Thursday, September 19, 2013

The weekend from HELL!

(Sick with the stomach flu)

Any parent knows that when your child is sick, it is the most stressful thing ever. It's a HUGE ordeal.
Over the weekend, Maya was the sickest she has ever been; my husband and my parents were away on a business trip; and I still have my postpartum anemia (15 months later, can you believe it?) so my energy levels weren't great to begin with.

Husband-ji and my parents go on this business trip twice a year, and coincidentally the last 3 times they have gone, Maya has fell sick with colds, etc. I have dealt with it all by myself before - and I am capable of dealing with it on my own, although it is exhausting. But she was never this sick before, ever...

The day after they left, Maya got seriously, seriously sick...vomiting everywhere, diarrhea, high fever that was fluctuating, constant crying...I was in total emergency mode because she was never that sick before. It was the weekend and my doctor's office was closed; and I wasn't sure whether to take her to the hospital; but at the same time I was hardly in the position to take care of her needs. I didn't sleep for 3 days, I didn't eat for 12 hours at a time each day - all I was concerned about was her health. She was feeling so sick that all she wanted to do was have me hold her and never leave my side - which I in turn could hardly go to the bathroom, sleep, or eat myself. 

She kept vomiting - all over me, all over the carpet - even then I tried to put her down to clean it up, she'd start crying and vomit again. So, the vomit just sat there for 3 days (I know, gross...TMI!) After she went to bed (IF she went to bed - some night she just kept crying, I literally could not leave her side - I would scrub it all off and pick it up, in the dark) One evening, she cried for 5 hours, and at 5:30am I was at my wit's end, sobbing myself because I didn't know what to do. I got dressed for the hospital but I was scared to go by myself, especially since when she's in a vulnerable state like that - she is easily frightened by strangers...she does not like strangers prodding her. But another reason why I felt I couldn't take her to the hospital was because I was feeling faint and was scared that I'd collapse while driving because I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours. I phoned my husband, parents, and auntie - nobody answered the phone. I was just beside myself in isolation, fear, and worry. I had no help. I didn't know what to do.

Finally, I ended up just staying in and just holding her, letting her sleep with me, giving her lots of fluids - doing whatever it is that comforted her. I didn't leave her side. And after 4 days of that, she is finally feeling better...but I am an absolute wreck. The doctor said she had a bad stomach flu and that is why she had such a bad fever / vomiting.

So basically, everything that I had been working on (focusing on taking care of myself/my health) went completely out the window, because I was in an absolute panic. When she finally shut her eyes, I would just sob...I was so terrified. I felt so alone.

I'm sure Maya will get sick over and over again, especially when she goes to school. But I need to have a support system in place to give me strength to get through those tough times. 


So, this whole ordeal brought up many issues for me...

The first was that I wished husband-ji would have immediately come back on the first day of her sickness. I should have been adamant about him coming back, but I brushed it off thinking that I could handle it, when I clearly couldn't. He wanted to come back on the first day, but he felt pressured by my parents to wait until the work was done (to please them) which in turn made me question his priorities. Ever the Indian son-in-law, he has a difficult time standing up to my parents or saying "no" at all. (Of course he has no problem doing this with his own family...lol) He did end up coming back early, so at least I was able to catch up on my rest before he started work again.

The second was that I realized that as a parent and a primary caregiver, I need a support system. Not people who are physically helping me, but people who I feel are there for emotional support. A lot of the times, I am too considerate of others (to my own detriment). I didn't want to phone people at 5:30am because I didn't want to disturb their sleep, even though I was having a complete meltdown and I needed help. I was scared to ASK for help. I didn't want to bother anyone to ask if they could come with me to the hospital. When we got pregnant, I knew that I was going to be 100% responsible for my child, but I feel like I need to not feel guilty to ask people for help when I really need it - especially in emergencies like this one. If my parents/husband are all away again, I need to compile a list of phone numbers to call in case of emergency. So many people have offered to help me, but I just have a fear of saying "yes" because I don't want to be a bad mother.

The third, is that I wanted more emotional support from my parents. After years, I finally mustered up the courage to tell them that I need them to be more present with me, and to at least just phone me and reach out to me. Whether they give me the support I need from them, is up to them. They probably won't and I don't expect them to. But I needed to at least ASK.  And it's my fault too, for waiting all this time to even tell them that I require more support from them. I was just stagnated by the fear that they would be ambivalent or reject it. I know I can't change them. I knew how it was going to be when I had a child. I shouldn't expect support. I can handle it...or can I? 

At the same time, sometimes people don't love you the way you want/need them to. Sometimes they just can't. Maybe others may feel the same way about their parents - that they wanted something different than what they were able to give them. So it's up to ME to find my own support system, and as one of my readers said "be a mother to myself". Which I really am trying to figure out how to do. How do I do that without neglecting my daughter's needs? Just like my parents have no work/life balance, I have no balance either when it comes to taking care of myself (I'm almost repeating their behaviours in a different way) I'm so terrified of being selfish or neglecting my daughter and husband - I'm consumed by being a good mother and a wife - that for 15 months, my anemia has never been able to recover. It's all connected... And that needs to change. I can't go on functioning like this any longer. Life has been whispering this to me for a long time....to take care of myself...and now it is yelling at me in all directions. All signs point to North. I know what I need to do. And I've started taking baby steps in the right direction.

I know it's probably impossible to expect to take care of myself while my daughter's sick and I was all alone. But I learned a few lessons from this whole ordeal... I need to ask for help more. Asking for help does not make me any less capable as a parent. Asking for help should not make me feel guilty or inconsiderate of others. Asking for help is a gift of self-love...


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4 comments

  1. I cannot even pretend to understand what you might have gone through with this experience. I just hope you both are doing well now. Don't be hard on yourself, just do what ever you can and everything will fall in place. Take care Alexandra.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words. It was very terrifying but we all survived! She's doing much better now although now I caught her flu :( Hubby is back so he is helping me out a lot with cooking me all my South Indian comfort food like rasam :)

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  2. When I was a child, my dad used to travel a lot on business, and I fell ill every single time. So this sounds familiar.

    Stomach flu is very scary on young kids. Our family doctor once told us giving some whipped cola can help to kill the bugs (cola without bubbles).

    How come you still have anemia 15 months after birth ? Are you not taking supplements ? Maybe you have a little blues ? I think you should plan some activities for yourself alone. Couldn't your hubby or MIL take care of your daughter one evening per week while you take a class and meet new people ? How about going out more often with hubby ? (Padparadscha)

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    Replies
    1. OMG it was so scary...I felt better after I took her to the doctor. Thank god it wasn't something worse. Cuddles and lots of water were the only things she wanted.
      I started taking a new supplement, a liquid one that is supposed to work better. It has been exhausting and therefore depressing. I am hopeful that it will improve...or else I will go see a naturopath doctor.
      Since my hospital trip last week, my mother has been babysitting a lot more. It has been a great help now.

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