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Anxiety rearing it's ugly head again.

Jan 25, 2011 - 19 comments

So it's been quite the few weeks for my little man.  Boxing day (Dec. 26th for my American friends) he had an ear infection.  I handled it just fine.  He went on antibiotics and quickly recovered.  A few days after starting the antibiotics he caught a cold.  It was bad enough, but nothing that really set me off.  I did take him to the Dr. as the cough seemed to linger, but he was was just due to the runny nose and mucus running down his throat.  No bronchitis or anything.  I was rather proud of myself that I was able to use the tools my Physciatrist taught me to overcome any mild feelings of anxiety.  I did really really well.  Well, this past week we have had something new.  For the past few days, mild diarea.  I just chalked it up to the fact that we are transitioning him from formula to cow's milk. Our pediatrician had said this could happen, and as long as it wasn't severe or bloody, not to worry.  It was normal.  Well, it wasn't severe and it wasn't bloody, so no worries.

Last night about midnight Ryder started screeching.  Not the "I woke up and am feeling mildly fussy crying", but the "I am in pain" type.  I went in and picked him up, rocking him for a bit.  He has been working on his eye teeth, so again, chalked it up to that.  Normally I don't feed him in the middle of the night, but he was really upset, so I warmed some cows milk for him.  He drank it all...about 6 ounces, got all sleepy again, so I put him back to bed.  He started throwing up.  I picked him up, and it turned projectile.  This was the first time I had encountered this.  I woke my husband up needing some help.  I had Ryder in one arm, he was screaming and throwing  up all at once it seemed, and needed his help.  It stopped.  Cleaned him up, changed his sleeper and diaper, and it started all over again.  I handed him over to Warren and called the nurse. (we have a 24 hour helpline here where you can talk to an RN..wonderful service to have, let me tell you).  Anyway, long story short, he continued to vomit for a very long time.  It was eventually just bile.  I spoke to the nurse line 3 times, and we decided it was time to take him in.  

Got to Sick Childrens' Hospital ER, and Ryder started throwing up again the second we walked through the door.  Triage saw us immediately, and they sent us to a room to wait for a Pediatrician right away.  They were fabulous.  They gave him some medication to stop the vomitting, checked him over, then had us give him tiny bits of pedialite every 10 minutes for about an hour and a half.  They said it was a virus that was going around, taught us what to watch for (mainly dehydration) and home we went.  All day today it has been almost constant diareah.  Poor little guy, I have changed his diaper every 1/2 hour it seems.  As per Dr. directions, gave him only pedilite this morning, then tried some cereal in the afternoon.  He seemed to tolerate it, until 2 hours later, and up it came.  

I spoke to the nurse again this afternoon with a few questions as the info they sent us home with was contradicatory.  The info on treating vomitting is a bit different then treating diahrea, so I wanted some clarification.  On the phone she also did a quick assessment with me, and asked me how his breathing was.  Well, his breathing has been fine, but of course that is my trigger.  I could feel my heart begin to pound and that feeling of terror start up.  I then began to fixate on dehydration (please don't ask me how I went from breathing to dehydration...none of this makes sense).  So, for the past few hours, I have been waking up my poor little boy by sticking my finger in his mouth, then in his diaper to see if it's wet.  I also wake him to give him pedialite.  The poor child is asleep, which is probably the best thing for him, and here I am obsessing and waking him up.  I cannot sleep....I am watching him like a hawk.

I hate this...I hate being this way.  I do not want to be that super overprotective mother that does not allow her child to be a normal little boy...get dirty, be exposed to germs, etc.  And I do not want to give him some sort of complex by being obsessive every time he gets sick.  We have many illness' in our future.  It's part of growing up.  Logical me knows this, but I can't seem to turn this off.  I know part of this is my current state of exhaustion.  Up all night last night, and didn't get much of a nap today.  I am also still recovering myself from a painful procedure, and although I am able to get by without the heavy narcotics (percocet), I do still need the tylenol 3's.  I wont' take them though, because I am afraid that he will need me and I will be too out of it.  My mom was here, but went home today.  

