Lessons Learned From A Tough Weekend Ordeal

Lessons Learned From A Tough Weekend Ordeal | Growing Up Herbal | Infection, antibiotics, and hospitalization with an infant and a natural mama. No fun!

Friday evening, my 11-month-old ended up in the emergency room and was eventually admitted to the children’s hospital.

My mama’s heart ached because my baby was sick, and I wasn’t in control. My herbalist’s heart ached because we were taking the less preferred road to recovery.

Now, standing on the other side looking back, I can see a bit more clearly. I can see where I could have done things differently. I have learned a few lessons. Thankfully, God was merciful to me, and the lessons were gentle lessons. Today, I want to share them with you so you can learn with me, and hopefully, not have to be taught them yourself.

The Story

Lessons Learned From A Tough Weekend Ordeal | Growing Up Herbal | Infection, antibiotics, and hospitalization with an infant and a natural mama. No fun!

Long story short, my little man developed a fever that continued to get higher over a 24-hour period. When I finally opted for medications to reduce his fever, they didn’t work too well. Soon after that, I came across the source of the fever. His left leg was red, hot, and swollen. He had “cellulitis,” an infection of the tissue.

Cellulitis is usually caused by a bug bite, cut or scrape, ingrown hair, or something similar that gets infected. Most times, these little abrasions are no big deal, but sometimes, they can become very serious. The infection can spread into the blood resulting in a systemic infection, and sometimes, you have to have tissue cut away or a whole limb removed. Worst case scenario of course, but still, nothing I wanted to mess with.

I started to approach the situation with some anti-bacterial things like herbs and essential oils, but his fever kept getting higher, he kept getting more lethargic and fussy, he was getting dehydrated from the fever and because he didn’t want to drink anything, and I kept stressing that this was more than I should handle alone. So I decided to take him to the doctor, which is something we rarely need to do. In fact, I don’t think my kids have ever been to the doctor for being sick.

Anyway, the doctor’s office was closed due to the weekend, and all urgent-care clinics were closed because it was late so we ended up at the ER, which was the LAST place I wanted to be. By the time we got there, his temperature was about 104.5, and the meds I’d given him 2 hours before weren’t helping.

After 6 hours in the ER, an IV, fluids, and lots of tests later, we were on our way to the children’s hospital for some serious IV antibiotic therapy.

This was WAY more than I had anticipated. Thank goodness my steady-man hubbie was there with me because I was no longer in control, and I was feeling really overwhelmed by the whole situation.

“How did we end up here?” “Did I do the right thing?” “How did he get this in the first place?” — These were all questions I was asking myself.

After three days in the hospital, and my tiny baby pumped full of strong antibiotics, we were on our way home with an infant that was way better than when we’d come in.

I’m thankful. I’m grateful. I’m wiser.

Lessons Learned


Lesson #1 –  Be Prepared

You know, if I’m honest with myself, I feel like I could have kept all this from happening. Maybe. Maybe not. But I could have, at least, been better prepared.

What I needed was a strong antibacterial herbal tincture. I had a mild immune-supportive tincture which is a great start. These are typically used when a cold or the flu is going around and you want to help your body stay strong so you don’t get sick. My guy was already sick. What I needed was something to help his body fight hard against what was making him sick — something that had some action against the actual microbes themselves. A tincture is the quickest way to get the beneficial properties of herbs into your body, and they’re great to use when you’re sick and don’t feel like taking pills or drinking tea.

However, I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have anything like this made, and a tincture takes around 2-6 weeks to make. At this point, it was too late to worry about it.

Lesson learned: Be prepared with things you may not ever need.

Lesson #2 – Get On The Ball

This goes along with Lesson #1. If I’d been prepared and had my tincture made, then when he got the fever the first day, I could have started giving it to him. No waiting to see if the fever would pass on its own. If I’d had it, I should have just started giving it to him. It’s not going to hurt. Herbs are good for our bodies. God gave them to us for nutrition and for wellness.

Also, as soon as I saw a cut, scrape, or scratch, I should have smeared some good anti-bacterial herbal salve on it to lessen the chance of it getting infected. I’m not one of those moms that slather their kid in Neosporin constantly. I mean, my kids are getting bumps and bruises all the time. They’re boys, and they play hard. We live in the country. I’m not germ-a-phobic, but I may be now!

