At the very onset – let me tell you my problem.
Of the last 10 nights – I have slept through just 2 nights. All the others I have made do with 5 hours of sleep – the rest of the 3- 4hours, I have rocked, patted an extremely sleepless sonny. He doesn’t cry – just sits up in his bed – and tries to crawl out. Things came to a head on Sat, when he also developed a raging fever. It would come down with medication – within a couple of hours the fever was back, along with temper tantrums, irritability and of course lack of appetite. The funny thing is – I don’t know what’s causing the fever. No cold, no cough – nothing!
Last night for example, sonny sat up at 2.30am. He seemed soo sleepy but just wouldn’t sleep. I checked his diaper, checked the bed to see if he was too hot or too cold, checked his forehead to see if the fever was back. Negative on all counts. What could it be? He points to his mouth. “Is he teething?” hubby asks me.
Teething – the saga of my life.
There are some kids, who get teeth and parents don’t even realize when the pearly whites emerge. In our case – every tooth has been a story by itself. 5 to 7 days of irritable baby, not sleeping for hours at end at nights, food being rejected, the works.
I still remember when sonny was about 9 months ago – we’d just moved to a new city. One day sonny just decided to stop eating. I thought “at least he’s having his milk”. And what do you know – 1 week later he stopped drinking milk too. Nothing. A 9 month baby on strike! And I panicked. It was Friday evening and his doctor’s office was closed. The nurse I spoke to only fuelled my anxiety. She just couldn’t believe how a 9 month baby could go without food for 8 hours at end. And we tried everything, love, pleading, forcing, yelling. He just wouldn’t open his open. When 20 hours passed without food or drink – on the nurse’s advice we rushed him to the ER.
And then began the worst experience of my life. Sonny was mildly dehydrated. So they had to start IV. And they couldn’t find his vein. 3 nurses aides held him down while 2 nurses groped with needles to find a vein – while his hapless parents just stood helplessly as their baby yelled and screamed. IV started and sonny fell asleep – all that screaming tired him out. Suddenly a nurse appears. “we need to give him a painkiller” she says. “Surely it can wait for a while – he’s sleeping” I counter, “yeah, I know but we gotta wake him up” and before I can say a word, she’s grabbed his mouth and poured the medicine in it. And he’s up again – yelling, screaming and now tugging at the IV drip too. And still not eating.
Over the next 2 days, this cycle repeats itself endlessly. Sonny still not eating. Apathetic nurse after nurse waltzing in to pour medicine down his throat. Day 2 his lips were so dry – that the moment the nurse tried to pour medicine down they cracked. But hey, that’s not her concern – she just walks out – a job well done. As a parent I have never felt as helpless as I did those 2 days. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with sonny – so we couldn’t take him home. And he wasn’t doing good in the hospital either. Over those 2 days we heard all kinds of far-out stuff, “your child has an eating disorder”, “maybe because you forced your child to eat, you’ve psyched him”, “maybe the problem is you – not him – let someone else feed him”. Worse were the questions – “does he eat jello?” “How about popsicles?” “Can he suck on candy?” My mind is screaming “which 9 month old eats jello, popsicles or candy? In the land of the Deranged Uncaring Mom, maybe.”
Finally Day 2 – an Indian doctor walks in. We pour our woes out to him. By this time sonny was afraid of every stranger who wanted to poke into his mouth to see what’s wrong. He pronounced – “the child is teething. I’m going to prescribe a gel – use it 3-4 times a day and he’ll be fine”. Its takes 5 hours for the hospital to procure this OTC teething gel. Had we known – hubby would’ve just rushed to the Walgreens across the parking lot to get one.
Gel does its job – in an hour after application – sonny takes his first bite in 2 days. Our ordeal has ended. I can’t tell you how fast we rushed out of that place. It took a full week before sonny got back to his regular schedule.
They say babies don’t remember traumatic experiences. Mine does. He still wont lie down on strange and unknown beds – until we’ve held him for a while. He’s still scared of doctors – every doctor visit is a traumatic experience. He still wont let us feel his mouth – whether it hurts or otherwise. I wonder when he’ll get over it. Medicine dispensation is a Herculean task for us – no matter how it tastes (yes I have tasted his medicine, before I gave it to him).
“Is he teething?” hubby’s question breaks my recollection. “I think he is”. Teething gel application is a process, I shall reserve for another post. Suffice to say, its takes both me and hubby to get the job done. At about 6am sonny nods off. I wonder if the last 1 week’s drama and fever were a result of a new tooth coming in. If it was, I thank God – for this relatively smooth teething experience.