Ryder is not that sick.  I mean, he has a nasty bug, but it's certainly not life threatening or anything.  He is going to have lots of these.  So why do I do this.  I am going to call my Dr. tomorrow and see if he can't squeeze me in this week.  I need to nip this in the bud before it starts to take on a life of it's own again.  It's not fair to my baby or to my husband.  I thought I had conquered it somewhat, but who am I kidding.  Today was a full blown panic attack and I am so mad at myself.  I want to be a normal mom, not one of those obsessive parents who can't let their kids be kids (you know what I mean).  It feels like a big backward step and I am frustrated.  

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by adgal, Jan 25, 2011
Oh, and I should add...he has not had a wet diaper for at least 7 hours.  Now that is a sign of potential dehydration, but not a concern all on it's own.  The inside of his mouth is nice and wet and he is very alert, responsive, his normal self really.  But what happens...all I can think about is the fact that his diaper hasn't been wet.  See how illogical this is.  The frustrating part is I KNOW it's not logical...but I still can't seem to turn it off.

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by meiram, Jan 25, 2011
I'm not going to tell you that Ryder will be fine, because you already know that :)  Both my kids recently went through the same type of thing, we even ran out of sheets to put on their cribs and just ended up tucking blankets and large towels in around the mattresses.  It was really worrisome to me and I don't have the anxiety issues to deal with.  Everything is magnified when you are sleep deprived and stressed.  Sounds like you have a good strategies to use and a good plan to see your doc.  Don't beat yourself up about this, you are a great mom!

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by kellym, Jan 25, 2011
Oh NO, I hope that was a joke, lol :)

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by kellym, Jan 25, 2011
Amanda,  I'm glad you are trying to see if you can get a quick appt. to get this under control. It is not your fault your body reacts to these events this way but it's great that the professionals can give you the tools to help keep things on an even keal.  It's awful that Ryder got that nasty bug and you are doing a great job taking care of him!  I'm so glad you can come on here to at least vent about your anxiety.  Although I don't have any good advice on how to make things any better, just know that Ryder is most likely perfectly fine and when the Dr's mention things like (breathing) it's worst case scenerio.  Try to nap while he is napping and get yourself some rest. Now that your mom is gone and still healing, you have a lot on your plate!

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by Limonada, Jan 25, 2011
I'm so sorry that you've been dealing with this - both Ryder being sick and your anxiety flaring up.  Unfortunately, I've learned that the anxiety never really goes away.  I've been on antidepressants and seen a therapist, I thought I was "cured"....and I've still had flare ups since then.  The thing is that - so far - I've been better equipped to a) recognize the signs/symptoms and b) better able to deal with the issue before it gets out of hand.  As you know from my PPD journal, I even went so far as to speak to my GP about how I was feeling, knowing that I need to keep the lines of communication open,  especially with the people who are in the best position to help me or obtain that help for me (incidentally....I've mostly been feeling good since then - in my case, I think that having my mat leave come to an end is a very good thing).

You are such a strong woman for so many reasons and in so many ways.  Seeking help only reinforces that to me (I think you've told me something similar - now it's my turn :)  ).  It sounds as though Ryder has been very sick - actually, until you got the the part about the projectile vomiting, I was thinking that it sounded like what we've been dealing with here with baby G because he too is transitioning to cow's milk and his bowel movements have been off as well.  I do think your level of concern is warranted and that you haven't been wrong to call the nurse has much as you have - that's what they're there for.  It's when these situations become such a central focus in our lives that we can't see anything else....that's when we know something isn't right.  I get that way about my own health mostly, but I have had bouts of it with G, worrying that he was freezing to death in his room when we had the air conditioning on in the summer - I worked myself up pretty good then, had a hard time sleeping or focusing on anything else.  For some reason, I don't have the opposite worry about the heat being on in the winter.  I was able to "talk myself down" then, but it literally took me removing myself from the immediate vicinity (I slept in the basement for a couple of nights) to get through it.

