Diarrhea. It’s a word I can’t actually say out loud, especially in polite company, but apparently I am writing a blog post about it now. One of my biggest fears since becoming a mother has been contracting gastroenteritis. On Tuesday, my fear became a reality. It wasn’t good.
My day began like any other, I was tired and I was concerned about Little Birdie’s (LB) naps. LB hadn’t slept well the day before and it seemed history was repeating itself on Tuesday. To make matters worse, I think her poor day sleeps were my fault, because I had started doing something new. I was taking LB out for a morning walk before her first nap and the change in routine meant I was putting her down a little late. It wasn’t working out well and I felt torn between the joy of a morning walk and the need to get LB to sleep well.
I was musing on this on Tuesday morning as I sat cutting up vegetables for that night’s dinner and listening to LB grumble instead of sleeping. It wasn’t a cry but it certainly wasn’t sleep either. I didn’t know whether to go in and resettle her or let her go on whinging. She started to cry a bit, so I decided to try resettling her. Big mistake. Big cry. Darn.
I went back to peeling my veges, listening to LB on the baby monitor and willing her to nod off. Eventually, she started to settle and that is when I felt it. My stomach was doing flip-flops, my heart was racing and I felt cold. Odd. I wondered if my vitamins were upsetting me again. I have been taking a high dose of vitamin B and it was irritating my stomach a little. I resolved to monitor the situation.
Soon, LB woke from her nap and I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to feed her. Big mistake. That cup of tea was the last straw. Soon after I finished the feed I felt that familiar cramping. Panicked thoughts flashed through my mind, I knew I was in for trouble, but what to do with the baby? She was very cross from poor sleep and wasn’t handling the day well as it was, without Mummy being tied up as well. However, I had no time to waste, the cramps were getting intense, so I popped her on the lounge room mat and ran for the toilet. Huge mistake. Ginormous. Why did I not opt for the cot or the playpen? Goodness knows.
Predictably, as I was stuck in the toilet, I realized I hadn’t shut the gate at the top of the stairs. As soon as I could, I cleaned up and raced out to close it. Why didn’t I put her in the playpen then? I had only been out a few seconds when the cramps returned, worse this time. I ended up doubled over the toilet, moaning in pain. LB began to cry in a distressed manner and I felt terrible for leaving her alone in the lounge, but what could I do? My heart broke and I called out to her that she was OK, willing my body to get back on track so I could return to LB.
Before long, I was able to clean up a second time and go and get my bubby. She was crying terribly and she’d managed to pull the cord that charges the dust buster out from behind the fridge. I noticed she was drooling a lot and was really very upset. I picked her up to comfort her, giving her a big hug and as I tried to calm her down. Nothing worked. I needed help. I grabbed the phone to ring my husband, dreading the onset of the next set of cramps, hoping I had washed my hands well enough not to spread the germs to LB. The line was dead. I hung up and tried to ring again. Nothing. LB kept crying, I kept reassuring her. I raced over to my mobile and had more luck this time. I got through to my husband, who agreed to work from home for the afternoon. What a relief! Now I just hoped that the dreaded cramps didn’t return.
The troubles didn’t end there, though. LB continued to be upset and wouldn’t eat her lunch. I assumed it was because I was trying her on white fish for the first time, but she wasn’t impressed with cereal or fruit either. I put her down on her play mat and it dawned on me. She had sucked the electrical cord; it must have given her a zap. I stuck it on my own tongue to test it out and ZAP. Oh dear.
Another phone call to my husband followed. By this time, LB was in a slightly better mood and she seemed fine, so we resolved to monitor her instead of rushing off to the doctor. In hindsight, I think she got hurt but was also shocked that Mummy wasn’t there to help her. She struggled with the afternoon nap, but she had struggled with her nap that morning and the day before, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary.
Soon, my husband was home to run back up and my luck began to turn. The dreaded cramps did not return and I tried to take it a little easier for the afternoon (virtually impossible when you have a baby). LB had a reasonable night’s sleep, waking a bit earlier than usual at 2.15 am for a feed. I decided to skip the library this morning so that I could rest and we could work on LB’s napping. My decision paid off. We had a lovely day today, I put LB down every two hours for a nap, as soon as she showed tired signs and she settled better. I went to bed and rested during her first two naps and I could feel myself recovering from the day before. We even managed to get out for a family walk this evening when my husband got home from work.
So, from a nightmare Tuesday I found a silver lining. By staying home today, I had a better time getting LB to nap and had a lovely walk with my hubby. Even better is the fact that neither LB nor hubby appear to be sick. I’d rather not have to go suffer the dreaded diarrhea to make me appreciate my day but at least it’s all over now!
I’ll attach a link to the Australian Breastfeeding Association fact sheet on Gastroenteritis and breastfeeding. I found it very helpful.