Last week, as we joyfully celebrated my son’s first birthday we also celebrated another milestone: another trip to the pediatrician’s office. I’m really starting to feel like I should have a VIP parking spot or some kind of frequent visitor punch card. For more than half of my sweet baby’s life, he has battled a multitude of illnesses. All of which my pediatrician says are normal for an infant in daycare and experiencing his first cold and flu season (not what any mom wants to hear). I’m just not really sure how much more my heart can take watching my son in misery with yet another illness. My husband and I are exhausted from sleepless nights, weary from rocking him in the middle of the night because his feverish body cannot get comfortable, and heartbroken as we hold him down, again, kicking and screaming, for another shot or medical procedure.
I wish I had answers or a cure to offer, but I don’t. Honestly, I’m plain out of ideas myself. And if you too have a frequently ill child, you know all the doctor can tell you is “this is normal” and offer suggestions for comfort. As the old adage goes, I keep him comfortable and hydrated and just hope that he feels better (and stays better) soon, but goodness it hurts my mommy heart to see him so miserable, all too often.
In the past
sicks six months my sweet boy has battled countless ear infections, a stomach bug, a viral illness with fever, RSV, an eye infection, an upper respiratory infection and PE tube placement followed by another ear infection. As a result, this constant battle with illness has slowed his weight gain because he feels too bad to eat or frequently throws up what we’ve fed him. Like so many moms with sick kids, I’m tired, frustrated and a bit heartbroken. Here are my best suggestions to making it through the remainder of what is a hopefully very short cold and flu season.
1. Accept Help.
Whether it be a neighbor, family, spouse or friend who offers to make you dinner, keep your kids so you can work, or just chat with you on the phone while you rock a sleeping baby, accept any and all help you are offered.
2. Try non-traditional treatments.
I accept the fact that vapor rub and essential oils won’t cure all illnesses, but at this point, I’m willing to try anything to make my child more comfortable when he’s ill. Ask your doctor for approval and fellow-moms for suggestions or recommendations. What have you got to lose?
3. Find an enjoyable way to pass the time.
I’ve spent countless days home from work and have indulged in binge watching one of my favorite shows while my sick baby naps. Netflix, Amazon Prime and social media will be your best companions as you soothe and comfort your sick little baby.
4. Divide and conquer.
My husband and I have become masters at splitting days at home with a sick child so we can both work (at least some). Many times, trading places in the parking lot of the pediatrician’s office.
5. Find a support system.
Chat with other moms who are in similar situations. They too have no answers, but can share in your misery and become a welcome listening ear.
6. Trust your gut.
Motherly instincts are strong. Trust them. I have brought my son to the pediatrician many times when I just felt something wasn’t right. Sure enough, nearly every time, my instincts were absolutely correct and he was indeed sick.
7. Look for a silver-lining.
Nothing can make an ongoing difficult situation better than finding a little optimism. I have had to remind myself many times over the past few months that we have so much to be grateful for.
With the recurrent illnesses, I’ve struggled to maintain my sanity, but managed to find my silver-lining. I’m so grateful that my children are not ill with a terminal or incurable illness, I’m blessed to have a flexible job and supportive coworkers when I call in almost every week, and we are fortunate to have a good health insurance plan that has kept us from completely draining our savings to pay medical bills. For now, my son is finally on the mend and will hopefully stay well for many, many months.