I hope that you can get in to see your psychologist soon.  Recognizing that you need help can be the hardest part and you're already there.  Now comes some work on reinforcing some of what you learned earlier about how to quash those anxious feelings and mannerisms.  You can do it!! :)

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by Hopefulcb, Jan 25, 2011
Hey Amanda. I don't have children yet and don't have anxiety issues but I can totally see myself reacting the same way you did. I often worry that I would be an overprotective mother for the same reason you've described. I think you did what most mothers would do and inquired about what you should do and acted accordingly. Don't beat yourself up over it but glad you are taking action and seeing you Dr about it before it gets worse.

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by adgal, Jan 27, 2011
Thanks for the support ladies.  It does feel good to get it out, and I was in a bit of a "state" when I wrote this.  But I am going to leave it up as I know I am not the only one who does this.  It's just frustrating.  I fixate on something, and can't get it out of my head, even though I know it's completely illogical.  He is mildly dehydrated, but I know we are very on top of it and he isn't anywhere near dangerous.  Tonight he even managed to keep some chicken broth down, so I think we are getting to the end of it.  It's just a simple virus, and I know logically there are many in his future. Problem is, when the anxiety begins to take over, logic goes right out the window and it just all becomes larger the life.  Even now, I am much calmer, but still checking obsessively. A normal person with a sick child checks them frequently, but I am in there every 15 to 20 minutes.  I also put his breathing monitor back on even though now that he is moving around so much in his sleep, the darn thing goes off at least twice a night (false alarms..these monitors are not any good when they reach this age).  I mean, how crazy is that.  But I just cannot help myself.  I try, but I am in that place right now if that makes any sense.  I am seeing my Dr. tomorrow.  I am trying to avoid going back on medication as we are ttc again, and I don't want to take anything unless I have to.  I know, there are meds that are fine during pregnancy, it's just the one I responded best to is not's why I had to stop breastfeeding earlier then I wanted to. Anyway, I guess it is good I know what is happening, even if I don't yet have full control.  Maybe I never will, but I am sure going to try.  My child deserves a healthy mom, and I am determined to make sure that is what he gets.  Not one that flips out everytime he gets sick.  And it's odd..he gets tonnes of little bumps and bruises now that he is walking...I completely take that in stride.  It's only when he gets sick that this happens.  At least right now.  It makes no sense.

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by tiredbuthappy, Jan 27, 2011
Aw, so sorry the little guy isn't feeling well. I'm a pretty casual mom when it comes to most things (seen just about everything working with young kids) but I still get a little nervous when the vomitting starts. We never coslept, except when they are really sick. Gives me peace of mind, and saves on changing sheets. We get a big stack of thick towels next to the bed, and place some under the kid in between us. A second is on hand. When the kid starts vomitting in the night, we catch it in the towel, and then just switch towels, waiting for the next round. Having her right next to me in those times (also with high fevers) gives me a little peace of mind when she's very sick. She's definitely big enough where I don't have to worry about smothering her, and when they're sick I don't sleep deeply anyways.

My pediatrician said not to use wet diapers as a guage of dehydration. They are so super absorbant these days, that we may not detect moisture.

I cannot relate to your anxiety, but I imagine it must be very difficult to cope with. As a person who cannot relate, I may be very off in my observation, but it seems as though you are putting a LOT of pressure on yourself to get over this and be a "normal" mom. I imagine putting that kind of pressure on yourself may contribute to anxiety. I have seen what overprotective mothering can result in, and I gotta say you are doing better than some I have seen.

