A mama’s gut feeling should never be ignored. It is an amazing thing.
The first time I experienced strong Mama’s gut was when my oldest was four months old. At that time, we had already established a pretty easy routine. Eat. Play. Sleep. Repeat. She was a fairly easy, and very happy little girl.
One day in early March, she woke up a little fussy. It was odd for her, but I didn’t think much of it. Around noon though, I began to worry when she developed a fever. Being a first time Mama, I didn’t hesitate for a second and called the nurses line right away. They directed me to treat her fever with some Tylenol, but if it her temp were to get any higher, I was to call right back.
As the afternoon progressed, her fever declined a bit but she began to act even more strange. She was extremely sleepy and abnormally quiet. She also wouldn’t nurse which was really uncharacteristic for my milk-aholic baby.
My mommy radar was blasting. I couldn’t kick the feeling that something was majorly wrong. I decided to see if I could lift her spirits a little bit by giving her a bath. At four months old, she LOVED her baths. She usually was all kicks, smiles, and laughter.
But that afternoon, she fell asleep in the tub, and I. LOST. IT.
I knew deep down in the pit of my tummy that my little girl was sick.
I called the nurses line again, and they had the foresight to ask to hear her breathe into the phone. They listened to her for about thirty seconds before they told us to get her to the nearest E.R. as fast as possible. Her breathing was definitely off.
After what seemed like hours waiting at the hospital for the doctor to finally come and see our sweet little baby, the doctor nonchalantly walked in and gave us all a once over. That once over was a familiar one that I had already grown accustomed to receiving as a young mom (I was 21). I am sure he assumed that we were clueless, inexperienced parents, and he thought that all we really needed was some lessons in parenting.
His body language said as much. Casually he took a look at her chart and ever so briefly listened to her breathe.
“What she needs is just some Tylenol. It’s a probably just a virus that needs to run it’s course, she is fine, and she will feel better in a few days.”
He started to get up to go…
The hair was already up on the back on my neck and I was trying not to growl at this doctor. His diagnosis wasn’t good enough for me and I told him as much.
I argued with him that I thought something else was off, while my surprised husband watched his normally quiet wife turn all Mama bear. It was probably quite the show.
“…well we could give her an x-ray to rule out pneumonia …but it isn’t a comfortable test for a little one…I don’t recommend it…,” was his clipped response.
“Do it.” was my answer. At this point my mommy gut was screaming.
I am sure the doc thought that I had gone off the deep end.
And maybe I had. But I didn’t care.
He was right. It wasn’t a comfortable test. In order to take the x-rays, they had to stick her in this tube-like contraption with her arms over her head, while she screamed in confusion and fear. It was awful.
I wasn’t surprised though when the doctor came back in moments later and confirmed what I already knew.
She was sick. She had double pneumonia.
I was never more glad in my life to be right about something. I shudder to think of what would have happened if I ignored my mommy gut and brought her home without doing the x-ray. She didn’t need Tylenol. She needed antibiotics. And she needed them ASAP.
Sometimes Mama knows best.
Over the years I have experienced countless more mommy gut reactions that have prevented harm to my children.
Caleb was nine months old when he snuck a piece of peanut butter sandwich in his mouth before nap time. Thinking nothing of it, I tucked him in for the afternoon, only to be overtaken by mommy gut ten minutes later. When I walked into his room, he had hives all over his face and body. Thus, beginning a life of allergy testing, epi-pens and extreme caution.
Years later, I found our youngest child not once, but twice, as an infant choking on her own vomit in her bassinet. It was only that nagging gut feeling that made me go in and check in on her. I am so thankful that I did. It took several doctors appointments to discover that she had silent reflux and needed to be laid down in a special way and watched carefully after eating. My mommy gut saved her life.
Which is the reason why today I trust that gut feeling, even over logic. It annoys my kids sometimes, especially if it interferes with their fun but I don’t care. I’d rather ere on the side of caution than live with mama guilt and regret.
Am I alone in this? Who else has experienced Mama Gut? I want to hear your stories.