Oh well, HELLO! It’s been an eternity since I last posted, and by eternity, I mean 10 days, but that’s totally comparable to forever, so I’ll run with it.
What, pray you ask, has been keeping my nimble fingers and mind from littering the Internet with more of my word vomit? Well, first there was an anxiety filled week of preparation for a trip cross-country with an infant. Then there was said trip cross-country. And then there was the aftermath of said trip cross-country which included none other than the acquisition of H1N1. As in Swine Flu. As in, I’M BIG ON THE PIG!
I seriously can’t stop snorting and oinking at James every time he enters the pig sty, as we’ve taken to calling the room in which I am quarantined. Every possible lame pig joke has been overused and abused during this three days of flu-ridden hell. I’ve been demanding that James purchase me a faux pig nose, but alas, he claims that there are more important things to attend to like say, keeping our fragile fragile infant healthy and tending to his sick wife. I say, BALLS to that, I want the damn snout, but he’s the nurse-Nazi and I do what he says.
I have been dreading, as in fearing, as suffering from anxiety-induced insomnia at the thought of swine flu. Do you know how fragile and innocent and untainted by illness a four month old’s immune system is? VERY! The thought of my Bug plagued with fever and chills and holed up in one of those hospital incubator’s strapped to tubes and needles is as horrifying as my memory of watching Dr. Giggles at a slumber party at age 12. Disturbing. Nausea inducing. NOT OKAY!
Of course, because I have been gripped with fear and terror, I obviously had to become sick with none other than THE swine flu. Like a life lesson, or some shit.
Here’s how it all went down.
We returned from a crazy, wonderful, whirlwind trip to our Nation’s Capital where we saw some of our most favorite people in the whole wide world, witnessed a beautiful marriage, and were reminded that traffic in DC really is just as horrendous and I-want-to-drive-off-a-cliff-inducing as LA. As we drove past the Mall the night we arrived, I made everyone’s ears bleed with a rendition of the National Anthem. The city is just so damn patriotic. I pointed out the Washington Phallus, er Monument to the Bug and explained that much of our country’s history was an ode to the great, white male penis. I am a stellar U.S. History buff.
SLAVERY CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR.
We crammed as many people as we possibly could into a three day stay, which wasn’t awkward at ALL when I had to email these twenty some individuals and say, Oh hey, great seeing you, and hugging, and kissing, and embracing, and generally sharing air with you this weekend. Btdubs, I have SWINE FLU! Besos!
We arrived home Monday night and I wasn’t feeling so hot. James swore that this would all be cured by a solid night’s sleep. Except, that solid night’s sleep allowed the evil piggies to settle into my system in a profound and debilitating capacity. I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a bus. I mustered the energy to meet with my thesis adviser, all the while holding, cradling, and generally sharing air with my poor, sweet, precious infant. By the afternoon, I was shaking and aching with chills and fever. The tell tale signs of the flu.
I called my doctor and they said they could see me ASAP, so James left work to meet me and scoop up the babe. Upon assessing my symptoms, and the fact that the seasonal flu has yet to take the world by storm, Mr. Doctor was fairly convinced it was H1N1. He ran the test, and sure enough POSITIVO!
Right, so I’m flipping out. And weeping. And starring at my precious child, who, as I mentioned, I’d been cradling, and holding, and BREATHING ON all day.
JESUS CHRIST WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
Someone, somehow, managed to talk me out of my panic, and handed me a prescription of the antiviral Tamiflu.
And here’s where shit gets interesting, because then I’m informed I have to stop breastfeeding…
I AM SO NOT READY! WHAT?! WAIT?! WHY?!
Basically, the doctor informed me, and then the pharmacist informed me, and then the pediatrician informed me that I would POISON my child if I breastfeed while on antivirals. If I wanted to resume after the course of medication, PUMP AND DUMP was the name of the game, ya know, because pumping is just oodles of fun, especially when quaking with fever. The extra sweat all over the machine gives it a little grease, er something.
In my delirious, exhausted state, we took the doctor’s word, picked up some formula, and gave our child the most vicious, stinky, RANK farts ever known to mankind. Like a skunk had up and died in our home. And the poor thing moaned and groaned like a fat man with a belly ache all night long. It was heartwrenchingly pathetic.
Then, while pumping at 4 in the morning, because I was so engorged that I had awoken not from the fitful fever and body aches but from the sheer pain of my chest, I tweeted about this little debacle, and MY GOD did that stir my meager 376 followers to action. I had mothers and breastfeeding advocates all over passing me links and information about breastfeeding and swine flu. The resounding opinion was, if you’re sick with swine flu, KEEP BREASTFEEDING! Breastmilk is like liquid gold and jam packed with immunity-boosting, sickness-busting antibodies. This is all well and good, however, this did not address the potential contamination of my milk thanks to the antivirals. After much tweeting and research, I was sent this link. Now that sure stirred up the whole contaminated milk theory. Then I was connected to a hotline called Motherrisk where I spoke with a consultant who elaborated on this study and confirmed that breastfeeding while on antivirals was in fact not going to cause my child to grow an extra eye or froth at the mouth like a rabid dog. At that point I was sold. It seemed to me that doctors were playing it safe because there has not been much research and they just don’t really know what the hay may is going on with this crazy flu. While I understand that, I am grateful that I was given some solid information on the issue and able to make an informed decision for my family. Because I had a fever, I expressed milk and James fed Addison so as to avoid unnecessary contact with my pig-piggie self. Once the fever subsided, however, I washed my hands religiously, singing the ENTIRETY of the ABC’s, before nursing her myself.
That 24-hours when I was unable to hold or kiss or cradle my daughter has been the toughest, most heartbreaking moment of motherhood thus far. Screw the postpartum soreness, the sleepless nights, the explosive poop, the wails of sadness- not being able to hold my child absolutely tore me in two. I knew it was for her safety, and I was kicking myself for not researching the breastmilk situation sooner as I lay in my quarantined room listening to her baby moans across the house as the formula ripped through her unsuspecting belly. I am grateful to the power and support of my proactive Twitter folk who encouraged me to delve deeper and research the issue and make decisions based on this information and do what was ultimately best for my baby and our family.
I’m grateful that I am feeling better by the hour, and that it seems as though both James and Addison have dodged this bullet.
I’m grateful that I have a husband who will stay home from work to care for his child and sick wife 24/7, even if he does tint the laundry blue in the process.
I’m grateful that I have a big, burly, huggable dog that I can cradle when I feel my worst, knowing that she won’t be infected nor will she care if I snot all over her coat.
I’m grateful that I am in a Master’s program where the faculty understand and respect that my health and family must come before any and all academic obligations.
I’m grateful that I have family and friends all across the country who sent wishes of love and support, reminding me that even at my grossest people love me.
I’m grateful that tonight I will get to share a bed again with my partner and best friend and when our squawky, wee babe awakes at 3am I’ll be able to scoop her into my arms and rock her back to sleep.
Apparently the pig reminded me of how damn lucky I am. Swine flu and all.
Now I’m off to read Charlotte’s Web and watch Penelope, because obviously.
(I couldn’t resist one last lame pig joke, cut a sick girl some slack).