There are many firsts that new parents look forward to. A baby’s first fever is not one of them.
This past week, Rich and I earned our caring-for-a-sick-baby badge. On Saturday evening, Isaac developed low-grade fever accompanied by a runny nose. By Sunday morning, after throwing up curdled milk all over myself and our couch, his fever had risen to 103 degrees and he was very obviously not feeling well. Fortunately, it quickly came down after a dose of children’s Motrin and lots of snuggles from his mama and papa. By Tuesday afternoon, his fevers subsided and he a red rash started appearing throughout his little body. After some help from Dr. Google, we came up with an official diagnosis of Roseola.
All in all, it was a very tame experience. He only threw up once, he never refused to drink, and his fevers were very controllable. That being said, I was amazed by the amount of fear that rose up in my heart from a tame case of Roseola. All of my sad PICU memories came flooding back. When his fever rose, I thought of the four-year-old girl who was wheeled onto the unit sitting up on a gurney and died from septic shock two hours after arriving. When I wiped Isaac’s runny nose, I thought about elementary school boy who began uncontrollably seizing after a week long bout with a virus. When he walked around the house exhausted, I thought about the toddler with leukemia who’s only symptoms pre-diagnosis was fatigue.
Isaac is feeling much better and, with the exception a slightly runny nose, is back to perfect health. But watching him be sick and remembering all those stories was a reminder of how little control I truly have in this life. It reminded me that as a mother I can do my best to nurture, protect, love, guide, and provide for my favorite little toddler, but at the end of the day, I can’t don’t have control of his life. And I never will.
When I think of all that is going on in the world, all of the evil and injustice, all of the sickness and disease, it terrifies me. I know there are thousands of mamas in this country and around the world who are watching their baby’s suffer. There is no guarantee that my life will never be touched by that kind of pain.
Which, in a strange way, leads me to gratitude. Grateful that, today, I have a caring, healthy husband and a happy (although sometimes whiny), sweet little boy. Grateful that we have a roof over our heads and a home filled with much love and much good food. Grateful that we will go to bed tonight unafraid. Grateful that we have a faith that keeps us.
And when the fear digs its heels into my heart, I try to remember that whatever may come in this life, the promise of “Thou art with me,” will hold true.
To all the mamas out there who are watching your children suffer, may He be with you. To all the nurses who are caring for them, may He give you strength and courage. To those whose children are no longer with us, may He give you comfort.
May we all recognize the grace of each new day.