By Cara Gambill
Being Over Protective
When Aedan was born, I was always worried about him getting sick. I remember when he was one month old I just knew he had RSV. I was ready to call our pediatrician because I had read all about RSV and knew he would have to be on fluids and in the hospital when my husband not-so-lovingly pointed out it was just a booger, and once we got it out he could breathe just fine. I could have easily been deemed a helicopter mom who never let anyone hold my baby without coming to check on them three to five times and requesting they wash their hands first. To my husband’s great relief I am much calmer now. That’s not to say I never get worked up and overprotective—I wouldn’t be a mom if I didn’t—but at least now I do not want to tell my husband we need to go to the ER every time Aedan or Nolan cough in the middle of the night.
Hand-Foot Mouth Disease
That being said, I wasn’t even concerned this summer when Aedan got a full body rash one day. After all, he had gotten them before while teething, and he was still working on a two-year molar. I wasn’t even worried that night or the next day when he said his mouth hurt. Again I thought it was his molar. It was late in the next day when I realized something was wrong. He wanted to lie down instead of playing with his toys and again told me his mouth hurt. When I went to check his tooth this time, I noticed a spot on his tongue. At this point I realized it was hand-foot-and-mouth disease. For those moms who aren’t familiar with this, I hope your child never gets it. It’s viral, highly contagious, and besides Tylenol or ibuprofen there is really nothing you can do for it. At this point I panicked and the guilt set in when I realized I had ignored the early symptoms and allowed Aedan to continue kissing, hugging, and playing with his three-month-old brother when he was contagious.
Keeping it From Spreading
I left the boys with my husband and went to quickly buy popsicles, ice cream, Pedialyte and other items I thought Aedan might like or need, but by the next day his mouth was full of sores, and he refused everything but milk. My poor Aedan was miserable and all he did was lie around and cry and whimper. His feet and hands were covered in tiny bumps and his mouth looked horrible. He had sores covering his tongue and ran a constant fever. Thankfully he continued to drink milk around the clock, so he did not become dehydrated, and he was very good about taking Tylenol and ibuprofen. The hardest part for me was that I could not sit, hold, and comfort him all day, because I also needed to nurse Nolan.
At three months, I knew if Nolan got it he would likely be unable or refuse to nurse and become dehydrated. Since I was nursing Nolan, I was constantly washing my hands after giving Aedan his medicine or helping him. I could hold him when Nolan was sleeping, but then I would shower and change clothes before picking up Nolan. Maybe this was overkill and created a mountain of laundry, but I was desperate. It’s definitely much more difficult to have a sick kid when you have a baby in the house! I don’t think I have ever taken as many showers as I did those three days.
By the grace of God, Nolan never ended up getting hand-foot-and-mouth. This is a miracle especially considering I was still allowing Aedan to kiss him when he was contagious, but before I realized he was really sick. Part of me still wishes I had taken Aedan’s rash more seriously when it occurred, but even if I had, all I could have done was keep the boys separated. It’s not like I could have stopped Aedan from getting worse. After all, its viral, so what was I going to do about it?
You can’t stop sickness, and you can’t keep your children in a bubble. I still grimace when I watch another child wipe their nose and continue playing with the same toy as Aedan, but I also realize my kids are going to get sick. I allow people to hold Nolan more willingly without asking them if they have had a cold recently or if anyone in their household has been experiencing symptoms. Life happens, and all a mom can do is try her best to take care of her family.
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