Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It started last night.  My Mommy radar was activated - but only slightly.  Hope was clinging to my leg and looking up at me with pleading eyes - crying and almost yelling at me.  She even growled at me.  That wasn't unusual - she does that every night when I'm making dinner.  But during dinner, she barely ate.  Now THAT was unusual because this one loves to eat.

After dinner I sat on the floor in the playroom to read a "Magic Tree House" book to Brian.  Hope was all over me - begging to nurse and wanting to be held or walking around and touching her head. Hmmm, I thought.  She seems tired is what I thought.

I nursed her in her room and we both fell asleep for almost an hour.  Typically she is anxious to get out of my arms and lay down.  Hmmm...

Around midnight she woke up crying - not unusual lately because of her teeth.  But as I opened the door - and heard her soft cry - I knew.  Something was wrong.

I could almost feel the heat radiating from her crib before I even touched her.  The thermometer read 103.6.  We walked downstairs to the kitchen and I gave her some Tylenol and then called the doctor. Crap - another office was on call covering for them.  They don't know me - know our story - and likely wouldn't know how much I was "panicking while trying not to panic."  Since Gavin's death from an out of the blue febrile seizure - I have "fever phobia."  I know it's illogical and I get all that - but sometimes feelings overrule facts.

The on call doctor told me to give her Tylenol (check) and keep her comfortable until our regular doctor's office opened in the morning.  I sat with Hope in the corner of her room - in Gavin's chair - and rocked her back to sleep as her fever creeped down.  Eventually I put her back in her crib and set up shop with a pillow and a blanket back in the chair.  But sleep wouldn't come.  Was she breathing fast?  She seems to be breathing too fast.  Let me feel her head - is she still hot?  Is she breathing too slow?  Is she even breathing?  Let's just say it was a long night.  

I finally decided I should try to close my eyes - and went to my own bed.  I was just drifting into sleep when I heard her cries.  I looked at the clock - 5:20.  I stumbled to her room and as I lifted her out of her crib I felt like my hands were on fire.  The thermometer read 104.9.  I quickly walked downstairs with her in my arms and started to draw up the Tylenol while calling the doctor again.  Part of me wanted to skip that whole part and just pack her up and head to the emergency room... but I was wrestling, once again, with trying to remain calm vs overreacting and not sure where the balance was - it's very hard to explain.  Honestly - I second guess everything now.  It sucks.

The doctor said to head right to the emergency room, of course.  I woke up Ed, who has been in bed with the flu for days, to tell him.  He warmed up the car for me while I packed up some quick essentials.  Before I went downstairs, I noticed the light on in Brian's room.  The commotion must have woken him.  I went into his room and gently explained what was going on...

How ironic that just the DAY before, Brian and I fell into the discussion of Gavin's death - the fever - how the fever rose too high, too fast that it made Gavin's heart stop beating.  How he travelled to Heaven... leaving his 'suitcase' behind.  And now I'm sitting on his bed, looking into his wide eyes, telling him that I was taking his baby sister to the hospital because of... a fever.  It wasn't fair.

Brian walked downstairs to say goodbye to his little sister and I promised him that I'd let him know how she was.  I left him with Ed who would get him on the bus and off to school.

It was dark and cold outside as we drove the half hour to the emergency room.  So dark that I couldn't see Hope's face in the mirror.  She was quiet - surely sleeping - but my mind was racing with thoughts.  As I drove my baby to the hospital knowing she was burning up and listless I willed myself not to panic.  But the thoughts kept on coming...

What if she's seizing right now and I can't see her?
I can't pull over each time I'm worried - we'll never get there!
Those damn news reports about this deadly flu - I'm sure this is the flu - dammit! - why do I keep remembering about those news stories.  There was a child that died recently from this flu!!
Surely God wouldn't take another child from me.
We all had flu shots!  I can't believe this year's flu shot doesn't cover this strain.
Am I being tested, God?  Is this a test?  Are you trying to show me that I can survive fevers?
I wonder if the ER will treat me for these crazy, illogical thoughts...

About one minute away from the hospital, Hope started to cry.  And so did I.  I was so grateful to hear sound from the backseat.  Clearly I have post traumatic stress - if it's not obvious.

The security guard, as soon as he heard the baby, came over and helped me get into the building fast. Lucky for me, there were only two people in the waiting room with us.  We were brought back quickly - they gave Hope a dose of Motrin to help her fever come down more - and we were brought to a room in the Emergency Department.

By the time the doctor saw her, her fever had come down to an acceptable temperature.  But when the doctor put a scope into her right ear she gasped.  "Wow, poor baby!  This ear is badly infected," she said.  I couldn't believe it.  How did I not see that?  Know that?  And then she checked the left ear and had the same response!!  Two badly infected ears.  I felt instant shame.  I know it's illogical (again) and maybe it seems extreme - but I take it so personally when my kids get sick.  Because I do so many things to keep them healthy, when they get sick I feel like I've failed in some way.  No need to write to me about this - or the fever PTSD - or the overreacting to having to drive my child to the emergency room - I know my issues.  When you lose a child in such a random way - well, you just have to ride out the waves of recovery.  And part of that, for me, is worrying about my remaining childrens' health.  A lot.

The doctor was about to discharge us after prescribing antibiotics, but I wasn't done.  What do I know, but I felt those fevers were a little too high for ear infections.  I asked if it would be possible to test Hope for the flu.  After all, Ed has it.  And through the night I noticed her start to cough and sneeze.  The nasal swab for the test was not fun for Hope - or for me as I pinned her down - but sure enough, it came back positive.  Influenza A.

