Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Monday, 21 January 2013

A Very Real Fear

This weekend has perfectly exemplified what parenting is like after bereavement, how we're parenting Alexander because of Anabelle. 

Alexander has been ill. I always worry when he is under the weather, like all parents I guess, except I'm always looking out for signs that he is about to die. Dramatic? Maybe.  My realest fear of them all? Yes. 

Friday night he had a sudden temperature of 40. We had been travelling to Plymouth and when we arrived he was hot and flushed and generally sweaty. We assumed we had put too many layers on him for the car ride and he had over-heated, but when he continued to spike high temperatures through Saturday, off his food and generally a bit miserable I was beginning to get concerned; was it teething or was it something more? 

Saturday night into Sunday was horrendous. We were up nearly all of the night with him, and at 4.00am when he had a temperature reading of 41, I phoned the out of hours service. A next to useless experience that didn't reassure me in the slightest. When a Dr finally phoned me back over an hour later I was told it sounded like a virus and to keep going for another 24 hours with overlapping calpol and ibuprofen. No suggestion of being seen, just a really disinterested Dr on the end of the phone. 

Sunday saw little improvement in his mood but his temperature remaining more or less low. Most were normal range, with the highest readings were in the 38-39 range instead of above. The medicines were doing their job on that front. Otherwise he had a day of eating little and not passing urine for 12 hours. We traveled home.

Then, just as we thought he was over the worst of whatever it was, he went mental as we were putting him to bed. I've never seen anything like it, he was so distressed and seemed in horrendous pain. He wouldn't let us touch him, or hold him. We laid him on our bed and he just writhed around, kicking and thrashing, arching his back, curling his knees up, rolling and screaming and screaming and screaming. Screaming so hard he kept holding his breath. The noise was indescribable, I can only liken it to a dying squealing pig. Very frightening to watch and listen to, feeling so helpless and not knowing what to do to help him. 

Eventually Jon dialled 999. We didn't know what else to do, after an accumulation of everything over the weekend and a baby behaving completely out of character. Xander, my beautiful almost always happy baby never cries without reason and had never been so distressed. Jon was put through to a nurse, who could hear Xander in the background, and after asking a few questions she sent an ambulance to get him. The longest wait ever. By the time they arrived and we were on our way he had been screaming, inconsolably for over an hour.  My mind was thinking all sorts, mostly that he was going to die. 

Typically on the way to the hospital, he'd stopped screaming, quietened down and finally was allowing me to cuddle him properly. Now I just felt like a neurotic mother who was over-reacting, and maybe we were. 

The Dr in A&E could find nothing obvious for his pain. But at least she and the paramedics were taking us seriously and trying to be reassuring. She too suggested a viral type infection for all his symptoms and although queried a ear or throat infection because they were red/blocked with wax she didn't really think it was definitive or the cause. They wanted me to wait it out another 24 hours and then to follow up with GP to see if there was a more obvious infection before giving antibiotics. Their biggest concern was the lack of wet nappies throughout the day, so although he had weed over himself (finally) in a service station on the way home, she wanted him to wee again before she discharged us. A perking up boy and a slightly damp nappy at 1.30am meant we could bring him home. 

Home and bed at 2am, feeling emotionally drained and maybe slightly silly. 

Today, his temperature has remained normal but adding to the continuing list a rash came up all over his torso, groin, neck, ears, hairline, scalp and back. Another phonecall to the GP and a visit later and we're still non-the-wiser with a definitive diagnosis. His glands are up, he looks weary, and he now has a rash. At least the GP had an explanation for his pain and outburst last night though. She explained that we have similar glands in our stomachs that we do in our throats, and if our throat glands are up it is likely his stomach glands are swollen to and it is entirely possible this was causing him pain. 

He has a virus, a nasty virus. What a useless diagnosis virus is... we just have to ride it out until he is well. 

And there is my fear. Viruses can kill children. 

I know I'm a woman obsessed about the possibility Alexander could die. It crosses my mind every single day, but when he is ill those thoughts are magnified and last night I was really scared, so was Jon. Sometimes I struggle to trust my own instincts and that links back to the night Anabelle died. She died after I made the decision to not go to the hospital until the morning. I know she might've died anyway, even if I'd gone in the night, but she might've been saved too. I made the wrong decision to wait until the morning. Sometimes, even now two and a half years later it feels like my fault.

I vowed to never do that again. I know that last night Alexander was ok in the end, but despite feeling slightly silly we made the right decision. Unsure of ourselves we sought out medical people to help us as quickly as possible, instead of the worst happening before we could stop it.  I hope last night is the first and last time we deem him unwell enough for an ambulance. 

We are probably quickly gaining a reputation for being somewhat neurotic parents. Winding myself up and wanting to take him to the Doctors for each little thing, having him checked and being reassured he is ok.

But you know, I would rather be known as the neurotic mother, than miss something and lose another of my babies. I would rather be on top of every little thing, so it can't turn into a big thing, or the worst thing and another coffin. Sometimes I feel like a crazy person when it comes to Xander, maybe I am! 

I'm irrational and rational all at the same time. Anabelle's death continues to colour every aspect of our lives and influences the decisions we make for Alexander all of the time. 

I hope tomorrow is a quieter day. 


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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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