Baby’s First Fever

Adelaide had her first fever this week. Thursday night she woke crying around 11:30pm. It wasn’t a little fussy, “I lost my pacifier” cry. Those usually just take a minute and she settles in and puts herself back to sleep. This was a full-on “I’m hungry” or “I’m completely upset” cry. I went in and picked her up and her little body was on fire. It’s funny, I always thought it was strange when parents felt your forehead to see if you had a fever. I always wondered how they could tell. Well, it’s no mystery. I could easily tell she had a fever just by holding her in my arms. I nursed her until she calmed, and then I took her temperature.

The next two days, Tylenol worked for bringing the temperature down. We weren’t sure what to make of it since she still had energy and acted basically fine. We thought she was getting better so we went ahead with our plans to make a day trip to NYC on Sunday – baby’s first time in the Big Apple. We had a great day. Adelaide was maybe a little fussier than usual, and while at one point we thought she felt a little hot, it wasn’t anything a little Tylenol didn’t get rid of. We just wrote it off to teething. Then, when we returned to Philly that night and I woke Adelaide and got her out of the car, I knew the fever was back up. I felt bad for going on our trip. I guess we should have stayed home.

That night I emailed my supervisors to tell them I wouldn’t be coming in on Monday. Even if Adelaide woke without a fever, she needed to be fever-free for 24-hours before going back to daycare. The next morning I called the pediatrician. The nurse asked me several questions about her appetite, wet diapers and stools, whether she had a rash or had been pulling at her ears. My answers didn’t cause an alarm that we needed to be seen immediately, but she said that any time an infant has a fever for five days they like to see them. “If she still has a fever when she wakes in the morning, bring her in.”

Tuesday morning the fever was gone. Tim stays home with Adelaide on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so he was planning to be home with her anyway. That afternoon a rash developed on her back and torso. Tim had class that night so in our “switch off” of baby duty, he forgot to mention it  to me. Tim and my reactions to this rash were very different. I discovered the rash on my own and knowing she had just come off of a four-day fever, I immediately went to the Internet to try and figure out what was going on. I even tried calling the pediatrician, but their office had closed for the day.

Playing Dr. Mom I have diagnosed Adelaide with Roseola. I’m almost positive this is what she has. It is very common between 6 and 24 months, a virus characteristic of a high fever and then a rash just after the fever breaks. Symptoms: Fatigue? Check. Irritability? Check. Mild diarrhea? Check. Decreased appetite? Check.

That’s it. That totally describes her! And says, “What is most striking is that the child seems so well despite having a high fever.” The rash will take a few days to completely disappear, but there is no treatment other than Tylenol to help bring the fever down. I’m relieved to have figured out what was wrong, and for it to have been something common and fairly benign. I also think Adelaide had a mild case. We’re lucky to have made it this long for baby’s first fever.

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