I consider myself a strong woman, a solid mother, a super-star most times, okay, maybe not most, but I do try my best (chuckle). I love my job of motherhood and cherish the time I get to spend with Braden.
rocks me, knocks me off my foundation, and pretty much sends me in a
tailspin is when Braden is sick. A simple cold, runny nose or mild
cough doesn't bother me, but the middle of the night fever which spikes
to 105 with no warning or preparedness is what paralyzes me.
night, not too long after I had fallen asleep, I awoke to Braden
calling out random statements. "Don't take away my tracing board, I
want to do my Korean letters." Or, "I want my balloon. Give me my
balloon." Initially I thought he was simply having a dream and talking
in his sleep, so I called out after him, trying to jostle him out of his
dream. When that didn't work, I walked over to his bed and put my hand
on his back to try and gently shake him awake. As soon as I placed my hand on
his back I could feel the burn through his pajamas. I quickly scanned
his whole body and he was burning up all over. Still talking in his
sleep, he wasn't having a dream, he was hallucinating from the high
I panicked. I quickly grabbed him, which made
him cry out that I was hurting him. Even more petrified I asked, "What
do you mean I'm hurting you? What hurts? Please tell Mommy what is
hurting you?" Thoughts of meningitis, swine flu, Asian flu were all
swirling around in my head. When he couldn't tell me what was hurting, I
just held him as tightly as I could and through tears, I kept whispering,
"Everything is going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay."
Braden, completely attune to my feelings, stopped and asked why I was crying? This of course, made my cry even harder because this was not
the time for him to worry about me. He was supposed to depend on me
for support, me to remain calm, me to assure him that everything was
going to be okay.
It was at that moment that I pulled
myself together and did what all mommies and daddies do. I rocked and
held him for as long as I could, gave him Tylenol and a lukewarm sponge
bath until his fever broke, and then I lay down next to him, watching
him sleep for the rest of the night.
It was during that time of my watching him, his fever and my fears subsiding, that I began to reflect on what caused my panic.
was then that I realized, I was afraid: I was afraid of failing him;
I was afraid of being unprepared; I was afraid of being in a foreign
country unable to help him. There are no 24 hour CVS pharmacies I could
drive to, or a pediatrician I could call. I didn't have a medicine
cabinet I spent years filling; all I had was a bottle of Tylenol I
brought from home, and a wash cloth and bowl of lukewarm water. That's all I had
to help my baby and that... scared me.
In the midst
of my fear, I was grateful for the time difference because what was my
middle of the night was the middle of the day at home. So I called a
friend for support and she let me share my fears, my worries, and my
insecurities. She assured me that Braden would be okay, and she offered
to just sit with me as the time passed.
I know, in reflecting, that babies get sick all over the
world. That if it's not a CVS, it's a local pharmacy. If not a
pediatrician I know, it's someone I will meet at the hospital or clinic we walk into. I know that there are mothers all over the world who wake
up in the middle of the night with a child who has spiked a fever. I
know that there are mothers and father everywhere, who fall apart, just
like I did, when their babies are sick.
As I now sit here and blog about my experience, Braden is sleeping comfortably in his bed. We've been to see the
pediatrician and he does not have meningitis, the swine or Asian
flu. He simply has a throat infection. We've been prescribed medication,
and I trust, just as I would back in the States, that he will be better
in no time.
So to those of you who have sick children
right now, love them, care
for them, get some rest if you can, and don’t worry about holding it
together, because nothing knocks us off our foundations like when our
babies are sick.