It's hard to avoid seeing the connection between my return to work and this baby's frequent illness since then. In December, it was a fever and cough that brought me first to the ER, then to our family doctor, where I was told (both times) that it was viral and therefore there was nothing to be done but wait it out.
In early January, it was a night of vomiting that led to a week of loss of appetite. Just when she seemed to perk up a bit, she was brought low by another cold. Day after day went by, wondering if she was seeming better, if her cough seemed looser, if maybe today would be the day we could entice her to eat a bit more.
Finally, last weekend, after a week spent calling home from work to find out how she fared, I took her to the ER again (as our family doctor was not available). We were seen quickly and the nurse who did the initial check-in was warm, gentle, and compassionate. Then the doctor came in and saw on her chart that she is not (yet) immunized.
I felt the shift in her energy immediately as she dismissed me as a rational person. The tone of her words became sarcastic and patronizing and I realised that I could no longer expect any help or even encouragement from her. Her biggest concern was that, since our ER visit in December, Norah hadn't gained weight.
She decided against a chest x-ray as "the radiation from an x-ray does way more harm than any immunization would". I was told that the fact that she is not immunized "complicated things" because she could have whooping cough (never mind that she is cared for at home and has three immunized siblings, AND had only been coughing for 4 days). It was then suggested that I feed her Cheerios to fatten her up.
We've opted for yogurt, full fat milk, fruit, rice, meat, and veggies. She has perked up considerably, and although I haven't weighed her, she feels heavier on my hip and is behaving more like herself.
It's hard on a working mama to leave her breastfed baby when she is sick. I have had to rely on my husband and mother to ply her with food, and although I was thinking it might be time to night-wean (before I turn 40 this week), I'm grateful for all those nocturnal calories she's taking in (not to mention the restorative cuddles we share when the rest of the household sleeps).
It's been a few months of ups and downs. We're on an upward swing right now and I'm crossing my fingers that with Spring starting to whisper in my ear (albeit from very far away), my girl will well on her way to wellness (without Cheerios) long before the warm breezes blow.