Archive for the 'Sick baby' Category

Milk-chunk vomit

January 4, 2011

Andrew Hicks

My family has been fortunate enough to be in good health in our journey thus far. The ankle break incident was my first time as an overnight hospital inpatient since I was a newborn. Before that, I had two in-and-out admissions for stitches on accidental cuts, and I broke a metatarsal in my foot when I was 10. No disabilities, no congenital conditions, no allergies, none of that.*

My wife Tiffany has had basically the same clean track record. She had an ovary removed in 2003 after years of unsuccessful attempts with her first husband to get pregnant** again. And my kids have fared well so far — Silas has had a couple cry-all-night episodes where whatever was bothering him quickly went away, and Sarah has been healthy and happy aside from contracting RSV*** from one of the other daycare babies when she was 2 months old.

So it was a surprise to me to have Sarah bound into my room and wake me up at 3:30 this morning with wet hair and a new sleeper on. I’d only been in bed for about an hour, just long enough to enter that stage of REM sleep where “Shiny Happy People” starts playing in your head.

Tiffany told me Sarah had woken her up screaming, and when she went into Sarah’s room, Sarah and the bed were covered in congealed milk-chunk vomit. If you’ve ever accidentally left a half-consumed baby bottle in the car for a week, then opened the top and dumped out the contents, you can visualize the consistency. If you’ve ever handled uncooked cubes of tofu, your mental picture is even more three-dimensional.

Sarah, for being sick, was one happy little girl. She wanted to read books, play with toys and jump up and down on the bed. I wanted her to lay down next to me and fall asleep so I could go back to being a shiny, happy, unconscious person. I got her back into her own bed pretty quickly, but minutes later, followed the unpleasant noise into her room and found she’d puke-soiled her second outfit and batch of clean sheets with more tofu-milk chunks.

We were up another couple hours after that time, and there was more throwing up and dry heaving. She wasn’t holding down water or ice chips. Tiffany took off a half-day from work, and there were fleeting moments, maybe up to an hour, were everybody got some sleep. It was the first time Sarah slept in bed between mommy and daddy, which was super cute and sweet, etc. but isn’t a habit I want her to get into.

Sarah shows signs of being better now. And the upswing of this is, with the lack of rest from last night, she’ll most likely go to bed early and sleep the length of a waking day. Give dad a little break. It’s also, as a layparent, assuring to see her symptoms get better, not worse. The general health of my family and myself is something I mostly take for granted as a given, but the occasional brief reminder pops up to make me give thanks for the basics.

*Okay, I am known to chronically reach for the easy joke, but I’m turning that experience into a positive by authoring a cautionary children’s book called Andrew and the Low-Hanging Fruit.

**The missing ingredient from that equation? My single-ovary-shattering super sperm.

***Previously, as a church kid, I’d only known the letters RSV to signify the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. You know, the one that changed “Jesus wept” to “Jesus sniffled and cried a lil’ bit.”


Sarah and Grandma Ginny greet newborn Silas in the hospital.