Sunday, December 13, 2015

Surviving baby's first flu.

No one can ever explain to you how to prepare to be a great parent.  Each child is different and every home has different needs.  One thing that is for sure is that love will guide you to do some awesome things.  I am sharing my personal story of parenting a child with the flu. My husband and I survived our baby's first flu. 
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When my son was 9 nine months old, I had to take him to the ER.  Early in the day, he had been very fussy and not his normal happy self.  We thought he needed to be outside in the fresh air.  We packed him up and took him shopping.  As we put him in the shopping cart, I remember him wiggling and being fussy some more.  He began to cry as he sat in the store's metal shopping cart.  I reached to console him, when I saw him hit his head on the metal piece of the cart.  A few seconds later, he threw up.  As a new parent, I thought he had injured his head.  I urgently called my husband and we dashed to the Children’s Hospital ER.  Both my husband and I were scared and upset over our only son being so sick.  The tough part was our baby could not tell us how to help him.  My son did not have a fever nor had he thrown up previously to hitting his head.  There was nothing that would suggest that he had the flu.

In the ER, the nurses and doctors seemed very concerned over the baby. They quickly admitted him and shortly thereafter put him through a MRI machine to scan his brain.  What they had to do to make sure they captured a good photo was unimaginable to any parent.  They had to tie him down, restrained in a straight jacket?  I could not help them to do that so I sent my husband in to help.  Crying in the hallway is where I stood waiting for the doctors.  My thoughts were racing and I could not imagine what was wrong with our tiny baby.  As a new parent, I had no idea that he was suffering from the flu. A few hours later, the doctors released our baby with no real diagnosis other than possibly the flu.  The flu?  Could the flu cause such a violent sickness in a short time?  They recommended we keep an eye on him and bring him back if anything else occurred.  They also instructed us to see his regular doctor on Monday for a follow-up.  Monday was two days away.  Both my husband and I had to go to work.  With a heavy heart and new parent fears, we left the hospital.
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At home, both my husband and I took turns not sleeping.  We did not want to fall asleep at the same time just to make sure we kept an eye on the baby. We watched our baby sleep in our arms.  The whole time, his little body tilted slight upward with a pillow.  This was before the baby wedge was sold at Babies R Us.  Monday came and I took the day off to make an emergency appointment with our pediatrician, Dr. Akey.  Dr. Akey is the most wonderful doctor in the world.  He allowed me to come as soon as possible and saw my baby first.  He checked him over and found that he had an ear infection but no fever.  According to  Dr. Akey, our baby should have experienced lots of pain and uncomfortableness.  Our baby would have been wiggling, crying and most likely would have been fussy because of the pain.  This is something that the daycare provider might have experienced and should have mentioned to us. After talking to the doctor, I realized that our baby got sick at daycare.  He most likely had had a fever while my husband and I were at work.  The daycare had a high volume of kids and perhaps did not check on him enough.  Once I had all the information from the doctor and hospital, I realized that our baby had had a terrible flu.  The head scan was unnecessary and my daycare provider was overcrowded.  I left the doctor’s office with concerns over the caregiver and my role as a working mother.

Not trusting my instincts and having a mortgage to pay for, I continued to work a full-time job and taking my only son, at that time, to daycare.  The daycare was close to my work and it had been recommended by a co-worker. She was pleasant and kind to me for the five minutes we saw each other Monday through Friday.  I was new a parent and I did not know much about parenting or caring for a baby.  Our lack of experience forced us to trust other parent recommendations.  It would be another 9 nine months and several more illnesses to push me into quitting my full-time job and becoming a stay-at-home-mother.  

There are two things I want you to take away from this story.  One is that if you have the flu, please stay home.  Babies, pregnant mothers, the elderly and people with weak immune systems suffer much more than healthy adults.  Two, trust your instincts.  Visit your daycare provider unannounced frequently and if your child gets ill often it’s time to look for a better place. Finally, know that you should error on the side of caution. If you have new parent concerns, please email us fieldtripmom@gmail.com. 

If you have the flu then try to stick to the BRAT diet. Drink lots of fluids and stay away from others.  BRAT Diet - Banana, rice, applesauce and toast (saltine crackers) 
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