Lesson learned: Take action before you NEED to take action.

Lesson #3 – Don’t Second Guess Yourself

This one is important. I’m awful about second guessing myself. Always wondering if I made the right decision. I think as parents, we all struggle with this. We want to do what’s best for our kids, but we have to make a decision and go with it. We’re not always going to make the right one, but that’s life. That’s where the saying “live and learn” comes from.

I made the decision that we needed something extra than what nature could provide us with, at least, I needed something a little extra — to make me feel better by knowing I had a back up in case he didn’t get better with what I was doing. So I made the decision to get antibiotics.

Although once we got to the hospital and there was no turning back or saying, “I change my mind,” I still needed to not second guess myself. I made a decision that I felt was in the best interest of my child, and I was going to make the best out of a less than ideal situation.

Lesson learned: Life isn’t always going to go your way. Suck it up and make the best of it. Lemonade out lemons, or so they say.

In The End…

I’m glad that I’ve chosen to use natural preparations as my first line of defense. I’m continually learning, growing, and becoming more confident in this area. I’m also grateful to have hospitals, medical personnel, and medication available to us when we need it. I’m glad that I’m not too proud of being “all-natural” or an “herbalist” to seek help from a doctor when I know I need it. But most of all, I’m happy that my baby is happy, healthy, and home.

Have you ever had a similar experience in your family? What lessons did you learn? Share with me in the comments below!
  1. Tami says:

    So glad everything worked out well. Praying that your little one continues to get better. I think we would all love that antibiotic tincture also when you come up with it. I know always tend towards the herbal side first as well..thanks for all your lessons learned today! Blessings! 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      Thank you Tami! I’ll definitely keep that in mind. Be sure you’re signed up to the newsletter to stay up-to-date on my new products! That’s where I’ll talk about it first!! Thanks for your comment!

  2. Lisa says:

    I’m glad that everything turned out ok! I’ve never had a problem when my boys were infants, but I can imagine the pain that you went through.

    I take for granted that I can give my kids Tylenol, so I never thought about an alternative. Or a tincture (whatever that is). I’ll be looking out for that!

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks Lisa! I was like you before I learned about the effects of fever reducers like Tylenol on your body. I have family members who go for those sorts of things every time their kids have a fever or an ache, and I just cringe. That’s so much medicine in their bodies when it doesn’t have to be. I’ll still use them if I need to, but it definitely pays to learn about alternatives. Even doctors are now realizing how overused these products are. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Mandy Post Maddocks says:

    These things always seem to happen on a weekend! When my son was 6 months old he got croop. With my other boys I was always able to have them breath in steam and then rush out into the cold outside air and this would open up their airway. This was not the case this time in the middle of the night. I took him to the ER because his breathing was so labored. They gave him a nebulizer treatment and I was really not comfortable with the steroid they gave him. The Dr. just laughed at my apprehension like their was no alternative whatsoever. The next time I saw my naturopathic Dr. she gave me a homeopathic remedy to have on hand so now I am prepared for the next time.

    • Meagan says:

      Yes… it does always seem to happen when it’s harder to get in to see a family doctor so the ER is the only option. For us… it was so late we couldn’t even get into a quick care clinic. Anyway… glad you have something to use now in case it ever happens again, and at least we both now know what other options there are out there in both of these situations. Thanks for your comment Mandy!

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  5. Sarah D. says:

    Thank you for this post. Our oldest (5yo son) came down with something a couple weeks ago and I started giving him some natural remedies I’d been learning about. Then, he got a fever and I kept trying to figure out what I needed to do for him naturally. Since I’m still getting used to “natural remedies”, I decided to give him some tylenol for the fever. Thankfully, it worked. At bedtime, I gave him some triaminic for his cough so we could all sleep. I used these “normal” things in combination with a vaporizer, vapor rub, garlic oil on the feet, and some diffused lavender oil in the room (and a few other things). They must have all worked together well, because he was himself in about 24 hours (so only a couple doses of the drugs)! At first, I felt like I had “failed” because I had to use the drugs. But, I realized that God wants me to do what’s best for my children with the knowledge I have. While I’m still learning about “natural” things, it’s okay to use what I know until I can learn another way. =)

