It's approaching 4 am. I've been awake off and on all night - mostly on since about 2:30. I hear a thud and then shuffling, unsteady footsteps on the floor upstairs. Someone's up, and something sounds wrong.
Seconds later, before I can even heave myself to my left side and get out of the bed, I hear crying. "Mommy," she says, "Mommy, I'm sick." She crawls into bed with me, warm as toast. Too warm. 101 warm.
Tylenol, of course, and some water. We make a cozy nest on the couch so that BJ can go back to sleep and we won't wake Claire.
"Shhhh... I'm here, I'll stay with you."
It's quiet, and I can feel her relax into me. Half an hour later, I feel the fever break, and hear her breathing change from a fast pant to the comfortable pace that indicates a normal body temperature. I relax a bit and try to get comfortable enough, half sitting, to sleep.
I close my eyes and think about how weird it is that I feel most like a "real mother" when my kids are sick - when I can offer them the unique comfort of my body - my cold hands on their warm foreheads, a gentle backrub, a cuddle. I wonder if it's weird that a part of me enjoys these moments, even as my heart breaks over their discomfort. I wonder if it's strange to be the tiniest bit grateful for the excuse to slow down, clear the calendar, and just be quietly together in our jammies watching cartoons and sipping tea for a day or two.
She shifts and moans a little in her sleep, and even though I know she won't hear me, I whisper, "It's ok, Mommy's here."
Baby update: At 32 weeks I've gained only 15 pounds (4 of those in the last week - time to lay off the cheese balls!). Blood pressure was awesome. Baby's heart rate was around 130. I had blood drawn a couple of days ago to check my liver, and the hepatic panel looked great. The bile salts test won't be back for a few more days. Everything looks awesome, and the anxiety is a lot better than it was before.