Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Season Of Illnesses

Where in the world have I been?!

Well, two weeks ago we went on our first vacation in 18 months. Trips with the kids aren't stress-free, but they're still a welcome change from our routine. We spent a week at the beach with some of my family. J is just now old enough to really appreciate that we're on vacation, and some of his questions were amusing. Why are we at the beach? Why is Papa not at work? Why are Pop and Mae here? (His whole world has changed with his recent discovery of the word why, and he now uses it A LOT.) We had to teach him the point of a vacation because in his world it makes no sense to leave home to go stay in someone else's condo.

Unfortunately, while we were on vacation, both kids came down with colds. On the way home, we had to stop in a CVS MinuteClinic for J to see a nurse practitioner, who confirmed that he had a double-ear infection. Then, a few days after we arrived home, we had to take M to the doctor, and she also had an ear infection. In fact, hers was so bad that her ear drum had ruptured, even though she'd never run a fever and wasn't overly fussy. The next day J ran only the second fever of his life, which brought on another doctor's appointment. A test showed he actually had the early stages of mono, though his virus has now traveled through the whole family, making mono an unlikely culprit. The end result is that we have been one sick--and busy--household for weeks now.

All this illness has made me extremely nervous about RSV season. Before J, I never worried much about cold and flu season. Being sick was an inconvenience for sure but not life-threatening. J's first winter was a terrible one for me, because we were housebound. But, I kept him illness-free until he was 17 months old, giving him some extra time to get bigger and stronger.

M is a different child and a different story. She's 9 months old going into RSV season, instead of 3 months old. She has an older brother who exposes her to all sorts of illnesses. I think she is stronger than he was because she was less premature and she's older. She's been in Mother's Morning Out for a few months, and until recently, I was sure we were making the right decision by exposing her to other babies.

I'm no longer so sure. It is unlikely she'll receive the Synagis shots to protect her from RSV, even though our doctor has been advocating for her to get them. And with all the illness lately, I'm really pondering what is in our best interest.

Pulling her out of Mother's Morning Out would have career ramifications for me. I've already abandoned most of my professional life, because caring for these two tiny babies has been my job, more than a full-time job. But, I'm having to make some hard decisions now that will largely dictate the next several years for me, and I am struggling. I think I know what I must do, but it doesn't make the decision any easier.

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