Oh, October! You beautiful, autumnal month, you! Full of promise you came along, after a busy September, with the joys of pumpkins, Halloween parties, cute fancy dress outfits, log fires, scented candles and – for us, at least – childcare! A couple of days into October, however, it was apparent that these things were to be blighted by a cruel mistress: the unescapable winter virus.
For us, October was the month that our toddler was settling into nursery for two afternoons a week. We tried to settle her in during July but she was so distressed by the whole experience (repeatedly making herself sick and screaming for the duration – it was just horribly upsetting for all of us) that we postponed it until she was a bit older. This time round we’ve had great success and I am so relieved. It is just for two afternoons a week but I think it’s really good for her; the nursery that we have chosen are fantastic, really supportive and engage her in a whole heap load of activities that she loves. These afternoons promised me the chance to get on with some blogging, some freelance work and, as I’m now in my third trimester of pregnancy number two, some much-needed feet up time.
However, during these settling in periods, she caught every bug going. The sort of viruses that nobody really knows what they are or how to treat them, which you just have to ride out like a horrendous, never-ending car journey of morning sickness. She woke one morning – the morning that my husband left the house at 4am to fly away for work – with a burning fever and was really clingy. Not like her usual self at all. Obviously, I did all the usual: engaged in some paracetamol, whacked on Baby Jake and provided lots of Mummy cuddles. Little did I know, sadly, that this was only the beginning for my poor poppet. The virus quickly descended to her chest and her breathing became quite wheezy. I took her to the surgery, where we saw the practice nurse, and we were sent home being told it was “just a virus”. By the afternoon, I was timing her breathing and it was increasingly more rapid. I couldn’t get through to the surgery on the phone so I bundled her into the car and just drove straight back; totally the right decision. We were seen straight away and sent to Bristol Children’s Hospital where she was brilliantly looked after and treated with an asthma inhaler. They won’t diagnose asthma in toddlers, as I imagine most of you are aware, but I have it and I know how horrible it feels when you’re wheezy and can’t quite catch your breath. I could see the physical relief in her face as the medicine started to kick in. The old adage of trusting your maternal instincts never felt so fitting, that day.
She recovered well and, after missing one nursery session, was back the next week, fighting fit. This was when she caught the delightful D&V! So, then we had a week of wiping, cleaning, washing and disinfecting…and then I caught it! Oh, the joys of being seven months pregnant with the winter vomiting bug and a toddler to look after. It was bleak. We all know what those days are like, and I think the word ‘bleak’ pretty much covers it. She wasn’t well enough to go to nursery, obviously, and I wasn’t well enough to meet friends for playdates so we holed up at home and pretty much Just Got Through. I had to cancel the toddlers’ Hallowe’en party that we had organised, a family weekend with my sisters and lots of playdates. I, basically, felt like I was sending the apologetic text every day for 5 weeks! It started to make me really fed up and I felt like I was constantly just letting people down. We even had to cancel our Mums coming down to help, because we didn’t want them to catch it or pass it on to the others that they care for. Bad times!
Anyway, now we are in November and things – touch wood – are on the up. She’s back at nursery and hasn’t caught anything else, yet! Everyone keeps telling me that this is what happens when they start nursery – they bring home every bug under the sun. Even though the advice is well meaning, at the time it just made it feel harder, but at least her immune system will be bolstered and, to be honest, I’d rather she had all these things now rather than when she starts school. I guess it’s just been unfortunate timing with being so pregnant, but these things are sent to try us and all that!
I hope that your autumn has been far less beleaguered with the dreaded viruses that seem to come alive when the central heating goes on and the nights draw in. Here’s to a healthy winter for all.