I was recently appalled by a Facebook post from one of my high school friends. In the post she vividly detailed her husband’s ongoing bout with the stomach flu. I was not only disgusted by her descriptions, but also by her choice to highlight her husband’s excrement via Facebook. Classy people blog about family member fevers, vomit, and diarrhea. Facebook is for shortlinks.
*You’ve been warned*
It started on Monday night with Amara. She’d complained of an achy belly but hadn’t actually behaved any differently than normal all day. After her fourth complaint I figured it may be serious and began waiting for her to throw up. She did, twice, but only after the double dose of diarrhea. She didn’t get a fever until the next day, but it persisted, along with her stomach cramps and wailing moans until Wednesday morning.
I kept watching Terra, waiting, wondering when it would hit her too. Amara is the kid who never gets sick, so I figured if something was strong enough to make her vomit and liquefy her bowels it was sure to hit my little Love Bug. Strangely enough, all day on Wednesday they were both completely normal.
On Thursday we got up earlier than usual and got dressed to head out for some shopping. After filling our cart with the things I needed to stock-up on for Baby’s arrival, I figured that since the girls had money to spend (they get a monetary reward every time their incentive charts are filled up with stickers), and since they were behaving well and we had extra time, we could go looking through the toy aisles.
Terra began complaining heavily of a belly ache as we headed toward the toys. It’s always a tough call with Terra though because she often complains of belly aches and I’m sensitive to her stomach issues as she had abdominal surgery when she was an infant. I asked her what her pain felt like and went through the motions of calculating its seriousness. I started to fear for the worst from her responses, and sure enough, just as Amara was picking a mermaid Barbie Terra puked all over the toy aisle.
Terra puked and puked and puked and puked. Not all in Wal-mart (the Evil Empire) mind you, but over fourteen times in the next twelve hours. And of course she got the diarrhea and the fever too, all at once. We got no sleep last night, she was still vomiting at 5 in the morning and then finally nodded off from 6-9am. While awake, she couldn’t keep spoonfuls of water down, but she was begging to drink more. I was caught between letting her drink what she wanted, so she’d stop complaining of thirst, then watching her vomit, or making her drink by the spoonful (literally) and then watching her dry heave. It was torture.
This morning Terra complained of belly pain. Her heart was pounding out of her chest and she hadn’t gone potty since 2am. She was looking a little sunken in around her eyes. She shrieked about the pain in her legs and arms, and she wasn’t making a great deal of sense when she talked. I wasn’t sure if it was her lack of sleep or severe dehydration. I make informed decisions and I’ve worked in healthcare, so I’m typically reluctant to seeking healthcare professionals’ assistance, but this morning I called her pediatrician.
We were able to get in an hour later and I’m really glad we went. Before our appointment Terra needed to go potty, I was so relieved. Terra freaked out at the appointment. She didn’t want to have her temperature taken or pretty much anything else, but when she freaked out she cried, and I saw tears! I knew she was not severely dehydrated if she could cry tears and pee a few ounces.
Amara started complaining of a belly ache while we were at Terra’s appointment. I was initially concerned, then considered it to be an act of jealousy. I wound up telling her that I hoped she didn’t feel as bad as she had a few days ago, the way that Terra was feeling today, but that if she did feel as bad as she had then she’d go home and lie down like Terra would be doing as well. That stopped her complaining awhile. She didn’t want to lie down. She wanted to play with her new mermaid doll and battle herself in Uno and have computer time.
But lunch passed and Amara refused to eat anything. She was consistently complaining and starting to make the banshee sounds she makes when consumed by discomfort. I tried to make certain that she wasn’t just doing it to get attention as that wasn’t fair or empathetic to Terra’s needs, but then she sped to the bathroom sink and puked up everything she’d eaten since morning. Sigh.
So Amara’s sick again, and Terra is not throwing up at the moment, but she still has a fever and is still mildly dehydrated. I am ten days away from my third child’s due date and I am drowning in excrement, whining sopranos, and dirty laundry. I’m just praying that I don’t get sick as well. I don’t know how I’d have the energy to tend to these two if I felt the way they’re feeling. And I don’t want vomiting to jumpstart my labor. I cannot have Baby coming into a virus-ridden home and wind up in the hospital from contracting it.
This is not exactly motherhood as I pictured it when I was a baby-crazy teenager who loved to pinch chubby infant cheeks. But I’m trying to keep my sense of humor about it all. This time next year I may have three sick children all wailing and emptying out and begging for my attention. It could always be worse.