(Warning: Long post ahead)
We are finally out of the woods since the kids fell sick recently. Sam & Gabe caught the most nasty virus that caused both of them to have 40 degree fevers and chills! Our house was like a dead town for those 7 days! The boys would wake up, eat a little bit for breakfast and crash again on the sofas. I kid you not. They slept as much as newborns!
Despite our best efforts to protect the littlest one, poor Liam still caught the virus. I would consider myself a somewhat seasoned Mom in having to deal with sick kids. But nothing could prepare me for what we experienced.
We brought the kids to the paediatrician and as expected, the doc said its a "virus" and we just have to let it ride its course. In Germany, only temperatures above 39 degrees celsius is considered a fever and doctors recommend giving paracetamol only when there is a fever.
The anxious Mom in me didn't like the "relaxed" approach at first, but after 12 years in Germany, I've come to appreciate that a fever is a body's natural response to fighting infections. And we should give the body time to fight the infection and not resort to fever-suppressing drugs as if the fever were the enemy. It's not!
That said, we don't want our children to boil through the night, so we do check their temperatures regularly and give them fever medicine when we feel that we'd rather they be comfortable. It's a matter of weighing out our options.
That night it happened, I remember feeling Liam's forehead when he was sleeping and he felt fine. Just a bit warm but not too hot.
While ironing some clothes, I suddenly heard the weirdest sound! It sounded like someone was trying to cry but the cry was muffled. I wasn't alarmed but thought I should check on the baby, thinking that maybe he just couldn't get comfortable.
Honestly, its impossible to recap this experience without feeling all teary. I saw my kiddo lying in bed with his eyes wide open but not responding. His body was stiff and I couldn't even tell if he was breathing or not!
I quickly grabbed him and tried to shake him to "wake him up". But it was to no avail. This was when I screamed at the husband to get out of bed. Poor hub, who was also sick, took the baby and tried to "resuscitate" him. He actually said, "Oh, Liam's fine!"
But I looked at Liam and he still looked as lifeless as when I handed him over to Stephan. My thoughts went from "OMG, do I still remember how to do CPR?? Is there a doctor in our block? Is this the last time I'll see my baby alive?" What on earth am I supposed to do??!"
I told my husband, "NO, Liam's not fine. He's still cramping up!"
So we did the next thing we thought to do. We brought Liam to the bathroom and tried to splash water on his face. We realised that his teeth were tightly clenched so Stephan tried to put his finger between his teeth to wrench it open.
I don't really know what happened, but suddenly Liam woke up. I was sooo relieved! But my thoughts wandered to, "Did he experience brain damage? Was he even breathing all this time?" We tried to keep him awake, cos he was sooo drained and sleepy!"
We rang our immediate neighbours' doorbell to ask them to babysit our 2 older kids while both of us rushed to the A&E of the nearest children's hospital. It was almost 11pm when we left.
You know, I may complain about things about Germany but I will never ever complain about the healthcare industry here. There was NO queue at all. We registered and were the next in line to see a doctor.
The doctor gave Liam a thorough examination. Here's what we learnt:-
1. Fever cramps are not as dangerous as it looks. 6% of children get it and they usually get it when at least one parent has a genetic disposition to it.
2. Cramps usually last for about 2-3 minutes. If they last any longer, one should bring a child to the hospital.
3. NEVER ever pry the mouth open. One could end up breaking off a tooth and the baby might swallow the broken tooth which would cause it to be wayyy more dangerous than leaving the mouth closed
4. It's hard to prevent a fever cramp because its not dependent on how high the body temperature is but how quickly the body temperature changed.
We were given the option to let Liam be hospitalised or bring him home to recuperate. We opted for the latter since we felt relieved enough by what the doctor said and she also gave us her approval to bring him home.
We are sooo thankful for God's protection! We even messaged our prayer warrior friends to pray for Liam when we brought him to the hospital. It was so traumatising. We even second-guessed our parenting decisions, thinking that maybe we didn't give him enough fever meds.
This is such a potent reminder that everyday is a GIFT! It's not a given that we will see our kids grow old, have kids of their own and lead an adult life. I'm reminded of the fragility of life and how not to take any day for granted.
In the monotony of being a stay-home Mom, I sometimes wish that I have more adult interaction or just people who check in on me to find out how I am. But in this day and age when everybody is busy, it's hard! And I'm reminded that I just need to TALK TO GOD! I need to hear His voice and allow HIM to be my constant companion throughout the day. I can only parent from the fullness of LOVE that God pours into my heart.
I must say that when the kids were so sick, I felt so empty! So zapped of any strength and positive energy to encourage my kids. One day, I just took out my guitar and started playing worship songs. My kids had no energy to sing or jump around, but just listened to the music that reminded us that the Holy Spirit is here and He's as close to us as our very breath. Some days, the only prayer I could muster was "Jesus, please help me. Help my kids to recover".
And somedays, I literally had to pray a warfare-type of prayer that the virus can no longer continue! Each kid had at least 2-3 temperature dips when we thought the worst is over, only to have them have a worse version of the fever and vomitting the next day!
Of course Liam's episode with the febrile seizure was the worst. I remember thinking that I'm not ready to say goodbye to any of my children. That's when I had an epiphany.
You know, I grew up hearing about the Good Friday message. Jesus dying on the cross is not new news for me. Listening to Bible stories was part of my childhood as much as learning ABCs was part of my school life.
But now that I'm a Mom, I'm struck by the immense love of God! God loves ME & You so much, He sent His ONLY son to die on the cross for our sins. For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Is this the biggest love on earth?
Yes, I believe it is. I'm a Mom. And I would NEVER ever want my children to suffer. I would rather suffer myself than to see them suffer. God sent Jesus as a blameless sacrifice for MY sins and He (God) had to watch His son (Jesus) suffer in agony for hours while He was tortured and life slowly ebbed away from Him. And this was God's choice!! And Jesus' choice too. This fact still dumbfounds me. I don't think I'll ever be able to send Samuel or Gabriel or Liam to suffer and die for someone else. And that someone else may never even acknowledge the death of my child on his / her behalf. Get what I mean?
I'm so humbled.
God gives me hope.
That when this life is done on earth, life STARTS in eternity.
With no suffering & pain & illness & heartbreak.
That death does not separate me from me and my loved ones
I will see my Mom again.
My kids will see me again
And I actually get to see this Jesus whom I've read about and experienced in bits and pieces IN REAL LIFE!!!!
And can you imagine, seeing GOD???? Seeing the one who made you and me, and the universe??? And being able to see God without dying? Cos I receive a new body and a new spirit and because I'm adopted into the family of God because I receive Jesus as my personal Saviour?
I'm going to see Abraham, David, all the beautiful women of the Bible and all the spiritual giants I've read about in the Bible.
God is REAL y'all! We are made for eternity! Life does not make sense if death is the end of life as we know it. Our life on earth is to prepare us for life in heaven.
I'll leave you with this video and song that I've been meditating on.