Ear Infection7:00 AM
Around Michael's first birthday, he started getting fussy. He wouldn't nap, he wouldn't eat as much, he was just rather... well... fussy.
If you know Michael, that's pretty atypical. He is so laid back and happy 90% of the time. Not to mention, he loves just about anything you put in front of him to eat. We related it to stress, though. We were preparing for family to visit, and then family arrived and it was busy. Everything was all over the place for a little while.
Then he started tugging on his ears. This, however, is not just a sign of an infection or something like that. He had been doing this for a while, after all, because he was teething. Sometimes babies can confuse the pain in their mouths and think it's coming from their ears, so we didn't really pay any mind to it. He had teeth coming in on the bottom, so we related it all to teething.
Then, about two weeks ago now, we had two days that contained absolute fits. I mean, he came home from preschool and he cried, and cried, and cried. The Thursday after his birthday he cried for about twenty minutes straight and nothing would comfort him. I was an absolute wreck. He finally calmed down enough to nurse and go to sleep.
The next day, Friday, was different. He was screaming. He wouldn't nurse, he would go outside and be comforted, nothing. Truly nothing would help. I called the doctor, and the nurse who answered the phone told me the next appointment wasn't until 4pm (this was around one). But then she heard him crying, and told me to bring him in as soon as I could.
As soon as we got to the doctor's office, he stopped crying. He walked around, played, acted like nothing was wrong. Then, when we took him in, he started crying again. When the doctor went for his ear, he started screaming.
When we first arrived at the office I was panicked. I didn't want to be one of those moms.
You know, the ones that everyone dreads becoming. A mom who brings her child into the doctor's office for every little thing. So much that when there is something wrong, the doctor is liable to miss it because that baby has been in so many times. Kind of like the boy who cried wolf, but the mom who cried sickness.
Well, lo and behold there was something wrong. To my horror, he had an ear infection. I kept wondering if he had it for a while and I kept missing it, and then it got to the awful point that he couldn't stand the pain anymore. Of course, there's no way to tell now.
The doctor said that after having a cold, babies are more prone to ear infections (see The First Cold to know that story). He was giving us the signs, we just kept relating them to teething. Michael didn't have a fever, so I kept thinking that there weren't any infections or anything.
I had brought him in a few months earlier thinking he had an infection because he kept pulling on his ears, and all it was was him discovering his ears (and some gum pain, most likely).
This was one of the times where I learned better to be safe than sorry. I have to admit I got a little annoyed at the doctor because he kept checking certain things (like when he saw Michael's nose was running check his lungs and was like, "Well, there's no sign of pneumonia, thank goodness," and using this "tone" that meant he was talking down to me. Perhaps it annoyed me more because he isn't an actual doctor, he's a Physician's Assistant. It also annoyed me because he was the one (when I brought Michael in before thinking he had an ear infection) that was talking down to me then. Oh, and the one who also tells me we need to get Michael in a separate room because we could be stunting his development by co-sleeping.
I should not that we only ever see this guy when we have to get last minute appointments for Michael.
The ear drops were a pain to administer, but Michael loves the antibiotic that was prescribed, so at least that part has been easy. After that first weekend, things definitely started to improve. Michael has been nursing and sleeping more, fighting off the horrible infection. I do seem to love this, though. It means more cuddle time for mama and baby.
This past Friday Michael had his one year check up with his actual pediatrician (who I love). He weighs (or weighed) 22 pounds, six ounces (60th percentile) and is 30.75 inches long (75th percentile). She said his ear is on the mend, thanks to the ear drops and "bubble gum medicine", as I called it as a child.
Lesson of the story:
- Don't worry about being a mama that cries sickness.
- Better to be safe than sorry.
- Pay attention to all the signs your baby is giving you.