A Mother’s Embrace…Gwendolyn Has a “Bug”

March 23, 2011 by Victoria Strong

This is what we did today.

What's more is Gwendolyn demanded it.

In her non-verbal way she let me know she needed snuggles. She needed to hear my heart beat in her ear. She needed my warmth. She needed my comfort. She needed her mother's embrace.

And then she fell asleep.

And I cried.

My heart smiled. And I wanted to freeze time.

It's not that this is entirely new. I snuggle with Gwendolyn every day. But this is the first time she told me she needed me. And it made me think of the times when I couldn't hold her. Two weeks after learning of Gwendolyn's SMA diagnosis she was hospitalized for a month at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital/Stanford. She was six months old and she was suddenly hooked up to a million machines -- and she was weak. She choked every time I tried to hold her. And I was scared...overwhelmed...devastated. I used to climb into the hospital crib to wrap my arms around her and fall asleep next to her -- I was going to snuggle her no matter what -- but picking her up to hold her in my arms had become a scary experience instead of a comforting one. I will never forget a young nurse who made me/helped me get over my fears. She acknowledged that Yes it is different now, but she needs you and you need her. And she helped me learn new ways to hold Gwendolyn so she was supported and wouldn't choke. She propped pillows all around me and on my lap and she put Gwendolyn in my arms. And I cried. She then made me/helped me do it on my own reminding me that You are going to do this at home, so you need to get your confidence up now. And she was right. All of it.

Holding Gwendolyn today, having her fall asleep in my arms made me so grateful for that nurse. It made me hope there are others like her helping scared mothers embrace their child -- regardless of machines and tubes and cords -- because there is nothing better in the whole world.

And why is Gwendolyn demanding snuggles? She feels lousy. Yesterday she woke up not quite right. And as the day progressed she was clearly fighting something. The poor little sweetie was exhausted and once she fell asleep for her nap her numbers started changing -- not what we wanted to see: oxygen down, heart rate up. And then she spiked a fever -- and Gwendolyn never gets a fever -- ever. We called her pediatrician right away and "bagged her" to collect a urine sample. Because this came on so suddenly we were pretty sure it was a urinary tract infection or UTI -- a relatively minor thing that can be treated with antibiotics at home. She's had a few of these in the past and they definitely exhaust her, but they don't impact her respiratorily so in the SMA world they are no big deal. But when we took her in to see her doctor the immediate urine analysis came back normal. They are still doing a culture on it, but the UTI seems unlikely now.

The huge really good news is her secretions are normal -- not thick, no color changes -- so we are hoping this isn't a respiratory issue. Dr. A said there are quite a few "bugs" going around right now -- stomach bugs, flu bugs, 24-hour bugs... bugs. Yuck. So Gwendolyn officially has a "bug" -- we don't yet know what type or exactly what direction this is going. We got her fever down with Tylenol and Motrin and once that was gone she had more energy and perked up a bit, but she had a low fever again this morning. She didn't sleep that well last night, no fever, but restless. So...we are watching and hoping this "bug" is on it's way out...but worried.

Today is an official "Movie and Jammie Day!" And a day filled with snuggles -- lots and lots of them.

