I came up the stairs a few nights ago to […]
I came up the stairs a few nights ago to find my wife pacing in our room clutching the little guy to her chest. Her eyes were red and misty, and there were tear streaks on her checks.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“He just puked twice,” she replied.
Just to be clear, the word “puked” is very different from “spit up.” Babies spit up all the time. Nothing worrisome about that. Puking, however, is far more serious. That’s when all manner of stomach contents come up with the milk. It’s not just a little dribble of milk, but a projectile stream made of a cocktail of smelly bodily fluids. Those fluids are extremely precious to a 7-month-old body. It doesn’t take much puking before that little body starts to get dehydrated.
All the warnings from my wife’s training in nursing school started to swirl in her head. She started spouting one medical term after another at me to explain what all could go wrong if he isn’t able to eat for the rest of the night. I did not deny that this could turn into a real serious situation real quickly, but I did encourage her to consider that he only just puked this one time—and that there is no reason yet to believe that it will be a chronic thing that will get him into trouble. We agreed to wait out the night and see how everything looked in the morning.
Thankfully, all was well in the morning. He had made it through the night without any more puking. He was nursing normally and keeping it all down. Disaster averted! No hospital visits here!
Still, it was a rather unnerving situation that reminded me of how fragile this little life is and how quickly it could become endangered. Even though we’ve already passed the infancy stage with four other children, we still haven’t let go of our watchfulness for signs that our little guy might not be well.
It can sometimes be difficult to strike a balance between freaking out over every little abnormality on the one hand, and being negligent and lazy about signs of trouble on the other. We remain vigilant while also trying to keep cool heads whenever there are alarms. Learning to react to a situation with an appropriate amount of concern is part of the art of raising a baby. We just had a little more practice at it this week.