I've always been a scaredy cat. Scared of every noise, the dark. I have always been convinced that someone would break into the house or that if someone was late it surely meant they were laying somewhere in the ditch, dead. Yes Dad, I blame you and your crime lab job. Also, listening to the police scanner at bed time doesn't really help either :) I was always sure something bad was going to happen.
Max was born with very severe reflux. He had a couple incidents within the first few days of his life where he turned blue, the special care nurses were called to see him at birth. Very scary. He had several of these episodes during the first three months. I was super protective of him, only left him with certain people and didn't even like other people feeding him. He has always seemed like he needed to be watched over a little more closely.
Ellie, on the other hand, seem perfect from the get-go. Some seemingly run of the mill childhood illness but she always seemed a little more "hardy" than Max. Maybe it's the whole first vs. second child thing... But I was oh-so wrong. Ellie was the one that needed extra protection. I was much more easy going about letting other hold her, feed her, etc. Max has his issues, but Ellie's took her life. And I didn't even know it was coming.
What happened to Ellie is every parent's worse fear. To have to bury your baby is unspeakable. Before Ellie died, I of course got nervous every time they started to get sick. Being an oncology nurse, every time I saw a bruise I thought "its leukemia." The worry was there but I knew (or thought I knew) that I was just being paranoid. When Ellie's was in the ER that day she got little pinpoint bruises all over her body- a common sign of leukemia. I remember feeling stupid as I asked the doctor if she could have cancer. He shook his head and said, "I don't think that is what we are working with here..." Even then, I thought, that stuff doesn't really happen to people I know. Something that bad won't actually happen to my child.
Well, it does. It did. Bad things happen for no rhyme or reason. We will never know why Ellie's spleen died, causing her to be so susceptible to infection. We were told it's the "shittiest kind of bad luck."
Now, my fear is almost overwhelming. Max has a milk allergy but hasn't had an issue since we diagnosed him. On Friday, he broke out into hives from something he'd never had a problem with. My heart pounded the whole time. I got out his epi-pen. In my mind I was seeing the ambulance coming, the paramedics run in and take another child from me. Before, his hives would have worried me but I would have given him Benadryl and watched him.
Last night, Max wouldn't sleep. He's been coughing for two weeks and his reflux is flaring up. He was laying in bed with us and I just kept tearing up. Max's sippy cup was sitting on the nightstand right next to Ellie's. Fifty-seven days before I had been laying in bed with Elle, snuggled up almost the same exact way. My mind just kept saying, "we can't go through this again. we can't lose another one." I asked Dave, "what if there is something wrong with him?" Dave said, "there isn't." That's what he said Ellie's last night. And there was.
I called Max's awesome pediatrician and he thinks Max has a sinus infection. But we did get Max scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound and lab draws. What happened to Ellie was a fluke- or so they think. But just because they don't have a reason this happened, doesn't mean there isn't one. I need the piece of mind to know Max is ok. Well ok for now.
I am now painfully aware that anything can happen at anytime. No one is safe. You have to take advantage of every second with the people you love because you never know when they could be taken away from you.