Fever eyes and polka dots

By Published On: June 8th, 2015

Last weekend, I realized what a sunny, happy baby she […]

Last weekend, I realized what a sunny, happy baby she is by nature—because for those few days, she was absolutely miserable. She popped a fever late Thursday night and woke up Friday morning in tears. She wanted to be in my arms only, so I snuggled her in the baby carrier for much of the day, a sad, toasty little furnace despite the ibuprofen.
She had those telltale fever eyes—red-rimmed, a little shadowed, so clearly unhappy. It’s not like there’s ever a convenient time for a sick baby, but this weekend was particularly bad—two work meetings, our oldest son’s last soccer game of the season (followed by the end-of-season party) and a school friend’s birthday party. Oh, and me with the worst sore throat of my life, complete with swollen glands and zero energy. I thought it might be my first experience with strep throat, but no, nothing so glamorous, just a non-specific throat infection that still necessitated a trip to the doctor and a round of antibiotics. Just what I need.
So, the baby and her fever. Fine, we can handle that. But her temperature stayed pretty high even when she was medicated. And because I had (wrongly) self-diagnosed myself after shining a flashlight down my throat and Googling “strep throat,” I was kind of worried that she had it, too. And she was just so unhappy. So early Saturday morning, we went to the pediatric after-hours care. That’s where I learned that it’s very rare for babies under 12 months to get strep throat—it’s more common in their little button noses—but worth a swab anyway. She wasn’t a happy camper.
But then some good news. No strep, thankfully, just a virus that would run its course over a few days. The fever broke in another 24 hours or so, and then phase two began.
“Mom! She’s covered in polka dots!”
And she was. A spotty rash that spread across her back and chest and bloomed around her temples. A sight, for sure, but she was flashing a smile here and there, too, and seemed a little perkier all the way around. We waited and watched, and after getting worse over about a 12-hour stretch, her polka dots began to fade. Even better, her big belly laughs returned.
So after a bummer of a weekend, our baby girl is feeling much better. Good thing, too. Her big sister came home from kindergarten today with a fever.