Tricky, C and I have just spent the last 48 hours in Hell and it seems like we'll be making a weekend of it.
Tricky has never ever been so sick.
A runny nose during the week led to a "difficult" night of throat rasping old man type snoring and general off colour-ness. We went to the local after hours medical centre to be told he had a virus and apart from giving Panadol and keep up fluids, not much more to be done.
That night was hidious. The snot that was boiling away in his head was stopping him breathe. He would fall asleep then a few minutes later stop breathing and wake in a fright. This meant we were waking every five minutes or so too. We brought him into our bed but it didn't help. Instead, with all his usual writhing and kicking there was no sleep at all. Back and forth he went from the Big Bed to Tricky's Bed and amidst that was all the snoring and gargling and death rattling.
I was trying not to lift him, not to get up and down, stay in bed for at least half an hour after shoving in the progesterone pessary...all that Two Week Wait, easy does it, stay relaxed stuff, horribly aware of the cargo I was carrying. But finally, at the lowest point of the night when he started crying yet again, I snapped. As I launched myself out of bed, half asleep, I shouted Lie Down! I'm coming as fast again and so is your Embryonic Sibling!
I started stroking his back and he sank back down to sleep, gargling and rattling away. I felt like a complete arsehole. The next time he woke C took him out of the room and told me to go back to bed. The two of them "slept", I use the term loosely, in Tricky's cowboy tent which is set up in our loungeroom. It was quite comfy, C cheerfully told me later and nice and warm.
By the next morning Tricky was starting to look like a little crack baby, lethargic, eyes rolling back, could barely stay awake, mother becoming weepy and hysterical. Off to our regular doctor, Dr Jabs, who peered into his mouth and recoiled a little. Strep throat.Very nasty. Antibiotics.
When we spoke to Dr Jabs again, later in the day, he warned me about dehydration. The lethargy can be a sign of dehydration, was he drinking lots? Because otherwise he would need to go to hospital and go onto a drip. We had stocked up on iceblocks and various jelly crystal flavours, but, most unusually for a child who can hear a freezer door open from two floors down and shriek for icecream, we were finding it hard to get Tricky to have more than one. No he didn't want water, he didn't want jelly, he didn't want milk. By this stage I was getting ready to be hospitalised myself. Thankfully after holding us to ransom and demanding three Milk Arrowroot biscuits, he started drinking and made up his fluids again.
At around 1 last night it was C's turn to drop his bundle. We realised that Tricky was sitting up in his bed, half asleep, because it was easier for him to breathe. Inevitably he would have a few gargly breaths through his nose before the snot resettled and blocked off his air passage, then there would be silence for a moment, then a sort of shuddering choke as he tried to breathe through his mouth. This would usually wake him, or alternatively he would drift off to sleep and fall backwards or sideways with a crash in the bars of his cot.
C got out of bed, thinking, as one does, that it would be good to put him in the car because he would be sitting upright, he could go to sleep and C would just...sit in the car. Then we thought it might be better to but him in his stroller. Again he would be sitting upright, he could sleep and no one need risk their life driving about in a near-comatose state. Except...where were the car keys? Twenty minutes of increasingly frustrated storming about. I was standing holding Tricky who was screaming for his father and furious with me for keeping him from him. He let out a roar and suddenly sank his teeth into my shoulder. It was so painful and so obviously deliberate that I burst into tears. Finally the keys were found. In the car ignition. It was raining when we got back from the doctor's and we had sat in the car for several minutes before venturing in. As C dragged the stroller in and up the stairs at 1.30 in the morning, I was thankful that the rest of the family, Naughty Nephews and parents, were still away on holidays.
The rest of the night was a combination of stroller, holding Tricky upright on the couch, and lying in the tent. C and I took turns, having a couple of hours sleep before taking over from the other. It was the longest night of our parenting life. It was the sort of night where, in the morning, you say to your partner: Good Work, which means thankyou and I love you so much and look how much better he seems this morning and how the fuck will we get through another of those?
Tricky's been on antibiotics for nearly 24 hours now and I hope they really are as quick as Dr Jabs suggested they would be. In between the Dr visits, we've been dosing Tricky up on baby Panadol and some ghastly blue syrup that's meant to reduce his snot. These, and the antibiotics, are forced into his mouth using a variety of droppers. I've also been using saline drops and a thing I call a snot sucker to try and lighten the load. Every time we try and do this he cries miserably. It's horrible and it makes me feel horrible to see him this way. I keep thinking about that film Truly Madly Deeply where Alan Rickman's character Jamie is a ghost and died because of strep throat. "If only he'd had a wee suck of a Strepsil"... one of the other characters observes mornfully.
At some point during the night, as I was walking Tricky about the room, or perhaps crawling into his cowboy tent with him wailing in my ear, or just holding him, my precious beautiful baby, and stroking him and listening to him breathe, I remembered the 2WW thing again.
It's very hard not to feel like the universe is telling me something.