For the past six days, my baby girl has been sick with a respiratory infection. She has been suffering from Bronchiolitis, which is basically a virus that causes mucous to build up in the small bronchial tubes in the lungs. She’s had difficulty breathing and she’s been wheezing and coughing – she’s had a runny/stuffy nose and a fever. There were days this week when, despite all our efforts, she was too weak to muster a smile. And it completely broke my heart.
I’ve decided there is absolutely no worse feeling in the world than watching your child suffer and knowing that you cannot do anything to alleviate that suffering. I’ve held her in my arms and cried because I could tell she was so miserable and it just seemed so unfair that this beautiful, helpless baby was going through this.
She can’t understand what’s happening… she can’t even blow her own nose, for God’s sake – how is it fair to be sick when you can’t even blow your own nose?!? I’ve had to suck her snot out with the nosefrida. It’s an idea that sounds gross to people who don’t have kids, but those who do don’t even flinch. Your kid’s nose is stuffy, they can’t blow it, you suck it. Case closed. Although, I must say, she hates it (even though she feels better afterwards) she hates having people messing with her all the time. Today, I reached towards her to touch her face and she recoiled. It hurt my heart. I know she’s just associating it with me wiping her nose (which gets sore after a while) but it still made me a little sad.
I’m only able to write now because she’s asleep, and I believe, on the mend. She’s been in good spirits today, and I realize more than ever that her smile means the world to me. I will make a complete fool of myself – anywhere, anytime – if it means I get one of her gorgeous ear-to-ear grins. I live and die for her. She holds my heart in her hands. I am constantly in awe of how immense my love is for her. I want to protect her so much that I can feel that desire in me as a visceral pain. I know I can’t protect her from everything and her being sick has probably been a lot harder on me and her dad than it has been on her. I’ve never felt more helpless or useless in my life.
How am I going to make it? This is just her first illness, and it’s not even a serious one at that. How will I make it through her first real injury, her first day at school, her first broken heart, her first million-and-one things that everyone goes through?
I guess I feel like I’m earning my stripes as a parent now. The word “Mom” is sounding more like a badge of honor to me these days than a description of familial relations. And despite everything I’ve just written here, I know in my heart, I’m ready for one more. Our family is meant to be the four of us… so whoever you are, spirit number four, get ready. Mommy doesn’t have a lot of time and you’ll soon be on your way!