Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The things you don't know till you become a parent

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Zach at about 4pm or so, saying he'd have to work late and so wasn't likely to get home till just after D went to bed. Maybe 30 minutes later, I looked over just in time to see D empty the entire contents of his stomach onto the (carpeted) dining room floor. I tried to contain the mess as much as I could while simultaneously trying to soothe him, and get him out of his soiled clothes and into a bath, raking my brain for what I could have given him to eat that might've gotten him sick.

He seemed ok after a bit, playing with the water in the tub, but then about 20 minutes he later he started trying to throw up again. Except he didn't have anything left in his tummy, so he's just dry heaving. I don't think I have to tell you how heartbreaking it is to watch a baby dry heave, utterly miserable. This cycle repeated itself for the next couple hours-- D would seem ok, then would either come over to me needing comfort or just start crying, and would start heaving again, unable to keep anything down. Eventually we got him to bed (we set him up in the pack-n-play in our room so we could keep a closer eye on him as he slept), and his tummy seemed to calm down with that. I'd called Zach as he was coming home and sent him on a Pedialyte run, and we gave D some of that each time he woke up overnight, and luckily he'd go back to sleep without too much trouble. Today he seems a bit tired and has hardly touched the cheerios I've offered him, but he is thirsty and hasn't thrown up at all yet. He's been wanting be held more than usual, but has also still been playing and crawling around (in fact he took his first definitive step on his own this morning!). I'm wondering if he'll have troubles out the other end today, but nothing yet. The best part of it all is that now both Zach and I are being all paranoid about any little twinges of nausea, which are probably more psychosomatic than anything at this point.

I must say, whatever bad things people say about Kaiser Permanente's care their advice nurses (at least the ones I talked to last night, both times I called) were extremely nice and helpful, encouraging me to call back at any time if I felt the need, and are available 24/7. They gave me the following plan of action, which once you see it makes total sense and I really wish I'd known this long ago as it applies just as well to adults and would've made many college nights of misery a bit better. I'm posting it here both for my own reference, and for the other parents and soon-to-be parents reading this who might be as clueless as I was in not knowing to do this:

  1. Nothing at all to eat/drink while still actively throwing up.
  2. Once he's gone at least 1 hour without throwing up, give 1 tsp of Pedialyte (for older kids and adults flat ginger ale, gatorade, or just water will do, too) every 5 minutes. This is the key-- it has to be tiny amounts at a time, no matter how thirsty they feel.
  3. After 1+ hours of giving 1tsp of fluid every 5 minutes, can start giving larger doses of fluids (still not more than a few oz at a time).
  4. After about 3-4 hours of doing well on fluids, can try to eat something.
  5. If throwing up resumes at any point, go right back to step 1.
(EDIT: If the vomiting's been going on for several hours and/or is accompanied by diarrhea, be on the look-out for signs of dehydration: sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on their head); if the inside of their mouth is dry or sticky; no tears when crying; no wet diapers in 8+ hours; there might be more but those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.)

We had Gymboree and a playdate planned for today, needless to say both have been cancelled and we'll be hanging out here at home all day. I'd like to try going for a walk later, but for the first day in weeks it's overcast and threatening to rain. Oh well. I guess even in California we gotta have winter days once in a while. We could certainly use the rain.

Great. Now Sierra just coughed up a hairball. We're so not getting any deposit back on this place. Have I mentioned how much I dislike carpet floors?


  1. I hope Donovan is feeling better now. Unfortunately this is probably going to happen again now that he is out and about more. Gymboree is great but it is where you will pick up all kinds of germs and bugs.
    One thing seems to be missing in the nurse's instructions. It's all very well to say no fluids or food while the child is actively throwing up. But did she give you a time limit of how long to wait before getting help if he doesn't stop. My oldest was throwing up a lot when she was little and the office wasn't particularly helpful and by the time I got her to the ER she was dehydrated. Better to play it safe and take the child to be looked at by a professional if you are concerned that dehydration might be a problem. Not a fun thing to do as no one a vomiting child in their car!

  2. Sorry, yeah, forgot to include that. They were definitely on the look-out for dehydration, and told me to look for things like a sunken fontanelle (soft spot), dry or sticky mouth (should have plenty of drool always), not peeing in 8+hrs, no tears when crying... And they also encouraged me to call back at any time if I had more questions or thought anything was seriously wrong.

  3. I've heard this going around everywhere lately.. Hoping for a speedy recovery! I'm tired too, maybe I could nap too! :)

  4. I hope he feels better soon. At least he got it out of the way before his big birthday bash!



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