You ran a fever for 48 hours and we had to rush you to the emergency room in the middle of the night, when it started to seem like your fever just wouldn’t go down. You cried for four hours at the ER. That caused me so much stress, I thought I was going to have a stroke. I’m not used to you crying for anywhere near that long. Your fever topped at 40.5 degrees Celsius. You finally fell asleep in exhaustion, tucked into a fetal position on my lap, with your arms wrapped around me and your head on my chest.
You were admitted and we got a semi-private room because all the private rooms on the pedia floor were taken. So we had you crying, and a 10-month-old girl with dengue on the other side of the room crying when you weren’t, all hours of the day and night. Sigh. When they took her blood for some tests in the middle of the night, she screamed bloody murder. You were asleep, but you cried with her. Sweet baby. I had to wake you up because you were inconsolable.
They had to hook you up to an IV. Your father made me stay outside the room because he knew I would bawl along with you. You put up quite a fight, so he had to wrestle you and hold you down while the doctor attempted to insert the needle inside your hands. She failed three times on your small hands, because you were so dehydrated that your veins kept bursting. I could hear you screaming and crying across the hallway in a different room, and I cried with you. You went out with bandages on both your hands. Your dad looked at me and tears welled up in his eyes. He said you looked up at him as if to ask why he was letting them hurt you. It’s safe to say this has been very, very traumatic for the both of us, maybe significantly more than it has been for you. When we praised you for being so brave, you clapped your bandaged hands. That’s my boy.
You and your dad had to do that again, this time on your arm. It took longer and you screamed and cried louder, and I stood outside the door of the examination room weeping. I wanted to go in but I might’ve done something crazy like inject the resident doctor with needles four times, too. Okay, that’s a joke. Sort of. Your father and I pride ourselves in being strong people, and brave almost to the point of being foolhardy. But seeing you that way was nothing we were prepared for. You’re still so little, and it hurt us so much to see you so ill.
We had to wrap your arm in a diaper so you wouldn’t tug at the wire or needle. We called it your robotic diaper arm. And we tried to make our hospital stay an “adventure” as best as we could. You charmed a nurse and she lent you toys from the locked play room. You spent some time pushing a toy car around the hallway, because apparently, pushing it is way more fun than riding it.
We were able to take you home this afternoon. You haven’t had a fever in 24 hours and we’re thankful. You’ve erupted in rashes though. You have roseola, and are finally on the mend. We’ve missed watching you play on your mat. We’ve missed watching you walk around, talking to yourself. Our hospital stay wasn’t completely unbearable. We actually had a bit of fun with it despite the circumstances, but we are so very glad to be home.
I just stared at you as you slept. It sounds a bit creepy when you’re not a mother, I guess, but I do that sometimes. You’re sleeping so peacefully tonight that just watching you this way is making all the stress from these past few days melt away. I think one of my most basic needs is the need to create. I need to write things, take pictures of things, just make things with my hands. Funnily enough, I have never felt the need to create a baby, and yet here you are. You are the purest, most beautiful thing I have ever made. And if you are the last thing I could make this perfectly, I could live with that.