taking in hovered around 94, and they don't admit unless you're in the 80's, so they felt confident she was getting enough air on her own. Ultimately though, we did a swab for influenza and RSV, and they did a nebulizer treatment while we waited for the results on that to see if that cleared out her airways anymore. Meanwhile we waited for her turn for a chest xray, to which I couldn't go with her because I'm pregnant, so thank god I had my mom with me because I couldn't send Penelope alone.
We waited for about an hour to get results of everything and sure enough, she still had her influenza A, she also had RSV, but on top of it all, she had bronchial pneumonia.
Which is just too much for a little baby to have. I was pretty scared because not even the day before did I hear of a really healthy 30 year old woman in our area who died of pneumonia and so fast. It hit her and that was it- she was gone. The silver lining was that we could get an antibiotic for the pneumonia because it wasn't a viral strain, and they hoped that would jump start the rest of her body to fight the flu and RSV better. Basically it's too much for a little body to handle all at once without some kind of help.
Thankfully, that didn't happen. By Sunday she wanted to be on the floor and even played toys for a bit. She crawled a little bit but was really wobbly when trying to stand. Was a little more agreeable about eating something and her fever was hovering around 100 so I felt less scared, like things were improving.
All of last week was pretty chill. We took it easy, we ate and slept on demand, we didn't play hard, we didn't really go anywhere. My mom came over to help because I was still so sick and the kids had spring break, so it felt far more manageable.
This week? Well this week she's back to her old self. She's teething so that's why she gets cranky, but she's back on her regular schedule and so very happy. Her face isn't red, it isn't chapped, we have a random cough here or there but usually only after she's really been playing. I cannot even tell you how relieved I am to see her feeling better. That was easily the scariest two weeks of my life. It was even scarier than when Olivia actually was hospitalized for dehydration after the stomach flu. That was a three day thing and she was really fine after one so we were mostly just bored in there. But Penelope... man.
And this is where I get VERY annoyed at people who blow it off and who have said, "Yeah, well babies get sick." I so badly want to tell these people to fuck off because unless it was you carrying a limp baby into an emergency room, you have absolutely no idea what it was like. Even her pediatrician said thank god I brought her in because she has seen babies just fade away when that sick and it's actually really common. You think it's a mild cold for you but it turns into something more with babies. You can't be flippant about your damn germs.
So that's me, getting off of my soap box even though I really want to rip into some people. I won't because I've got a cute little doll making cute little noises in her sleep in her crib and I'm totally going to check on her because I can.