    • Meagan says:

      Definitely Sarah! You’re being wise by giving things a try, but knowing when you’re in over your head. Certain things are no big deal to some people, but to others they’re a very big deal. Just trying things out is a start… a good step in the right direction. The more you deal with it, and with children and fevers you’ll get plenty of opportunities, the more confident you’ll become in it. Be sure to search for “fevers” on my site and read up on them and definitely checkout my new e-guide – Treating Fevers Naturally. Hopefully you’ll continue to learn what to do so you feel more confident in your kiddo and yourself. Don’t give up, and I’m glad you didn’t beat yourself up over giving him the meds. Medicine is a wonderful blessing… we just don’t want to abuse it. Thanks for sharing with me!

  6. Erin says:

    Did you ever create/find a good antibiotic tincture? If so, do you have recommendations?

    • Meagan says:

      As I continue to learn about herbs I’ve found that there are different herbs for different uses. A great book for learning how to use antibacterial herbs is Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Buhner. I highly recommend it. For the situation I described in this post, I wish I’d had goldenseal tincture on hand. I recently learned that it is a better antibacterial herb for the GI tract and for skin, but not for systemic infections. Since this was a skin issue we were dealing with, it would have been nice to have that on hand. Also, essential oils would have worked really well too, but at the time this happened, I didn’t know a whole lot about EOs.

  7. Erin C. says:

    Thank you for the link to the herbal antibiotic book! I downloaded the Kindle version just now!

  8. Shenna says:

    I hope your little man is feeling better soon! I won’t lie… I was at first confused to read this post. But then I was so thankful that you wrote it. I have been trying to learn about herbs over the last year or two. I am always nervous that I am using them when I should be taking the kids to the doctors. I really appreciate your frankness and honesty about bringing your son to the doctors for antibiotics. I whole-heartedly agree that if you can avoid medication and use something natural, that it the best route. However, like you said, when you feel “in over your head”, it’s not failing to go see the doctor. Thank you for your post.

    • Meagan says:

      Thanks for your comment Shenna. I’ve been in that place too… where someone who (in my eyes) was a great natural mama and did all the right things for her family. I looked up to her and wanted to learn from her… to model myself after her. When she ended up taking meds for a particular situation I was a bit disappointed because I thought she could handle anything naturally. Since then I’ve learned of many natural minded people, herbalists even, who take meds when they need them. This doesn’t erase all the work they’ve done to be “natural”.

      It’s humbled me in a sense. I’ve learned that I’m not God… I can’t control situations, and that herbs are not powerful, potent medicines. I’ve learned that modern meds are great gifts that need to be respected. They have their place in our lives. I’ve learned that prevention is key, and when using herbs, early action is a must! I’ve learned to be prepared, and to have a plan for things… even if I’ll never need that plan. I’ve grown so much as a mom and an herbalist in the last two years. Thankfully we’ve not needed any meds (especially antibiotics) since then. This experience taught me so much.

      With all that being said, I think common sense and knowing your limitations is a huge part of using herbs… especially with kids because you can’t feel what they feel. You have to know those big warning signs to look for (like the lethargy and dehydration in my case here). You have to know where your comfort ends and fear begins (like seeing the huge red patch of skin and the high fever). There’s a balance. For me, the right choice was the meds, and yes, I still hate to admit that. I’d like to be super-mom and a great herbalist who can handle it all, but I don’t know that I’ll never be that. That takes time and experience.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment. I’m sure you will find that balance herb/med with your own children.

  9. Anne says:

    Thanks for sharing! So now what tincture do you plan to make?

    • Meagan says:

      Well this incident was just over 2 years ago. Since then I’ve kept echinacea root tincture on hand as it’s a great immune booster and it’s considered an herbal antibiotic. I use it internally when my kids are sick to really boost their immune systems, and I also keep a goldenseal tincture as well to use on wounds that need some stronger action. There are a lot of herbs that can help with infections so it’s nice to have several different options. So far we’re doing great as we’ve not had any antibiotics in the family since!

  10. Elena Crossman says:

    Dear Meagan. So sorry you had to go through this trial. Thank you for being a guiding light for so many of us. These experiences are our teachers and thank you for sharing the lessons.

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