Part of me, to be honest, was hoping they would keep her. But that was the fear-based part of me that would not be able to handle it if anything happened at home.  But most of me was grateful when the doctor discharged us home.  There are too many illnesses in hospitals and the last thing we need is to add another diagnosis to our winter.  Or as I like to call it - the WORST WINTER EVER.

Back at home, Hope perked up a little and even had more of an appetite once I got her on a Motrin/Tylenol cycle.  I even had a chance to relax on the couch while she and Ed slept.  

I'm still 'on guard' and won't relax until Hope can go fever-free without medicine.  I'll probably sleep in her room again. If this morning taught me anything it is this...

I got nothing.  This morning taught me nothing.  But it did remind me of how quickly and without warning we lost Gavin.  And that, my friends, is a very painful reminder. I had the flashbacks all night to prove it.

Hope will be fine.  Ed will be fine.  We will all be fine. And they make hair dye that I will pay good money for to cover up the damage from this experience.

Thank you for caring about our little family - and for all the prayers that poured in for our little girl today!!


  1. Praying for you. Loving all of you! ❤️

  2. Hugs to you, Kate! Of course you have fever PTSD - what mother wouldn't in your shoes. You are doing great and you will continue to do so.

  3. Reading this blog felt like I was reading about myself! I lost a child 10 years ago at the age of 4. I have 4 other children and I get huge adrenaline drops as I have to talk myself through there colds and minor injuries! You are definitely not alone. You are an amazing mom! I pray the sickness stops at Hope and the rest of you stay healthy! Blessings

  4. I have not had to endure what you have, but I constantly worry that I will have to experience the loss of a child....I know those sleepless nights well. Wishing you rest, peace of mind, and a fever free baby :-). We are also ready to leave winter behind! My daughter was singing the song Mr. sun...sun....Mr. golden Sun, please shine down on me....and then got a sad little face and said "I miss the sun..." Me too! Looking forward to warm, sunny days ahead :-)

  5. I understand completly. I panic a little everytime my babies get sick. I'm glad Hope feels better.

  6. You are such a great mom Kate. Trust those instincts. Nobody knows your kids like you do. I hope everyone is on the mend quickly and things are back to "normal" soon.

  7. Well of course you have fever PTSD. I didn't lose my son, but I did have to follow his mobile ICU as he was transferred from one hospital to the next, and for years afterwards couldn't hear a siren without having a panic attack. It's been over 12 years now and I am doing better, but it took time. I won't ask you to relax because that is patronizing and foolish. I will ask you to be gentle with yourself, and kind, as you would be to a beloved friend. You are, as you always have been, doing your VERY VERY BEST 24/7/365...and your VERY VERY BEST is just plain AMAZINGLY AWESOME. Hoping you get some peaceful rest tonight.

  8. It's natural you have PTSD over fevers. When my youngest was four months old she had a febrile fit, this on top of the guilt I felt (& still feel) that I nearly killed her. (When she was born her glucose were 0.1...I'm a diabetic. Logically I know it wasn't my fault, as I'd meticulously made sure my blood sugars stayed perfect, logically I know the hospital screwed up, but when she was in special care for 3 days logic doesn't come into it. It was the same when she had her fit at 4 months. Ever since then I still have a phobia about fevers, bearing in mind they are 15&11, at the first sign of them being unwell I'm forever taking their temperature. Praying Hope feels better soon xoxo

  9. I think you handled yourself very well. I haven't had the experience you had with losing a child and I would have had all the same fears as you. I hope your family is healthy the rest of the year.

  10. Kate you are by far one of the best mothers I have heard about.. I haven't met you however I did follow you and Gavin's story.. I can understand how scarey it was for you and you did what a good mommy should have done. You hang in there and don't beat yourself up over it too bad, I can almost guarantee you she will get sick again because she is so little and it just happens.. you all are in my prayers and I hope your whole family gets well soon ;)

  11. Kate you are a great mother. After going through what you have you did the right thing.. just reading your thoughts made me cry ;( don't beat yourself up to bad its not your fault she got sick it just happens unfortunately. You all are in my prayers and I hope your whole family heals quick.. hang in there.. I've never met you but I did follow lil Gavin's story too ;)

  12. I understand Kate. We just recently lost our 10 year old in a fatal car accident. She died instantly and I wasn't there. Now my husband, who was driving, has some stuff health wise coming up and fears I've never had before are there. And anything can trigger it.

    It's good to know I'm not alone in that.

  13. Kate, you did wonderfully. I think every mom must feel guilty about their kid's ear infections, illogical as it may seem. Great instincts to test Hope for the flu. Prayers and thoughts for your family and that everyone recovers soon!

  14. I hope "Hope" gets well soon. Also lots of prayers and best wishes for your family. You are strong. God bless all of you.

  15. If it helps at all, I would have reacted exactly the same way and I DON'T have the history you do. You did exactly the right thing(s) and I hope Miss Hope feels better REALLY soon!

  16. My brother had a heart condition and one night had a high fever. He went to sleep and never woke up. A few months later my oldest daughter had a high fever and I wanted to take her to the ER so I dropped my other kids off to my mom. The look of worry and fear on my mom's face just broke my heart. I'm sure that kind of fear is something that you never get over. It's understandable that you feel the way you do and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Praying that little Hope feels better soon!

  17. Advice needed! Kate how long do you plan on nursing Hope? I see that you still do and want to know how long you plan on doing it. I am asking for my best friend, a first time mommy with a 6month old. She is currently nursing and planned on stopping soon. She wanted your advice on the topic, as so many people have different opinions opions, some very strong opinions. I would REALLY appreciate your advice so I can share it with her!!!! Thank you in advance!


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