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by shuga1109, Jan 27, 2011
Hello.  I would really like to share something with you, and hope you dont mind.  I was actually awake when you posted this.  I was up at 4:45 a.m. because I have severe insomnia.  I started to browse through my cell phone and saw that you had posted this not too long before.  Hope you and your son are feeling better!  
I can relate to your anxiety.  I wanted to share about how much anxiety I have for my son.  He is 8.  He is autistic and has severe asthma.  I have spent 8 years isolating my autistic son from the world because people are cruel, kids are cruel, they stare, they comment when he blurts things out in public, etc.  I cry for him often.  Kids pick on him at school.  As a toddler, he had trouble talking and only i knew what he wanted.  Because of this, I email his teachers every day and I call the nurse often to give him a breathing treatment, even when he doesn't need it!!!  I didn't allow my son to go to birthday parties.  I didn't like to take him to the park.  I get therapy for this, as well as my son.  although he is autistic, he is very aware of a lot that goes on.  He is high functioning and is somewhat normal, but very antisocial, and would like to be accepted from other kids.  
I know its a bit different from your story, but I, too, have severe anxiety and panic attacks.  His teachers, his father, my family, and my therapist all tell me that the only person treating my son like a disabled kid.......IS ME!  I have isolated him from the world, trying to protect him, when actually I wasn't allowing him to progress!  
He needs to be treated "normal", play with kids, go to birthday parties, fall and get hurt, get sick, etc.  I allowed him for the first time to go to a birthday party, (recently at 8 years old) and i was amazed at how the kids and parents were understanding.  Its going to take some time for me to get through this.  Im pretty sure his teachers and school nurses would like a break!  I need to step back and not give a care in the world what people say or think about my son.  I need to treat him normal and do great things with him because he is special.   I need to allow him to spend time with friends.  Its not easy.  You seem to be a wonderful mother and a caring person.  You have helped me so much.  You seem to be a wonderful mother.  These things take time and I know you will be ok.  The greatest thing about this situation is, you are aware of your actions, and you are working on it!  I pray that you both feel better and I hope you don't mind me sharing this.  

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by mjmom69, Jan 27, 2011
Have any of the doctors suggested he might be allergic to cow's milk. Did you just start switching or had he been drinking it for a while before he got sick? I know it can happen and can be helped with soy milk but I'm not sure of all the circumstances so I don't know. Just a thought. I hope he feels better soon. I think you are handling things great, It is hard to know what to do sometimes and so many things can set off anxiety. I used to wake up and check my DD when she was a baby, just to make sure she was breathing! You're doing a great job!

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by adgal, Jan 27, 2011
Thank you again for all the comments, stories and support.  Shug, it is nice to know I am not alone and I completely understand what you were attempting to do.  Our protective instincts are very strong.  We know this isn't an allergy.  It came on fast and furious, then a day and a half later the same thing happened to me.  You go from fine to feeling like you are going to die very suddenly.  My husband had to call in sick to work tuesday as I literally could not get out of bed..poor guy, was taking care of both of us all day.

We know what actually started this.  In part it's that I have lost so many pregnancies.  So all through my pregnancy with Ryder I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak.  I had a really hard time accepting this pregnancy was finally going to be ok.  Then there was a rather traumatic delivery.  He was fine, but the day I had him I had been having contractions for quite some time.  I was just over 38 weeks, and my OB and I decided it was a good idea to have a routine ultrasound as I hadn't had one in awhile.  At the ultrasound they wouldn't show me the screen, so I knew then and there something wasn't quite right.  The tech wasn't making comments like they usually do.  After the ultrasound, the Dr. at the clinic (it was outside the hosptital) came over to me and said "Don't panic, but we need you to go right over to L&D.  The baby is measuring too small, you have almost no amniotic fluid, and the baby isn't breathing".  Yep, quote and unquote that is what he said to me.  My husband hadn't come to this one as we had planned for him to take 2 weeks off when the baby came, and so we didn't want him taking extra time at this point.   I drove myself to L&D while frantically calling my husband at work.  I was hysterical and a mess.  All that was going through my head was "the baby isn't breathing, the baby isn't breathing", which to me translated to "the baby is going to die".  No one told me they don't actually breathe, it's just the motion they make, and if I had stopped to really think about it, I would have realized that, but I was pretty hysterical.  Ryder was delivered that night by c-section, tiny but healthy. He has never had a single issue with breathing.  I however, completely fixated on that.  I am an anxious person by nature at times, and that just really stayed with me.  So since then all of my anxiety has pretty much been around him stopping breathing. SIDS, things of that nature.  I am not even remotely germaphobic, and I never get upset when he takes the normal spills babies do when they are learning to walk.  Not much else upsets me.  But when he gets sick, somehow in my head I relate it back to" vomiting..he will choke and not breathe.  Deyhdration'....he will stop breathing.  It is not even remotely logical, but it's what i do.  So I know the root, I just can't seem to stop it.  I was on anti anxiety medication for a few months, and also saw a physciatrist.  The official diagnoses is clinic depression, post partum onset, manifesting itself in anxiety....or something long and bizarre like that.  But no one really gets it.  They see him fall (normal falls that new walkers have) and I dont' bat an eye.  Yet let him get sick, and I am a crazy person.  

