Let me tell you a story about a silly mom who didn’t get her flu shot.
It began more like a horror story. I was already anxious about making the transition back into teaching piano and having Jesse care for Gregory.
Monday was Day 1 of this Operation: One family called in sick with high fevers, so I only had an hour’s worth of teaching to do. Success.
Tuesday was Day 2. I was more apprehensive about Tuesday, seeing as I was scheduled to teach 3.5 hours worth of lessons. I had it all planned out with bottles frozen in the freezer. I had even packed up my pump and had scheduled a 15 minute break so that I could keep my milk supply up.
About halfway through the second hour, I started feeling pretty queasy. Earlier that morning, as I was working out at Curves, I had also felt queasy, but I had chalked it up to lack of water. In between that lesson and the next, I closed my eyes in the car and tried to get a 5 minute nap to see if that would help. I felt a little better and decided to push through the next few lessons since we really really needed the money.
About halfway through the next lesson, I felt it– that “burp” in the back of your throat that won’t go away.
Only, it wasn’t a burp, but was instead my entire lunch coming back up.
We were 5 minutes away from being done at this point, so I tried to hurry my student along. Sweet girl, she was trying to tell me about something that had happened at school that day. I kept a smile plastered on my face and tried to pack up my stuff with an air of normalcy.
On my way to their door, I felt it. The “Upchuck” reflex. I felt it all coming up my throat and into my mouth so I covered it with my hand. But the stupid stuff wouldn’t stay down. The moment their door had closed, I threw up all over their lawn. All over my sweater. All over the check they had just given me for payment. I don’t know if they saw me– I haven’t received a call or email, so I’ve decided not to mention it if they don’t 🙂
I called Jesse from the car, shaking. “Hey, remember how I was afraid that things weren’t going to go according to plan today? Well, they didn’t….”
I made it home in one piece, mainly because of that “after-throwing-up-high” one feels. I called my remaining piano students on the way and told them I was sick and wouldn’t be making it. I called Jesse again, and he asked if I wanted him to cook the remaining filets from our Christmas dinner that we never ate. No, I said. I’m going straight to bed.
I barely made it in the door before I threw up again. That’s when everything hit– the chills, shaking and, of course, the intense nausea.
My first thought, of course, was Gregory. At a time where I felt myself able to sit up for five minutes, I read what I could online. Apparently, at this point, he had already been exposed for a while, and there was nothing I could do but nurse him as often as possible in order to give him my antibodies through my milk. But even that 15 minute task seemed daunting when I felt like throwing up every single second. Luckily, Jesse was able to hold Gregory off until I had reached one of my “after-throwing-up-highs”, all the while staying close by in case I needed to toss him out of the “line of fire”.
We passed the night like this, the three of us, miserable and sleepless. Jesse described it as a “nightmare”– trying to calm a hungry screaming baby while listening to me throw up my guts in the next room. More than anything, I was incredibly thirsty. I had been losing tons of fluid, both from nursing and vomiting. Just one of those is enough to make one dehydrated. I kept sipping on water and Sprite, but neither stayed down.
At around 1:30am, after throwing up yet again, I decided that that would be the last time. I brushed my teeth and started drinking lots of water. It only takes the body around 1/2 hour to absorb fluid, and I figured I needed to keep trying. I was also really worried that my milk would dry up.
Then, around 3am, the nausea eased up. It was instead replaced with even more achiness and fever. Miserable, but way better than throwing up. Plus, I figured, at least I could keep pumping liquids.
Around 8am, I was finally able to take some Aleve and get my first sleep. It was wonderful!
All in all, I’m pretty much better now, a little over 24 hours later. I still haven’t eaten anything, so Jesse is currently making me toast. Luckily, he was able to take a half day at work and care for us. We spent the morning in bed, watching a tv episode.
So far, Gregory is not showing signs of illness– just a little fussier than normal. I’ve lost about 5 pounds (mostly water), but it looks like we made it through. Just one more badge for Jesse and I to add to our Parenting Sleeves. Slept all night in an airport with an infant? Check. Made it through the flu with a breastfeeding infant? Check.