Sick Babies and Motherly Stress

It finally happened. River and Lydia are sick. They mysteriously caught a cold over the weekend. 

River is having a tougher time than Lydia – she sounds like a crackling plastic water bottle when she breathes, has a killer cough, and has a hard time sleeping because of how hard she has to breathe. Lydia has the sneezes and coughs, and a very runny nose. 

Monday night/Tuesday morning was absolute hell. It felt like we were back in the newborn stage again. They were constantly crying, screamed when we put them back down, and all they wanted were snuggles. As a result, Rick and I only got about 3 hours of sleep each, and I became the angry, sobbing mess I was when the girls didn’t sleep through the night. 

After taking River to the doctor yesterday, we saw a little bit of progress. We got our own nebulizer, which River uses every 4 hours. They were both a little happier. Lydia slept through the night and River zonked out at 9 and didn’t wake up until 4. 

Poor baby

Tonight’s a different story. River is up way past her bedtime, too congested to sleep, two and a half hours until we can use the nebulizer again, and thrashing around and screaming when I try to unclog her nose. So, what I do do?

I helplessly sob. 

This is the worst feeling in the world. I don’t want to compare apples to oranges, nor do I want to exaggerate, but this is a little worse than having them in the NICU from a piece-of-mind perspective. At least there they were given medicines and fluids and cared for 24/7. Sick and home, there’s no instruction manual and no attentive and knowledgeable nurse around every minute. Nobody to tell you she’s ok and you’re doing all you can do. Nobody to help with unclogging her nose. Nobody to keep you and your differently-tempered husband from bickering and arguing over who’s more tired of hearing them cry, or who’s overreacting the most.

Me sitting next to the cool mist humidifier in an attempt to soothe River, who fell asleep sitting up

On top of my heart breaking with every little sob she lets out or every little wheeze, the stress of having to do things for ourselves and not being able to because a sick baby is attached to us at all times hits hard. We still have to work tomorrow, we still have to get some rest, we still have to eat. My back is shot from baby carrying, my entire skull hurts from being tired and having a baby cry in my ear, and I can feel a depressive episode knocking on my door. My temper is out of control and I had a very manic few hours, and now it’s turning into anger and remorse. Not towards the girls, but towards reasons that remain buried and won’t be talked about. 

I know this sounds like I’m going a little overboard, and I may agree once the girls feel better. But this is the first time they’re sick, how else do you expect me, a new mom with tons of continuing stress, to feel? How do you expect me to feel when River won’t drink more than 3oz every 3 to 4 hours, and violently refuses any oatmeal or solids or apple juice? How do you expect me to feel when I’m terrified she’s going to drop weight and become dehydrated, which then could require her to have an IV on her with liquid nutrition? How do you expect me to feel when I let her fuss and cry for a few minutes while hoping she’ll sleep, when I’m terrified she’ll get too clogged and not be able to breathe? 

Being a mom is hard. Especially when you feel so alone and helpless, with a multitude of thoughts and theories and problems going through your brain. The hurdles become too high at times and I become too tired, and I can’t seem to be able to jump over them. 

I wish the girls weren’t sick. 

I wish I could do more for them. 

I wish life wasn’t constantly so hard. 

I wish we could catch a break. 

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