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by nola0805, Jan 27, 2011
I think that you are spot on about the root of your anxiety.  It explains a lot about why you are not overprotective but have episodes of extreme anxiety, even panic, when anything related or even potentially related to his breathing.  You went through so much trying to have him and worried so much along the way - and then to get that close to his birth and hear that he was not breathing and was in danger! - it is perfectly understandable that this was the straw that broke the camels back.  

Anxiety is powerful and very real and as you know, has absolutely nothing to do with rational thought.  You can tell yourself all you want that he is okay, but the intense fear is still there.  I get it, and I know it is terrible to suffer through.  First, remember that you are a healthy mother.  You are a healthy, wonderful mama that is struggling with some pretty serious anxiety that you have taken many steps to deal with.  Please keep in mind that you have come so far with this, and there are many times that you have been able to talk yourself of the cliff.  Don't let this setback drag you back down - you have made great progress and this does not meant that you are back to square one.  You probably already know this and I also know that it is really, really hard to do, but you will tackle this anxiety when you are able to not succumb to that need to check him - each time you check him, you are giving that anxiety more power - each time you are reassured by checking him and feel better, the anxiety grows - that is how anxiety works.  Not checking him and then realizing later that he is just fine, is what will really help reduce your anxiety in the long haul.  To do this, you will need lots of tools to keep you calm when you are not checking (I am sure your therapist has given you these).   I have no doubt that you will keep moving forward and we will all be cheering you on.  Stay strong!  Oh, and I hope you feel better - that sounds like one nasty bug.

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by adgal, Jan 27, 2011
Thanks Nola.  It is so weird how it all centers around one specific issue.  I mean, with the other things babies go the little falls they take, I am just normal.  I make sure his enviroment is safe and relatively clean...nothing he can really hurt himself on, nothing he can choke on, that sort of thing.  And 99.9% of the time when he loses his balance, or trips over a toy he just gets right back up and keeps going.  The odd time he may cry, I calmly pick him up, cuddle him and it's over in a second.  No panic at all.  But this breathing's just crazy.  You would think that by now, 1 year later, when he has never had any breathing issues whatsoever, I would be over it.  He is a normal, healthy little boy who gets the normal things babies his age get.  And he is starting day care 3 days a week next week, so God knows he is going to get everything.  I need to be able to handle it better.  

I have learned some pretty good coping tools, and in all honesty this is the first major meltdown I have had in quite a while.  It was just so scary, the way it completely took over so was like watching a disaster happen and not being able to stop it.  I knew it was happening, I knew there was no rational reason for it, but couldn't seem to grab ahold of it.  And that is what is so very frustrating.    I was doing really well on the not checking him as often too.  I was putting him to bed in his own room, checking on him when I went to bed (unless he woke up for some reason), then wouldn't check him again unless I woke up to use the bathroom or something.  That is normal.  The last few nights I haven't slept at all, afraid to take my eyes off of him, except the day I was so sick and Warren had to take care of him.  I was doing great, and I think that is the part that is the hardest.

Thanks for listening everyone, and for the support.  I am always so very grateful to have this outlet.

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by Pum, Jan 27, 2011

I completely understand on the breathing thing. My son has asthma and it is something I freaked out over when he was a baby. Many nights I slept on sofa cushions by his cot and basically counted his breaths per minute all night on and off. I have a friend whose son has asthma and she is way more relaxed. I have taken my son to the hospital at midnight about 5 times when I couldn't stand it any longer but she waits until morning. Try not to beat yourself up. You still have insight that your worrying is excessive. It's when you lose that insight the problem is serious.

I found having a plan really helped. That mightn't help you though as Ryder doesn't have asthma. With asthma you can get a plan that goes x puffs of reliever, wait 15 minutes, x puffs, count breaths, if not improving go to doctor, that sort of thing. It calmed me down just having the piece of paper.

Ryder is still very young so normal might be sleeping by his bed or having him in with you. That's what I did when James was sick and I think I'm a normal Mum. I haven't done it for years now. They do get so much more robust as they get older.

