Caring for a Sick Baby: Poppy’s First Unknown Illness

Baby IbuprofenAlthough my daughter has been sick before, this past weekend was the first time that she was ill without a known reason. The first time that she got sick, I was also sick. After I went back to work at the beginning of April, I was exposed to a lot of germs from a lot of yucky college students. In terms of spreading germs, college students are much worse than even toddlers, so I picked up a cough and cold that was going around. My daughter also caught the cough and stuffy nose from me, although her case was much milder than mine because she was getting all sorts of good antibodies from my milk.

However, this past weekend, my poor daughter was sick for seemingly no reason. On Friday afternoon, I had taken my daughter to the pool. She enjoyed the water but also wanted to nurse and nap a bunch. I thought that she was just hot, tired, and thirsty from the heat. That evening, though, she was fussier than usual. While walking around the mall after dinner for our mommy-daddy-daughter date, she kept fussing and did not want to be in the Baby K’Tan like usual.

That night at about 4:00 in the morning, I woke up feeling rather warm. I kicked my blankets off and checked on my daughter. She was quite warm too so I opened up her Aden + Anais Cozy Sleeping Bag. When she did not start to cool down after a few minutes, I got worried. I got out our thermometer set and took her temperature under her arm. When that thermometer told me that she had a fever, I decided to also take her temperature with the rectal thermometer. Her fever was 101.8!

I immediately jumped out of bed and woke up my husband. He called and spoke to the nurse on duty at the local hospital. I just sat on the bed with my daughter on my lap. She was awake and smiling and babbling a little, but she was just so hot. Her hands and feet felt like fire. However, because she did not have any other symptoms, the nurse told us to just watch her. If she developed any other symptoms or her fever did not go down, we were to call back.

By the time my daughter woke up the next morning, her temperature was down and she seemed to be feeling better. My husband and I decided to take her out to a late lunch before church that night. Although she usually loves to eat small bites from out plates, she did not want any food. She was nursing normally, but she did not want any solid food. She did not even want to taste the cheesy biscuit that I let her play with. When we got back into the van after our meal, she started crying terribly. We therefore ultimately decided to skip church that evening and took our sick little girl home.

That night at 1:00 in the morning, I noticed that my daughter was feeling hot again, so I took her temperature. She had a fever of 102! I called the nurse again at the local hospital who told me to continue to keep an eye on my daughter. If, however, her temperature remained high past the twenty-four hour mark, then I would need to call again and possibly bring my daughter in to see the doctor.

The next morning at about 8:45 on Sunday, my daughter woke up crying. She kept startling and then shrieking out of fear. Even when I was cuddling her in my arms, she continue to startle and cry. I was terrified that she was having some sort of seizure. Because of the starling combined with her continued fever, the nurse that my husband then called told us to take our daughter in to the Prompt Care. I packed Poppy up in the van and headed off to the hospital as quickly but as safely as I could.

Once at the Prompt Care, we got in to see the triage nurse in only a matter of minutes. We then saw the doctor a little while later. The doctor check my daughter’s ears, nose, throat, and glands. Nothing seemed wrong except for the persistent fever. He told me to start giving my daughter some baby ibuprofen, which I picked up at Walgreens after we left the hospital. When we got home, I took my daughter’s temperature again and gave her her first dose of medicine. She and I then laid down to take a nap. I decided to take a sick day at work to stay home to care for my sick  baby.

The ibuprofen continued to keep my daughter’s temperature down. We ended up giving her three doses over a twenty-four hour period. On Monday, her temperature was back up and she was still a little fussier than usual. In addition to her fever, Poppy also threw up all over me, herself, and the bed in the early hours of Monday morning. She also had a few more dirty diapers than usual because she was eating only breast milk but no solid food. However, she did not have any other symptoms. By Tuesday, she was back to her old self and without a fever. I suspect that my daughter was fighting a little tummy bug, but I guess that I will never know for sure. All that I really care about is that my daughter is feeling better now.

Have your children ever been sick with an unknown illness? How did you respond?

Image Credits

Baby Ibuprofen © 2012 Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson

Heather Johnson is a mother, wife, writer, librarian, and linguist. She earned a BA in English studies with a minor in creative writing from Illinois State University in May 2007, an MS in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2009, and an MS in English studies with an emphasis in linguistics at Illinois State University in December 2011.

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