“My Story… ” Monday: G — The Fever and the Screaming

(You can catch up on G‘s story right here: A Third Baby, Fighting Panic, Connecticut to Oklahoma, You’ve Got the Job, The Birth Story, 95 Degrees, She struggles to breathe, I struggle to walk., The Liquid Diet, Not Enough Oxygen, Getting Out of There, Let’s Party!, Fitting Our Lives into a Minivan, Finding a Home, Remarkably Unremarkable)


G. was (and is) a good sleeper. I somehow manage to produce good eaters and good sleepers. They’re not perfect children, but they all share those traits. I’m guessing it’s a combination of luck and consistency. But, for whatever reason, I’ve got me some good sleepers.


So, given that she’d really been a pretty easy baby and didn’t give me much grief when it came to sleeping, it threw me for a loop when, right around her first birthday, G. started waking up screaming in the night. Within days, it had gotten to the point when she was nearly inconsolable at times and she really only wanted to sleep WITH me.

Ours is not really a “co-sleeping” family. I love having my little babies in my room, but I sleep better if they’re not IN our bed. I don’t have any issues with those who love the family bed; it’s just not what works for us. So, anyway, I wasn’t used to having G. sleep in the bed with us but, since it was what brought her a little comfort, that’s what we did.


Still, even snuggled against her mama, my precious baby girl would wake during the night. She’d shoot up into a sitting position, double over, and scream-cry. It was horrifying.


She started to run a temperature.


Absolutely puzzled by what was happening to my happy, sweet-natured doll baby, I took her to the doctor. I’d never seen this behavior with my other two children and I couldn’t figure out what was troubling her.


The pediatrician suspected it might be a urinary tract infection, though they’re actually extremely rare in babies. To conclusively diagnose it, he needed a urine sample and, as you might imagine, this is not the simplest thing to achieve with an infant.


He had to catheterize her.


Oh, my heart. It devastated me to watch that process and to hold my screaming, sobbing little girl. The whole thing took well under a minute, but it felt excruciatingly long.


The UTI test is similar to the strep test in that there’s a “quick result” version that picks up on almost all cases and a longer, more precise lab test with results in 24-48 hours. Dr. A. ran the quick test and came back into the room, looking a bit puzzled.


“It’s negative,” he said. “We’ll send it off to the lab to be sure but, at this age, UTIs are rare and, when they do occur, they pretty much always show up on the rapid test.”


“So, then, what do you think is wrong with her?” I asked. I was pretty relieved that she didn’t have a urinary tract infection, but a part of me had been sort of hoping for it just because I figured antibiotics would have knocked the thing out for her.


“I guess it’s maybe a virus, given the fever. You can give her Tylenol for the fever and pain. Come back in if the fever’s not gone in 48 hours.”


It was not. In fact, it was spiking near 104 in the middle of the night each night.


I held my feverish, screaming baby girl at three in the morning and I knew– I KNEW– this was not a typical virus.


Back to the ped we went…

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