Merry Christmas at the ER?!

First of all, we genuinely have the best holiday baby in the whole world. If you’ve been reading the blog, you already know that 1) she’s a dream around dangerous Christmas decorations and 2) she LOVES Santa – as evidenced by the photo above. In fact, Santa thought she was so great that he LEFT HIS SANTA POST and came over after she had her picture taken, picked her up and let me take a few more pictures, free.

And though her father gave her a B minus for her behavior on the 4 hour plane trip to GA for the holidays (she was a little fidgety), that score can only be “as compared to” how incredibly wonderful SHE is normally. Compared to other babies’ behavior on many a cross-country flight I’ve witnessed, Zoe was a solid A+. Come on, she didn’t scream once. Not once.

But that’s not the point of this blog. The holiday hiccup we did experience was nighttime sleep. Zoe just didn’t adjust well to the time change and with her “new climate” nasal congestion, her sleep for the first three nights in GA was pretty terrible. Up 3-4 times a night. Ouch. That doesn’t make for a happy holiday at all.

One thing to note: I hate medicine. Maybe it’s irrational, but I actively avoid it. That way (I rationalize), when I really need it, it will REALLY work. Anyway, that’s also made me super reluctant to give Zoe any medicine at all. Such a tiny body. It’s a point on which Bart and I differ, and NOT giving Zoe medicine, just like my having to hold our child’s hand when she’s close to a busy street, seems senseless to him. I wish I shared his confidence. But I don’t.

So, the first night Zoe had trouble sleeping (I say “trouble” but actually she was up at midnight talking and playing like it was midday), Bart suggested Benadryl. We’d brought it with us “just in case” for the plane. We had no idea what to expect from a 15-month-old MOBILE version of our child on an airplane, and we’d tested it once before her first flight at 6 months old to make sure it didn’t make her hyper (it didn’t). But at midnight this past Wednesday when he suggested it, my response was “why would we do that?” And without medication, we got our child back to sleep, for a while…

On the fourth night (also known as “Christmas Eve”) of getting up 3-4 times a night to soothe her, we decided to make a pre-emptive strike. We’d give her Benadryl when she went to bed, in hopes of getting her over the middle of the night hump and getting some sleep for all of us (especially her). When my sister said that Benadryl would help with congestion, I was sold. Here’s how that move played out:

  • At 8:20, we dosed her and put her to bed.
  • At 10:30, she woke up crying (an odd cry I didn’t like).
  • I went into her room and instead of her standing at the edge of the crib ready for me to get her out (as she usually is), she was still crying and still lying on her back. I thought she had gotten her hand stuck, but instead she simply couldn’t move and had trouble lifting her head when I picked her up.
  • I won’t say I panicked but my mommy-sense went into high gear, and I did what any new-ish mom should do: I held her close, and we went to get my sister (two kids, 8 and 5). Seriously, you too should call my sister; she was great.
  • We checked her pupils as best we could. She was still lethargic and couldn’t stand. It’s crazy the thoughts that go through your head in stressful situations, and yet somehow you just “KNOW” things. The logic part of your brain says “well, Benadryl does knock you out, why wouldn’t she be lethargic?” while the rest of your brain says “yeah, but knocked out or no, when the overhead light is on and three adults are staring at you in the middle of the night, you should be able to muster strength enough to move your limbs, if only to clock one of them…”
  • So we called the hospital. I should say, my sister called the hospital while I clung to our crying child. Word to the wise: never use the word “LIMP” when you call a pediatric hospital. According to the nurse we talked to, it’s a 4-letter word that triggers “bring your child in now”, which it did. To make matters worse, the nurse followed that advice up with “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’ve never heard of Benadryl causing those symptoms.”
  • SO, on Christmas eve at 11 pm (after putting together some toys for my niece/nephew and before helping Santa fill the stockings), we headed to the ER at Scottish Rite Hospital.

Good news. She’s AOK. Not only were all her vitals and reflexes perfect, the nurse practitioner (who was terrific) said she was perfectly fine – though she did think it was smart we’d brought her in. We also found out that I had actually UNDER dosed her on the Benadryl. Thank goodness for that? Likely, she was “overtired” and had “had a big day” then got frightened when she woke up groggy. What I read from that: We just put our child on a bad drug trip trying to get her some sleep.

Bottom line: No more Benadryl unless she’s in emergency need of it. I won’t even mention how this makes me feel about medicine… But then, I suppose I don’t have to.

Hope YOUR Christmas Eve was much less eventful (in a good way). Here’s to a Happy Healthy rest of the Holidays!

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