I think the most haunting noise in all the world, the one that will stick with you and ring in your ears forever is that of crying babies. The night we spent in the pediatrics unit was a night that will be in my ears forever. My own daughter covered in tubes sleeping peacefully, nursing earnestly and cuddling so gently- the other babies, not. A chorus of heartbreak that left me crying and praying all night long.
Monday evening I felt like Ever was warm. Monday middle of the night I knew she was too warm. 4am I took her temp and found it to be at an alarming 101.5 (no biggie for a toddler but a huge deal in a newborn. The “come in immediately temp” for a newborn is 100.4). We called the advice line and were told to go to the ER immediately.
I have been to the ER once in my life. When I was four, I have one foggy memory and nothing else. Thank God.
Six hours, one great nurse and one horrible one, one blood draw, one UA bag, one Tylenol suppository, one IV with fluids, numerous declines of a catheter- spinal tap- gratuitous weighing, UA bags and vitals checks and a demand for the NICU nurses to be our the only ones to touch our two week old with a needle. . . and we were placed in a bed in the Pediatrics Unit.
We called our midwife, a naturopath and talked with friends who are smarter than us. We prayed. And prayed and prayed. I sobbed and felt lower than ever.
Fevers in babies can mean many things. In our case they were worried it meant a blood infection from something she could have picked up coming through the birth canal. Something very dangerous or fatal. The routine is to keep you on antibiotics regardless of the results of all of the testing that they do until they have grown the blood cultures enough to be able to determine if there is something wrong or if it is just a virus (we have all had a pretty rough cold this past week).
Long story short (sorry, this is already long)- we stayed one night, a total of 48 hours and left “against doctors orders” but the Pediatrician on-call was supportive and understanding of us leaving. He gave us lots of instructions of what to do if _______ and actually complimented us on our researching, knowledge and desire to get our daughter to the safest environment we could (re: not a place full of sick babies).
Our ER experience was horrible. But our hospital experience was surprisingly good. They were supportive of me holding Ever while they did her vitals (the ones we didn’t decline), sleeping in bed with her and declining the bassinet or crib that is standard, nursing her on demand and without record and they seemed annoyed but not mean when we declined pretty much everything.
We are still in a scary place. Watching her to be sure that everything she is doing is “her normal” (spitting up normally, eating regularly, not extra tired or extra fussy, regular diapers, etc.) and not anything that we should be alarmed by. Her labs so far are all just fine. Her blood culture was growing Staph but we/they are 99% sure it is just a skin contaminate. The worst of this is the sleep deprivation (I have slept a broken six hours in the past four days but can’t seem to calm myself enough to actually sleep when I can… I just keep watching her to be sure she’s OK) and the anxiety (“did she always cry this much? has she been nursing normally? what is normal when you have only known someone for 2 weeks??).
Today I have been on my own with both girls… an adventure and hard, filled with guilt for what I can’t give to both of them and thankfulness for what I can and where we are- Home.