Battle weary

[I’d like to start by politely requesting that this post and subsequent responses not turn into a vax vs. no-vax sort of debate. I try to honor all individual choices made by families and simply wanted to write about something that’s currently going on in our family.]

Baby E went for his four-month visit and vaccinations on Friday morning. The pediatrician was so pleased with his development – 16 lb, 4 oz (60% for weight), 25″ (40% for height) and a head circumference of 17.25″. Her official diagnosis for E was “awesome,” and we agree. We also got the go-ahead to begin introducing solid foods as we feel comfortable.

Unfortunately, he had some pretty serious responses to the vaccines. His two month vaccines caused very mild irritability and a lot of sleepiness. This time around, we had some pretty intense irritability, to the point of being inconsolable at times, significant reduction in his threshold to cope with change when he’s normally an extraordinarily mellow guy, and the worst part: explosive diarrhea. The diarrhea has gone on for a few days and seems to be getting worse. We called the on-call pediatrician last night, and she encouraged us to introduce Pedialyte and to come in for a visit if his diarrhea continued into morning (and it, of course, did).

I had taken quite a few days off lately, so K stayed home from work with E and took him to the pediatrician. He has lost 5 oz. since Friday and the doc believes that he has Rotavirus from the live vaccine or was exposed to another tummy trouble inducing virus (which just seems too coincidental, IMO). We are to continue giving him formula and Pedialyte and, if he fails to produce three pee diapers over the course of the day, need to bring him back again tomorrow for further assessment.

Little guy is SO lethargic and sad. He doesn’t want to eat much (who does when it’s exploding out the other end?!) and it’s horrible to see him this way. Our house also smells – let’s just say – not so fresh. I am truly worried about him and it’s hard to be at work while he and Daddy both suffer.

To add insult to injury:

  • We visited my folks on Lake Michigan this weekend in a very poorly planned turn of events. Having all of our regular routines and processes disrupted by travel is significantly harder when you add a sick, disgruntled infant into the mix.
  • K and I were both battling colds through the process.
  • My generous, well-intentioned parents purchased two thoughtful but very large combined birthday gifts for K and I. This meant that we had even less room in our packed-to-the-gills small vehicle.
  • My retired engineer of a father proceeded to stand behind me and “direct” the placement of the multitude of items I was packing for our departure. After getting increasingly exasperated and after multiple requests to be left alone during this process, I finally ended up yelling at my dad, “I’m serious, Dad, WALK. AWAY.” It was a much less gracious departure than I had intended, but I really didn’t feel like my boundaries were being respected in that moment.
  • We got stuck in traffic for about half an hour on the way home, with no means of escape because there weren’t any exits on this stretch of highway. This occurred concurrently with our irritable child moaning and screaming, our only options to endure the screaming or prolong it by pulling off to the side of the road.
  • Our younger dog tried to leap into the front seat of the car when we were more than halfway home. As I turned to the backseat to yell at her, I discovered what had freaked her out: her elderly sister, whose health has been rapidly declining as of late, was actively having a seizure. K tried to pull off the side of the highway so that we could get our dog out of the car and assess her health. After a few minutes of me attempting to calm a seizing canine along a busy highway (what were we THINKING?!), we decided this was a terrible idea and got back into the car with the seizing dog on my lap while we tried to quickly find an exit.
  • We found a rest stop, where K and I could finally relieve our aching bladders and attend to the sick doggy. We were both soooo thirsty, not having had an opportunity to really focus at all on our own needs for the entire trip. K came back from his restroom trip, apologizing for not being able to purchase bottles of water for us from the vending machine because he didn’t have any dollar bills. As luck would have it, I had several dollar bills, but when I finally had the opportunity to pee and make my way to the vending machine, I fed two dollars into the machine, gleefully pressed the button for water, only to see the red “SOLD OUT” flash before my eyes. Then, the machine wouldn’t give me a refund and I sulked while I selected the best option I could manage, Diet Dr. Pepper, which isn’t even among my top five soda choices. The silver lining here is that our dog recovered from her seizure and we were able to calmly continue on in our merry (ha!) travels.
  • About half an hour later, I realized that we were low on fuel and decided we shouldn’t take any chances, given our day’s luck, and just stop at the next reasonable exit. Of course this meant that the baby woke up and was famished. K had to take him inside of the combo gas station/fast-food restaurant to change his diaper and secure some hot water to give him a bottle. E was screaming bloody murder the entire time, causing the entire crowd to stare at K, wondering what he could have possibly done to this poor child to cause him to scream in such a manner. K swears he saw a group of athletic teenage boys looking on in horror as though they realized what a seemingly heterosexual man’s life could look like if he decided not to wear a condom during sexual intercourse with a female partner.
  • Once we were finally home, our dog took another turn for the worse, searching for a place to hide like she wanted to die in peace. She laid on her side and closed her eyes while K and I cried and told her that if she felt it was her time, she could go and find her late sister, that we loved her and that she was such a good girl. After a few minutes, out of nowhere, she lifted her head, stood up, and trotted away to jump up and snuggle on the couch. K and I just stared blankly at each other, mouths gaping.

