Monday April 15th
The cry wakes me up. I open my eyes and see that the first number on the clock still hasn’t reached six. Doesn’t Eli realize that breakfast can wait until after six am? The crying continues. Eli’s stomach is running the show.
Monday mornings are always tough. I have to get ready for work while juggling child care and lack of sleep. Steph has to assist where she can, but after a couple of days of us both being home, it’s back to being a single parent until I get home.
Mom gets Eva ready while I feed Eli. Most of our parenting has now been become divide and conquer. We used to both attend every doctor’s appointment when we could, but that was a thing of the past. Eva had an ENT appointment last week where I stayed at home with Eli and Steph learned that Eva needed tubes.
The surgery would be in a week, but Steph was already worried about it. Grandma was coming out to visit so we both can be there for her. Just need to make it through this week.
I kiss Eli and Steph goodbye and drop Eva off at daycare. I plan on working the morning on-site, bringing lunch home and finishing the day there.
Our insurance company calls. Eva’s scheduled surgery will not be covered by them. The explanation is that the doctor is in network, the anesthesiologist is in network, but the facility is out of network. We call back and forth with the hospital and insurance to no avail. We have to switch hospitals.
Our other option was Children’s in Dayton, but the dates available don’t work for us. The first date Steph will be out of town, and the second date she’ll be back at work having burned through her vacation days. They do not work. We can’t risk pushing it off too much further because we don’t want any permanent damage to her ears. We are stuck in an unworkable situation.
Finally, they find a way to sneak her in on April 30th in the afternoon. This poses its own problems, but is the best of the crappy options we have. First off, Grandma was coming in to help out with Eli while we were at the hospital, but her flight back is on April 30th as well, so that’s no help. Second, Eva can’t eat before surgery. She loves to eat. We thought we could get away with skipping breakfast, but skipping breakfast, brunch, lunch and snack? She is going to be mad at us.
We call Grandma to let her know and see if she can make a flight change. She’s scheduled to fly with Delta Airlines and she calls to see what they can do. The customer service actually provided customer service! They gave her a full refund! Score one for Delta! Score one for us! Grandma was able to find a flight that worked and covered the dates we needed. A much needed victory.
Wednesday April 17
I pick up Eva from daycare and head home. Eva lately has been coming home tired from daycare, and today is no different. While her bubbly personality tries it’s hardest to shine through, the tiredness will eventually overpower her and pull her into a crying fit. We change her, and take her temperature. She has a fever. We put her to bed with some Tylenol an hour early and hope that she doesn’t get yet another ear infection.
Eli is hungry so I feed him. He’s fussy after his bottle, so I walk around with him trying to soothe him. I’m looking away when I hear the retching. I look down and see he is not spitting up, but throwing up. My instincts kick in, and as dad of the year I …. hold him out away from me to not get puke on me.
The actual good parent Steph runs over and takes him. She immediately turns him sideways so that the vile bile won’t accumulate in his mouth where it could be re-ingested, breathed in, or worse block his breathing.
In all our time with Eva, we never went to the hospital with her, but now we were just moments away from maybe taking him. We’d have to wake Eva and hope for the best. He’s continuing to dry heave in between screams like we’ve never heard before and arching his back so he is as stiff as a board, and Steph is now really concerned.
Eli is now lying in the cradle, and I’m sitting on the floor next to him. Steph brings over an article about whopping cough. I’ve been battling a cough for a month now, so I read the article. I’m 90% sure that this isn’t that and 10% sure that I’ve killed our son.
After much thought and Googling, we decide it is reflux. She calls another mom who has a child with reflux, and she agrees that the symptoms match. We decide to continue to feed him in smaller doses and keep him upright for a half hour after each bottle. This adds 1 to 1.5 hours of awake time to our overnight routine.
Thursday April 18th
I pick up the sensitivity formula at Toys R Us and bring them home. Now we play the waiting game and see if he’ll eat it, if it sits well with him, if it is nourishing enough, and try to not to worry too much about the change.
Eva is napping when I get home. Once she starts to wake up, Steph goes upstairs to get her. She brings her down with a worried look.
“Feel behind her ear.”
There is a lump. Maybe there is a node there that is inflamed from her illness. So it’s probably nothing. Or cancer. No in between. I call the pediatrician and schedule her an appointment for the next morning. We don’t want to risk her being sick before her surgery.
Friday April 19th
We arrive at the pediatrician, but first we need to get out of the car. Eli’s car seat is stuck in the base. I try to yank it out, but no luck. The straps have caught, and now even getting him out of the car seat is difficult. Eli is just going to have to live in the car from now on.
OK, maybe not. Steph jams her arm underneath to access the damage. She then pulls her arm out only to find that it is now stuck. Her watch has caught something underneath. So her two options at this point are losing the watch, or lose the arm. She chose watch.
Chink. Parenting had taken her watch.
We squeeze Eli out of the car seat and leave it behind. They set us up in one of the rooms as we wait for the pediatrician. Eva is running around like she does all the time. I’m sitting on the bench with Eli, and I close my eyes. Just give me a single moment to breathe. I open them as Eva is tripping over my feet and landing on the step stool she was carrying. She bites down on her lip and starts to bleed. My single moment only cost me the blood of our first child.
Luckily (?) we were already at the doctor’s office, and Eva is now screaming and scaring all the children in nearby rooms (What are they doing to her in there?!) Steph grabs some tissues and applies pressure, but she screams even more when pressure is applied. By the time the pediatrician comes in, the bleeding has stopped.
Eva’s ears are clear and the lump behind her ear appears to be a swollen gland that the doctor is unconcerned about. Success.
After dropping the family off at home, I head to work. I call just before lunch to see if she’s interested in me bring home lunch.
“Did you want lunch?”
“I can’t hear you over both of our kids screaming. What do you want?”
Sounds like McDonalds to me. I bring it home and the chaos has subsided. The week is nearing the end and I have two thoughts. There is our daughter’s blood on my wife’s shirt and this McDonalds is the healthiest I’ve eaten in a while. Two under two is difficult.