Shortly after I crawled into bed one night not long after our son was born, I realized something was wrong. Exhausted, my drooping eyes fixated on our baby through the monitor. I wasn't sure what he was doing, but I knew it wasn't normal, and even worse, I knew it wasn't good. In his crib, my 5-month-son was sitting in his recently-learned tripod position long after he normally would have fallen asleep. He had been sitting like that for over an hour, which initially I had written off as an infant peculiarity — just something that maybe he was doing to avoid sleep. It wasn't until I went into his room that I understood how wrong I had been.
Drenched in sweat and covered in his own vomit, my son had come down with a nasty flu, which would later be confirmed by our doctor after 12 of the scariest hours of my life.
Drenched in sweat and covered in his own vomit, my son had come down with a nasty flu.
Being a new parent wasn't easy. I felt like I was doing everything wrong, mostly because I had no idea what I was supposed to do. As a way of combating my fears, I tried to be as cautious as possible, which largely meant scouring the internet often in search of help. This night, however, I went straight to calling the hospital.
While I was talking to the triage nurse, my husband held our son. Even though we had quickly changed his clothes and cleaned him off, he still looked absolutely miserable. His usual happy self had been replaced with down-turned eyes, waxen skin, and a fever of 102. It was there in his father's arms that he threw up again.
The nurse was a life-saver that night, both for calming me down and instructing my husband and I what to do. Through her guidance and patience (and calls back to check up on us), we managed to help him keep his fluids down and get his fever to a healthy spot. He even managed to sleep a little during the night, although my husband and I hardly slept a wink. Instead, we spent most of the night watching him breath, touching his forehead to see if his fever was raging, and talking about how terrible we felt that we had let him sit in his own vomit for over an hour. We were scared, guilt-ridden, and more tired than ever before.
Thankfully, instead of a trip to the ER, we went to our regular doctor the following morning. After getting the proper medication, I was so grateful to hear that my son would soon be on the mend. Having a sick child, even something as seemingly innocuous as the flu, is scary, but when it's your little baby, it can feel life-altering. All I wanted to do was protect my child, but when they're so tiny, it can feel hopeless. But if that night taught me anything, it's to trust my instincts and always, always take the flu seriously.