Take care of yourself. You've been sick too and deep down you're probably affected by the daycare decision. Lots of changes make people anxious. Be kind to yourself.

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by shuga1109, Jan 27, 2011
I forgot to mention, during my pregnancy the ultrasound showed a downs baby. So all along im going through this pregnancy with nothing but tears and sadness trying to prepare myself every day. He was born autistic and with severe asthma so I count my blessings and thank god each and every day. Ill take it!

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by nola0805, Jan 28, 2011
I can imagine that having your anxiety return so intensely so suddenly must have been so disarming, especially given how well you have been doing.  Anxiety can be tricky like that - especially when you are worn down or worried about something else (like maybe leaving him in daycare for the first time).  It sounds like you really have a handle on it and I am certain that you will return to doing great again in no time - this really was just a temporary setback.

Also, good luck with daycare.  I left Finn with a nanny for the first time on Wednesday and I was a nervous wreck about it (especially since he really does not drink from a bottle well yet).  I really, really like his nanny and trust her, which helps and I was surprised how easy it was for me once I was at work.  While it has been going well, boy oh boy do I wish I lived in Canada and could stay home for a year!!  

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by Hopeful4aBlessing, Jan 28, 2011
You're just a concerned and loving mother! Don't beat yourself up for the anxiety- we all have it at some point in life. When stress gets to be too much, it just might be your body's way of 'coping' either way, there's no need to beat yourself up for being 'overbearing'. You're concerned - it's a loving thing to do. Ryder is a lucky boy to have you take such great care of him- a lot of mom's don't get the thanks they truly deserve! :)

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by adgal, Jan 28, 2011
Thanks so much.  I actually had a really good app. with my Dr. yesterday.  I was still processing last night, but today much of what we talked about sort of came together.  I was doing really well at holding it together.  However, we went over the events of my world since Nov. and he said he is not surprised.

Since Nov. I found out we were pregnant, miscarried, hemoragged and wound up needing an emergency d&c.  Ryder got an ear infection, then a really bad cold that lasted 2 weeks.  I then had surgery, Ryder got this nasty bug, I got it and so did my parents.  I am also getting ready to go back to work on Tues, which naturally comes with a bit of anxiety for any mother about to drop her child at daycare for the first time.  So now I think everything just sort of blew up, and this is how it manifested itself.  An anxiety attack.  I am feeling much stronger again, although yesterday I seriously considered running away from home and joining the  It does feel good to get it out and talk it through. I know so many of you understand and have experienced this at different levels yourself.  I don't really have any friends with small children, or who even want any, so I think sometimes it's hard for them to understand all of this.  They just think I'm, maybe I am.  Anyway, thanks for letting me work through this, I am feeling much better today.

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by Hopeful4aBlessing, Jan 28, 2011
I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better today. I know anxiety attacks. I suffered through them daily for about a solid 4 months without truly knowing what it was- losing my previous job, becoming agoraphobic for a while, truly humiliating. I went to therapy, went on medication for a short period of time... and then came to the realization that I have a very hard time with the lack of control. HA! Control- now that's an illusion. But where I was going with this is that anxiety can destroy a person. And you, my dear, are such a strong woman- I admire your strength and sometimes we all have way too much to handle and you just need to have a break... You have been through more than what most people could ever handle in a lifetime! So, I may not have any small children, but I recently, just Wednesday started a new job with anxiety trying to rear its ugly head, but I just said, if I can't or don't want to do this, I can take a moment for myself, evaluate things, and always just say no! :)   If you get overwhelmed on Tues or feel the need to check in with Ryder at the day care, do it. Do it as often as you need. Sure they may thing you're crazy, but you know what- at the end of the day, you need to be happy with YOU! And you are such a great person- Ryder is loved by you and he is safe. :) So don't worry about the daycare... soon enough he'll be walking, talking, and socializing with his friends telling you all about his day and excited to go that you'll be happy you opened that door for him and any mom who gives a damn would completely understand your worries! :)  I'm not a mom but if I watched Ryder and you called every hour, I'd be happy to give you updates :)   Many hugs to you!!!

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