With eight teeth poking through his gums, Atticus was not a happy camper on Monday morning. He was under slept and his mouth was sore, he was unusually whiney, and extremely cuddly. As i sat him on the floor to play with some toys, he let out a grunt and started to pout. I knew that he would need to be loved on a little extra that day. With no other symptoms than teething, he had a fever of 101.
After a day of babywearing, bedtime rolled around and the littlest ginger fell asleep with ease. I debated getting up after nursing him to sleep, but decided to text and respond to emails on my phone while laying near him. At about 11:30 he began making discomforting sounds. I thought he was just having a bad dream and would fall back asleep. What ensued was not dream like, it was horrifying. As he was sleeping he started to gag, acting as though he needed to throw up, but could not. His little body started shaking, and his eyes started to roll back as he threw up frothy goo. He wasn’t responding to me, and despite only lasting two to three minutes, it seemed like forever. His temperature read 102.7, but he felt even hotter.
As a fairly naturally minded person I loathe many aspects of the forcefulness of modern medicine, but I realize it exists for many reasons. We opted to take him to the hospital, as what he experienced was not normal. We drove downtown to Children’s, and luckily did not have to wait for him to be examined. They checked us in, and asked for the details of what ensued earlier that evening. As I recounted the details, it was suggested that Atticus had a febrile seizure. A febrile seizure is more scary than dangerous, and that he should be fine. Children that have had a febrile seizures are more susceptible to having another, and we will have to monitor fevers even more carefully from now on.
The staff at the hospital, while clinical, were all extremely friendly. They asked for our detailed account of events a couple more times, and decided to collect a blood sample and urine sample. My inner crunchy-mama bear wasn’t comfortable with them pricking my baby without asking questions though, and this is why I want to share our story with you.
They asked if Atticus was up to date on vaccines. The answer was “No, he is not.” We were told that a child his age should have upwards of 25 vaccines. That sentence made my skin crawl. 25 needle pricks into a babies body by 15 months? The amount of preservatives, mercury, fillers and chemicals in those vaccines that can be arguably ineffective… my head started racing. I was underslept, my baby was sick, and I wanted to pull out my Dr. Sears fact sheet and give the doctor an earful. I refrained.
I believe that vaccines have a purpose, a time, and a place, but so many of the vaccines given these days have long-term side effects that are yet to be determined. They asked us why he had not been vaccinated entirely, and while I wanted to let the resident doctor know all of my highly researched reasons, I simply said, “I had a bad reaction as a child.”
It may not be the main reason we opt to follow a delayed and highly selective vaccination schedule, but it is true. I also didn’t want to over complicate things. We didn’t need the hospital that we went to for help to shun us for being “whack jobs,” as many people don’t agree with questioning modern medicine.
We got a couple passive eye rolls, but they were just doing their job. They work in medicine, it’s their job to believe that these medicines do the most good. We are obviously not the typical uninformed family, and you could tell that we asked more questions than anyone in the ER that morning, but he is our baby, and before we consent to them poking our son with any unnecessary needles.
All while we are being asked to recount what had happened at home, Atticus alternates between my lap, and Kevin. He nurses, he cuddles he even gets 20 minutes of shut eye between vitals. His heart rate is highly elevated hovering between 185 and 192. They inform us that his heart rate should be much lower, and three hours later he is down in the 150’s, and eventually it declined to the 120-130’s.
Prior to his heart rate decelerating, we are working with the nurses and doctors to figure out what is wrong. Up until 11PM last night, he had no symptoms other than a slight fever. That fever rose, and he vomited. By 9AM he had thrown up two more times, and his temperature started to decline with the assistance of a hefty dose of Tylenol.
While at the hospital they insisted on two things; a blood test to rule out infectious diseases and a urine test. Since an IV was being placed to draw blood, they suggested we give Atticus IV fluids. We agreed as he was bound to be a bit dehydrated after his horrid night. For the urine test they wanted to use a catheter.
Not going to happen.
The doctor said that un-potty trained children have to be cathed, and I wasn’t going to take that as an answer. Supposedly the sample can be contaminated by a non-potty trained child, but I felt that it was less risky to give Atticus 20 minutes to pee in a cup then to expose him to a foreign object in his penis upping his chance of UTIs in the future.
Using Atticus’ cues I knew that if I woke him up, he would pee between 5-7 minutes after waking, and pee he did. Daddy now gets to joke that Atticus is ready for civil servantry since he can pee in a cup.
About an hour later the preliminary results of the blood draw and urine sample came back with signs of a possible bacterial infection as his white blood cell count was high. It was recommended we give him a dose of antibiotics to rid his system of the infection, and after another hour we were allowed to leave with instructions to have a follow up with our wonderful (very accommodating) pediatrician. I had to remind myself (while questioning the doctor about WHAT the vaccination was, WHY it was needed, WHAT were the side effects, WHY did he need to be monitored, etc. etc. ) the reason we came to the hospital, and whether I liked it or not, they were trying to do what was best for Atticus. We agreed to the antibiotic, and after an hour of observation we were allowed to leave.
As we left the hospital, I held him as close as I could in our baby carrier and headed for the garage. We were going home. Hopefully we would be able to catch up on the rest we missed, but all I could think about was how lucky I was to leave the hospital with my baby in my arms as so many parents have left that hospital with far worse an outcome.
It’s been a long three days for baby bear, but he is on the mend, and as he snoozes away beside me tonight, I am cherishing our Family Bed, and knowing that if he were to start whimpering, shaking or silently choking on his own vomit, that I would be right there beside him to help him.
It’s a fine line between being an overly passionate attached parent, and being someone that hospitals loathe for being too radical, but I believe that we respected that fine line by expressing our wishes for our child, and having confidence in our decision to rear him by as natural means as possible.