Poor little Phoenix is ill today.. Nothing serious, he just has the snuffles but I still find myself keeping a beady eye on him and doing anything I can to make sure he feels cosy and nice.
Most babies are ill at least once with a cold or just being out of sorts with a virus and that does seem to increase as they start toddling around and putting everything in to their mouths. So when should you panic? When is it time to go to the doctors or more seriously the hospital?
I'm not going to pretend I'm not an hysterical mother about the health of my baby because I most certainly am! If Phoenix even looks vaguely uncomfortable teething wise or is even slightly off his food I am straight to the doctors and I really don't care what they think. In my heart though, I always know if it's serious or if I'm just taking precautions. I honestly don't think you can ever be too cautious when it comes to your babies though but you have to try and keep your cool when you do think it might be serious...
When Phoenix was 2 months old I got a terrible stomach bug. I was constantly sick and I lost half a stone in a week. I just thought I was being sick because I had just gone back on Prozac, so I carried on with my daily duties as a mum. About 5 days in to my 'episode' I noticed that Phoenix had an upset tummy... Fearful from knowing how ill I had been and how quickly I was losing weight, I went to the doctors. I explained to her, how I had been sick but had thought it was the Prozac getting back in to my system - but that now Phoenix also seemed ill, I realised I had probably had a bug and that I was concerned that Phoenix would have the same bug as long as I had. I told her if he lost as much weight as I had (by this stage he weighed under 8 pounds) it would most certainly be deadly.
To be honest, she looked at me a bit like I was a loon. She said, I could give him dioralyte so he didn't get dehydrated and sent me on my way. Not entirely happy with this, I direct messaged the lovely Dr Ghosh on twitter whom I wrote a blog about 'Hope, Faith & Fertility' and he advised me, if I had any concerns to get straight to Alder Hey Children's Hospital, as small babies can easily get dehydrated. He also told me to keep a close eye on his 'fontanelle' (the soft spot on your babies head) as if that looks either sunken or raised then your baby could be seriously ill. If it is sunken, then your baby is dehydrated.
It was shortly after I had chatted with Dr Ghosh that Phoenix started to projectile vomit and so Ayden and I decide with our dinner still in the oven to rush over to Alder Hey.
They were great in that they saw us straight away. It wasn't long in to our consultation with the doctor though that my mother instincts made me want to blow my top!
First of all, I explained just how ill I had been and that I had lost a lot of weight in a short space of time. To this she replied, that she wished she would catch the bug, as she needed to lose weight. This was my first frustration. I didn't tell her about my weight loss to boast, I told her to relay the seriousness of my baby having caught the same bug from me. She then proceeded to focus on how much I was feeding him and seemed to indicate that was the problem, even though I had told her and told her he had definitely caught a nasty (possibly life threatening for him) bug from me.
There were times in that room dear readers, that I wanted to say to that doctor, "Are you fucking thick or crazy? My child is ill, I've told you what with, I've explained to you the doctor, the potential dangers of this virus to a 2 month old and you are still prattling on about how much milk he has!"
Now, luckily I didn't, I kept my cool and I don't recommend anyone losing it like that to any medical staff, they are after all, only doing their job and quite frankly if you did lose it with them you would end up on a social services register I'm sure. Thank goodness I kept my big mouth shut, which is really hard when you feel like you are fighting for your baby's health to be protected.
She finally sent us home, telling me to come back if we were still worried and to listen to my 'mother's instinct'. I couldn't resist telling her, I was listening to my mother's instinct and yet she was still sending us home' - but home we went and my mother's instinct told me full well, we would be back again.
One thing I did learn here, if you are unhappy with being sent home when you take your child in to the hospital, it's a good idea to get them to put it in writing, that they are sending you home but that you are not happy about it. My lovely mum told me to do this and it is really worth knowing, as it puts the responsibility on to the doctors and they do not want to make any mistakes then. I told them I would do this, if they sent us home, when we went back the next day.
By the time we did go back Phoenix was pretty ill. He seemed to be a little better over night, not that I slept. Then the next day, having seemed to turn a corner he literally took a turn for the worse. He started projectile vomiting and in what seemed like minutes his fontanelle was very sunken. We rushed him straight back to Alder Hey.
This time the doctors could not have been better. Before we got there though I was ready to demand they do something to help my baby. I had known the day before things were not going to improve and I'd let him come home - now I was listening to my mother's instinct as it shouted at me and there was no way I was leaving that hospital until my baby boy was completely well again!
He was dehydrated, but not severely, so luckily he didn't have to go on a drip. They did some tests and found it was just a bug and as long as he had at least two feeds without vomiting, he could go home.
At about 11pm they were going to send us home and I really wasn't happy about it and then an angel nurse came to my aid and gave me some advice that I must pass on to you.
Phoenix was sleeping and she asked me to look at his eyes. I looked at him and he was so delicate, having lost a little weight. His little head looked almost skull like and his eye sockets looked dark...
Phoenix 2 months old in a cot at Alder Hey
I told the nurse that and she turned to the doctor and said, "No this baby is not going home, I want him to stay in overnight so I can monitor him. His mother isn't happy with how dark his eyes are and that's enough for me to keep him in".
After the stunned doctor agreed, she told me, "Always look at your babies eyes, they will tell you how ill your child is. If they look dark and sunken like this and they don't usually then your child is not right and you should always ask for a second opinion if you are not happy."
Both Ayden and I slept in a single bed next to his cot that night and that nurse was amazing. He was fine too but having that extra night in the hospital put my mind at rest and when the nurse said we could go home the next day, I trusted her and knew he was ok.
It wasn't a serious illness but it had the potential to be. I wanted to share this with you to say, trust your instincts, don't second guess yourself, if you think your baby is ill go to the doctors or hospital. If they send you home and you are not happy, make them register your unhappiness and look at your baby, if they look different around the eyes then ask for more help.
If your babies fontanelle is raised or sunken go straight to the hospital.
If they have a rash that doesn't go pail with pressure go straight to the hospital
If you press their skin and it doesn't go back to pink straight away, go to the hospital as they may be dehydrated.
There are many other warning symptoms but these are the ones I know about. I really must read up on them as it could make all the difference.
I also really want to do a first aid course and I do think it's important that parents do this if we can - I shall report back when I have done it.
Phoenix was such a little soldier that night, he was so good... don't chance anything with your babies, I'm sure the NHS will hate me but if in doubt at all about your child's health, you are not an hysterical mother, you just aren't taking any chances and why would you, with something so precious.