It has been a roller coaster of a weekend, to be certain. I slept so hard when I finally went to bed last night that I didn’t even require my second nightly dose of sleeping meds.

An update: After several doses of Pedialyte today, E seems to be on the upswing. He’s had a few pee diapers (enough so that he doesn’t have to go back to the pediatrician tomorrow) and is a lot more joyful and energetic. K just changed him into his overnight diaper and triumphantly declared, “His nuts look less shriveled!” That pretty much says it all, friends.

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16 thoughts on “Battle weary

  1. Ugh. Sounds harrowing! Hope everyone feels much much better soon! My elderly dog frequently does the old dying fake out. I love him and I wish he would quit it with those antics.

    • I am sending many positive vibes your way in hopes that this doesn’t happen to you. I was reading some of the CDC potential adverse reactions to vaccinations (you know, nothing to alarm you or anything) and they said a third of babies will experience irritability after DTaP and 80% after PCV13, and that after the rotavirus vax, “Babies might become irritable, or have mild, temporary diarrhea or vomiting.” Mild?!

      Anyway, as rough as it has been, I would much rather deal with having a temporarily sick and/or fussy kiddle than risk the potential for a much more serious, life threatening illness down the road.

  2. Oh no! I think you could have lived without all of that. I’m glad he is starting to do a little better. It’s hard to make sure to take care of yourselves with a baby add in being out of routine and you might as well throw in the towel!
    Can they test him to see if it was rotovirus? Might still want to report it to VAERS anyway. I’m of the belief each family should do their own research, keep a critical mind, and make the decision they think is best for their family. Vaccines were well intentioned but I think they shouldn’t be billed as a wonder drug.

    • The ped wants to do further testing if he maintains his dehydration symptoms, from which he seems to be thankfully recovering. The CDC vax website says it’s really common (and I’m reading a lot of anecdotal evidence to support this) for kiddles to get diarrhea from that vax. I’m moving forward with the assumption that it was rotavirus, which means I’m going to wash and attempt to disinfect the heck out of ALL of our cloth diapers once symptoms have subsided.

      And I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment about researching with a critical mind. K and I know folks who make decisions because “that’s what people do, right,” and we’re the critical minded nerds who research things to hell on pretty much everything. We find a lot of joy in a pro/con list. 😉

      • Reporting it to VAERS will help them to have accurate data on how many children have what kinds of reactions to different vaccines.
        I had figured you were big research nerds like me!

  3. I read this and felt like I was watching a movie 🙂 It’s like you said “a roller coaster..” and all roller coasters come to an end…just remind yourself “this too shall pass”…glad baby’s doing better 😉 extra hugs and kisses to u guys 😀

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