Wednesday, November 10, 2010

At least one of us is happy

I'm holding Jack in my arms, drinking in his peachy skin: his sandy blond hair, his tiny hand clutching my thumb with determined strength as he nurses, his miniature heart right above mine, beating away with a rhythm all its own. He looks up. "Hooway, grgle, arrrrgh ooooah", he says with a sleepy smile. "I love you too, Jack", says I.

I'm so scared for him: his gargantuan spirit contained within such a fragile shell. I have strep throat -- at least, I hope it's strep throat, because Dr. Google tells me that, unlike the flu, Jack can't catch strep. I've been sick since Monday, with a sore throat that prevents me from swallowing and a fever that spiked to 104 a few hours ago. I can't remember the last time I felt so ill. I've been completely incapacitated, rescued this evening by a massive dose of antibiotics and tylenol (which one did the trick, I'm not sure). Thank goodness for my amazing husband, who has been taking such good care of me. Poor Greg. His throat started closing up tonight. Looks like he's going to be sick, too. I've been sleeping through the last two days in 30 minute intervals, intervals that are punctuated by the sharp crack of my throat... the painful reminder that I better force more tea with honey. Greg is in for a tough weekend.

So far, Jack seems OK. Maybe a little quieter than usual, but as happy as ever, and no fever.

But I'm terrified. I've been so sick that I can hardly nurse him. It was only good timing that Greg caught this three days after I did... if we had both been at the peak of sickness at the same time, I have no idea how we could have taken care of our baby. And it's only the knowledge that I need to nurse my baby that has me (painfully) chugging ever ounce of fluid that I can handle. My milk supply has dropped by at least half (plus we only have several ounces in the freezer). What if he were to get sick? What would we do? If Jack's fever spiked to 104 and he couldn't swallow, either... well, I don't like thinking about it. Everything about this situation scares me.

I know there are worse things. Some babies are in the hospital. Some parents are dealing with much more difficult thoughts than I am now. I just know that I'm worried for my baby.

Still, he's cooing and gurgling and smiling from ear to ear; I swear, he must be the happiest, chattiest baby that ever existed. When I was pregnant with him, we got through regular flu, swine flu, and three colds, and he kicked his way through every bout of my own illness. Even if my immune system sucks, he seems to be one strong little man. I hope the antibodies in my breastmilk are immunizing him for the future. I hope I can protect him.

Stay well, Jack.

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