Talk About It

What an absolutely beautiful post and picture, Victoria.
Posted by Margaret on 2011-03-23 14:30:52
oh dear! I will send some healing vibes her way! I was ill quite a bit when I was a child- my Mom would come in to comfort me, and tell me "Give it to the birds!".. you tell sweet Gwendolyn to give it to the birds too! smile
Posted by Jennifer Foster on 2011-03-23 14:34:41
I hope your little sweetie feels better soon! Big hugs to all of you! We've been battling a yucky bug at our house all week too and although I feel lousy, I have really been enjoying and taking in all the snuggle time Camille has been wanting from me lately. I can barely talk, but she begs me to sing and rock her to bed each night. I love that we as mothers can always make them feel better smile
Posted by Kacie Jean on 2011-03-23 14:37:56
Thinking of you, sending you big hugs and some healing vibes your way!! Love Em
Posted by Emma on 2011-03-23 14:45:05
Be gone bug! Heres hoping Gwendolyn is feeling better and Im sure her moms loving embrace is going to do this. Powerful prayers and positive vibes coming your way guys Stephen
Posted by stephen taylor on 2011-03-23 14:51:53
Sending strength, love, hugs and healing energy your way. I hate that G isn't feeling well but find comfort knowing she is breathing clear. Stay strong and enjoy those snuggles!
Posted by Jaime Gooden on 2011-03-23 15:02:00
Hope you feel better real soon baby. Mom hang in there. Praying for this bug to go away Claudia
Posted by claudia sampson on 2011-03-23 15:31:04
nothing better than a snuggle from mommy or daddy.....that love is irreplacable and Miss G knows it....hopefully this bug is going byebye soon enough....but not those can never have enough snuggles.....sending our hugs and snuggles your way! be well, Lisa and family smile p.s. that picture needs a priceless and beautiful! smile
Posted by lisa prokopetz on 2011-03-23 15:36:31
Get well soon G, we love you!
Posted by Laurie on 2011-03-23 15:36:59
Thinking of you!
Posted by Ildi Palmer on 2011-03-23 15:37:59
We are thinking about you guys and sending healthy hugs to G. Hope it is just something minor that goes away very soon. She is such a tough little girl and seems to have superpowers against sickness. She'll beat this.
Posted by Getty Owl on 2011-03-23 16:00:48
Have a bug floating around these parts as well.Miss Z is down and out.And there I was getting so braggy that we had missed the worst of things this year and I suppose we have but seems like this one is holding on hard. A bug for Zoey isn't the same as a bug for Gwendolyn,I sure know that, and so we will send out prayers for quick healing and and for the happy Miss G to return.Only up part,is the snuggles,for sure... keep those around though! I remember when Zoey was in the NICU for her first 3 months and she was hooked up to everything imaginable,intubated and all and one day,one of our favorite nurses asked if I wanted to hold her.Up until that point we just stood over her,day and night.That moment,I will never forget,for it took alot of people and moving and situating to make it happen but for one brief moment,i felt like a normal mom just holding her baby.For just one amazing,brief moment. Love to you all.
Posted by Zoey's mom on 2011-03-23 16:32:54
Victoria, you are already giving Gwendolyn the best medicine of all...your love. Hope the princess gets better real soon!
Posted by amanda mcclain on 2011-03-23 17:47:48
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Posted by Mari on 2011-03-23 18:17:12
What a beautiful photo. Sending you lots of love. xo
Posted by Cheryl on 2011-03-23 18:20:46
I hope that Miss G feels better soon. And, my heart is with yours.
Posted by Audra on 2011-03-23 18:25:24
Feel better soon Gwendolyn and enjoy those snuggles Victoria. They are so special!!
Posted by Kristen on 2011-03-23 18:30:58
We'll be sending out some prayers from Ohio to your Super Princess Gwendolyn! So sad to see her down and out. Wonderful getting to have that special time when you can just cuddle up. Has Gwendolyn ever watched old Shirley DVD's? Our kids all like them but Kendall has been just smitten with them lately. Shirley is such a silly liitle girl. Big hugs heading west! Penny
Posted by Penny on 2011-03-23 19:25:21
Victoria, i hope the princess gets better soon, hugs and kisses for her smile
Posted by Marcela Vallarino on 2011-03-23 21:25:14
Sending so much love to all of you and positive, healthy thoughts and energy to our sweetie pie. snuggles are so healing....
Posted by Sheri on 2011-03-23 23:15:43
I love these pics, and this post is so precious. Prayers that G feels better soon. Hugs and kisses from Dakin too!!!,
Posted by Devon on 2011-03-24 06:07:49
Such a sweet picture...We pray for G. every night. You two are great parents
Posted by Hillary on 2011-03-24 06:16:53
Many prayers for sweet G! Love you guys
Posted by Sarah Turnbull on 2011-03-24 07:49:36
We are sending prayers your way. There is nothing quite like the snuggle from mom; may your embrace be of comfort to you both.
Posted by Holly on 2011-03-24 09:31:24
This is so sweet. Pure love. Wonder if you could find that nurse?? This sounds like a pretty typical preschooler to me: picking up bugs at school from engaging and playing with the other kiddos smile Wishing Gwendolyn a speedy recovery and many more snuggles between you two !!!
Posted by Dani G on 2011-03-24 20:28:35
I remember just wanting snuggles when i was a child and ill. The memories of being comfoted by my mom suggling with me have always stayed with me, and in turn i snuggled my kids when they were sick. The pic. of you both is lovely. I wish Miss G. a speedy recovery and will keep you all close at heart and in my prayers. love to you all Carol
Posted by Carol on 2011-03-24 22:19:52
I have to stop reading these beautiful posts at work. I always wind up crying. What a strong, beautiful, amazing little girl who knows when to turn to her mommy for extra cuddles. Happy to read she's already doing better. XO, Leigh
Posted by Leigh on 2011-03-25 09:34:48
I wondered where you guys were at school yesterday. I was thinking of little "G" all day. Hugs to her and her rockstar parents. Love you. If you need ANYTHING please don't hessitate to ask : ) xo
Posted by Terri on 2011-03-25 13:42:03

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