I’m not a new father, but its been 5 years since my son was an infant. My 7 month old daughter is less of a challenge because of the experience, but I’m no expert. My wife is away traveling for 6 days on business, so I alone have my daughter over the weekend, with no wife and no daycare. No problem. Nothing new.
5 days before my wife left, the baby developed a diaper irritation. We have the cream and know to keep it as dry as possible. When my wife flew out on Thursday the rash was worse, but I just doubled my vigilance. By Friday night, after daycare, it had spread and deepened in color… just like a yeast infection. Further, the baby had a slight fever. Perhaps cutting a tooth? I didn’t want to think about a fever brought on by the yeast infection and a trip to unknown doctors (the baby Doc is weekdays only). Wait… Lets make it worse shall we?
The 2 freezers full of stored breast milk, the baby’s primary food source, was unusable. The freezing/ storing process can cause the milk fats to break down, while still safe, its like drinking rancid pennies! Despite this previously known stored milk condition, the baby was taking the nasty stuff in our trials. Friday was the 1st day of its use, since the milk factory flew away for her job and the fresh stuff was used up. My daughter had taken less than half of her normal amount at daycare and now would take NONE of it. Sure, the baby eats puree, but doesn’t keep down or accept other liquids. Formula = vomiting. By late Friday her diapers were basically dry.
Setting the new worry of dehydration aside, on late Friday night, her fever hit 102.5 degrees. Shit. High enough for half a dose of infant Tylenol. This condition, however, only added to my regular new daddy lack of sleep. She wasn’t sleeping much at all in the past 24 hours and I had almost none in the past 30 hours, from her variety of conditions. This is when one breaks down. This is when one loses control in the frustration and worry. This is when some people look up and pray to a sky wizard for a break. It never occurred to me to do any such thing. Not once. Any sane person knows prayer only makes oneself feel better and doesn’t magically fix things. With a screaming baby nearby, and a massive stress headache, I stood still, eyes closed, emptying my mind and breathed for 30 seconds…
I picked up the phone and called the one I worship and love, my wife. Regarding the yeast, she had been on Facebook with her network of other new moms and conferred with … you know you love it… Google. She said “Coconut Oil”. “Coconut oil will deal with the yeast and hopefully the fever, if they are connected.” Great! But, None of the moms could solve the liquids dilemma, beyond syringing water down her gullet if she wouldn’t drink. I had done that until she gagged from screaming about it. Not even puree flavored water worked. Then I saw it… Infant yogurt in the back of the fridge. “Just add water!” I said out loud to my wife on the phone. I explained that I may have just solved the dehydration problem.
A tablespoon of yogurt mixed with 4 ounces of water, that’s it. After convincing the baby that it wasn’t horrible tasting milk or puree water or formula… she sucked it dry and screamed for more. The worry of a fevered, infected, dehydrating baby all evaporated within 10 minutes. I wept and laughed all while praising my daughter with a repeated “Good girl!”
Was it a sky wizard? Hell no. That’s just insulting. It was my reliance on my wife and the results of science and technology. Medicine brought the fever down, while technology networked the knowledge of people for a solution. Persistence and experience solved the rest.
Two days later the diaper irritation/ infection looks to be half of what it was. The yogurt milky shakes are a hit. The fever has been beaten back to nothing. The headache lasting a day and a half was vanquished… and I have slept.
Prayer wouldn’t have fixed any of that without human intervention to help fix it all. A simple meditation, even under stress, lets us access all of the calm, patience and clever thinking one might need. Ask your friends, family and other experts for help and you will never again have to pretend that some imagined access to divine magic, is somehow going to help.
Thanks for reading,