The Hurts We Cannot Fix

Yesterday was crazy.

It started with Zach awaking like he always does: leaky diaper. So I go into his room, like always when I hear him awake first thing in the morning, and notice a few things right off the bat. First off all, the smell. Not really baby urine and not poop, but some odd, pungent old urine smell. And he is really crying. Not at all the happy, bubbly little guy who usually greets me in the morning. And he is laying flat on his belly, looking up at me through his tear, completely still as if he is afraid to move. I get him out of the bed, and see that the matress is soaked with some sort of tan liquid, and he is drenched with whatever it is. Straight to the changing table we go, where I peel off his soaked pajamas and strip his diaper. He pooped in his sleep. Watery diarrhea poop. And the poop and pee mixture is all over him, so we just head straight to the bathtub. Zach loves a bath, so whatever is upsetting him will soon be a distant memory.

Except he won’t even sit in the warm water. Okay, I think. Better to wash him this way, anyway. So I douse the soft baby washcloth with Baby Phisoderm and start to work on his butt. Screams. So I look. A little red. I blindly reach the front to wash his….junk….and I should’ve looked first. My poor baby doubled over, screaming bloody murder. I tried to look, and he wouldn’t really let me. Turns out that where they left a little too much skin at his circuscision as a newborn, there is this ring of tissue on his penis. And it is red. And swollen and firm. And very painful looking. I cannot dscribe it except to say that it looked like a red donut around his little toddler manhood. And he was screaming. SCREAMING.

All I could do was cry as I wrapped him in the soft terry comfort of a warm hooded towel. And I held him against me while the screams turned to sobs turned to whimpers. Snot on my shoulder, the front of my tee wet with the mixture of tears, bathwater, and I can only assume urine, since I could not put a diaper on him. I held him like that for over an hour. It took that long. I was able to reach my phone and call John, who had taken my car, and we got Zach in for emergency treatment.

Balanitis. And he may have to have his circumcision redone after all of this, as this is not an experience we are ever going to repeat. We spent the day with “Diaper Free Time”–doctor’s orders. In other words, watching Zachy like a hawk so we may be able to intercept the stream of urine before it hit the carpet/ furniture/ us. He looked adorable in one of Bubby’s tees, hanging to his little knees. Except he was pitiful, because anytime he shifted the wrong way, walked the wrong way, sat, he would scream in pain. He was walking bow-legged. Every hour, on the hour, one of us would hold him down while the other slathered one cream or another on his penis. There were four creams. Antifungal three times a day. Steroid twice a day. Antibiotic four times a day, and A&D Ointment on the hours when one of those wasn’t due. On four different occassions, we had to fill the tub with cool water and try to convince him to sit and play in the cold water for twenty minutes to help some swelling go down. The pee that was going everywhere had to be monitored to ensure that his urethra was not blocked from the swelling, meaning he would need a catheter. Naptime was pitiful. Normally, his crib is sparse. I’m a safety girl and always have horrific visions of him suffocating on something. Yesterday, we made an exception. Teddy bears and his pillow pet. Extra blankets. All arranged strategically to keep his little legs apart to avoid pain so he could rest while the pain medicine took effect.

Zach has not been sick. He has been on an antibiotic once in his life, and that was not until he had an ear infection at 14 months. I have dealt whith those hurts with Evan. The hurts you want to make go away and cannot. The ones that hurt you, as their mother, almost as much as it hurts them. I thought I would be used to it. I thought it would be easier with a second child. But yesterday, my sweet, rambunctious, happy, bubbly, adorable, angelic Zachy had a real hurt. And though I got him treatment and took extra special care of him all day, I could not wave a wand and make it go away. All I could do was cry with him and hold him and love him while he hurt. And it all but killed me.

Zachy, propped on pillows and after pain medication, just so he could take a nap.

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8 thoughts on “The Hurts We Cannot Fix

  1. There’s nothing worse than seeing your children hurt and not being able to do anything to fix it. Hope your little one feels better soon.

  2. What a day for you and your little guy. What we wouldn’t do to take away the hurts of our children. Still, your Zach sounds lucky to have such a loving, caring mom. Hope today is better for you both.

    • Hi Chris. All is much, much better. And thanks. I’m not the best, but I do my best and keep my fingers crossed that it counts for something.

  3. I’m glad he’s better today, but this gave me chills. Luke had a sloppy circumcision too — it seems to have corrected itself, but the experience was horrific. He never had to deal with what Zachy is dealing with — I wish Zach din’t have to either.

    • yeah, it was awful. i’m dreading the follow up appt with the doctor today. We’re gonna have a talk about ensuring this does NOT happen again.

  4. Poor little man! Reading this gave me chills, as Mary A said. I’ve had some bad-ish experiences with my little girl and hurts I cannot fix with a magic wand, but nothing that scared me like a penis problem would scare me. SO glad he’s feeling better.

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