Since first putting Tirzah Mae in the nursery in August, it feels as though it’s been a constant parade of illness around here.
A little cold that I think might be just allergies except that one of the little girls in my class had been snuffling the day before. A virus that came on suddenly in midday, giving Tirzah Mae and I drippy noses and quickly raw throats – and that lasted 3 weeks. A bout or two of diarrhea (was that just because of her teeth, I wonder, or was it a bug?)
Generally, I’ve felt bad for Tirzah Mae because I’ve been attributing my own pain to her. Her throat has to hurt since mine does. Her ears have got to be uncomfortable because mine are. I’ve empathized in a self-pitying way, reminding myself that it’s no wonder she wants to nurse all.the.live-long.day when her throat hurts like mine does and the only thing that helps is to have a steady stream of warm liquid (that’s not snot) constantly bathing it.
That three-week-long cold? Tirzah Mae started feeling better (for all I can tell) long before I did. In fact, I only just woke up yesterday without my throat on fire.
Yesterday. When Tirzah Mae woke up with a big blob of snot on her face.
I refused to miss Bible study, kept her with me instead of in the nursery. We spent the afternoon cuddling – at least until I had to go to my doctor’s appointment to get a thing-a-ma-jigger removed from my back. She stayed up way later than her normal bedtime (as did her mother).
And she woke me up wailing at midnight.
Except when I went to get her, she wasn’t standing in her crib like she usually does – she was lying on her belly, lifting her head just a few inches off the mattress and then letting it drop back down again.
I fed her, as she snuffled hard through a snot-filled nose.
She fell asleep for a half an hour, woke up again with a muffled cry.
This cry was different, a short mew and then catching her breath.
She wouldn’t breastfeed longer than ten seconds before raising her head and flopping her body over onto my belly. She’d begin the mew again and then a desperate attempt to breathe.
Between patting her back and waving my homemade Vicks Vaporub under her nose and keeping her sitting upright next to me in bed, she managed to breathe easily enough to fall asleep again – so long as I kept her in sitting position and kept the vaporub under her nose and didn’t dare fall asleep myself.
Now my daughter is awake. Completing her morning exercises, the daily exploration of the living room. Except for the heavy mouth-breathing, the crusty eyes, and the snot that I can’t seem to keep off her face, you’d never know what kind of night she had.
And today, my empathy can’t be self-pitying. I may be exhausted, but I am only thankful – thankful that last night’s fears were naught. My daughter breathes, she plays, she explores.
We made it through the night. And, this morning?
She’s beautiful, my snot-nosed baby.