On Thursday, I posted a picture on IG of me laying down with my 4 month old. She had been extra clingy the last few days. That particular night she just wanted to stay attached to my boob. I felt drained and while the sun was shining outside, I was held up in the room. I wasn’t necessarily complaining, but I was kind of bummed, because I wanted my freedom.
Fast forward only a few hours from that picture, and I was now worried because my baby wasn’t eating and appeared to be in pain. I decided that I would take her to the pediatricians office. When I arrived to see if they had appointments, the nurse at the front desk told me there weren’t any appointments available and that I should probably take her to the ER.
So I took her to the Children’s Hospital satellite ER in SE DC. We usually go there because it’s not a long wait and we are usually in & out. We arrived around 8:30a and after an Xray, catheter for urine collection, blood drawn and a physical exam, it was decided that the baby needed to be sent to Children’s Hospital (main campus) for observation, because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Do you know how hard it is to watch your infant be poked and prodded and screaming at the top of her lungs while staring in your face? We knew she probably had the stomach virus I had the previous week, but they agreed something else was going on because she was screaming in pain. So we waited 6+ hours for a transport to the hospital via ambulance. We couldn’t take her because they had already started the IV to administer antibiotics and fluid (she was dehydrated).
Pic: Baby being transported. The picture in the middle is the hospital admissions booklet. The two little girls are her big sisters!
At the hospital they did a stomach Xray to see if they saw anything like a blockage. When the new doctor came in the next day Saturday morning, she insisted the pain was from the stomach virus. I explained that the pain was not from the stomach virus, that it seemed to be localized to her back. But unfortunately, the doctor never arrived when the baby was having a bout of pain to see what I was talking about. Finally, around 11a, she had another bout of pain and I was crying and yelled to the nurse to hurry and get the doctor. When the doctor arrived, she realized that there was something else going on. I just sat there and cried as my baby cringed and screamed in pain. They ordered a sono of her kidneys and bladder and went back to check on her blood work and performed a urine analysis.
Finally the tests came back and she had a confirmed infection. Everything was coming together. They knew what they were fighting and they worked to help her. With pain medication and continued IV fluids, I noticed an improvement by Saturday evening. By Sunday she was eating again. They took her off the IV Sunday afternoon, and we watched and prayed.
She seemed to get back to normal by Sunday evening. It was such a relief and we were released that evening. I’ve never been so relieved!
This entire experience taught me a few things and reiterated a few things I already knew.
It taught me to mind my words and/or thoughts. Motherhood is tough. Life if tough. But complaining about it can make it worse. Although my comments on Thursday were in jest, I realize that it could have been the last picture of us snuggled so closely without doctors, medical equipment and pain meds in the equation.
I was reminded that it is IMPORTANT to have a great, supportive and PRAYING circle of family in your corner. I only shared with a few people that my baby was in the hospital, and the details along with it. My family (friends are considered family too) checked up on us the entire time. They prayed. They offered words of encouragement. They offered to come up to the hospital. It was just so helpful to be able to lean on the ones I love as we went through this scary experience. Of course my mother and inlaws were a HUGE support system for us.
The bigger thing that I was reminded of was to FIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD! As a parent, ONLY you know your child best. Don’t let the doctor’s tell you oh it’s nothing and try to lump all those symptoms into one diagnosis. When I think back, my daughter probably had the infection long before the stomach issues. She had small crying fits where she appeared to be in pain, but then it went away. She had a slight fever, but just as quick as it came, it went away. Had I acted on those symptoms earlier, we may have been able to avoid a 3 day hospital stay.
Although the doctors were extremely nice and patient, I really had to drive home my point with one that this was more than the stomach issue. It was at that moment, when she saw my daughter screaming in pain, that she realized it was more to the story.
This is not the first time I’ve had to fight for my child. In 2012, my oldest was having breathing issues, and they kept trying to dismiss it as a regular asthma attack. When they listened to her lungs, they didn’t hear wheezing and said she was good to go home. But my child said she felt like an elephant was on her chest. I demanded that someone look into it and she ended up in the hospital for 1 week because of a respiratory infection.
I don’t isolate that issue to that one hospital. I think it happens everywhere. You have to advocate for your child, because these doctors hear the same stories from parents, and assume it’s all the same. When you advocate, they will listen. If they don’t listen, pack them up and take them somewhere that they will.
The nurses and doctors were EXCELLENT in the hospital. They were so helpful. Ashley, a male Filipino nurse, really went above and beyond. He listened to me. He was patient when I didn’t remember the times the baby ate or pooped. He was just so nice to me and my family, and I was thankful to have him on my case. Nurse Amy (night shift) was also wonderful. I was freezing in the room, sleeping on the pullout couch, and she was so concerned. She brought lots of blankets and stuff to make sure I was comfortable. It definitely helped!
Hug your babies parents!! Hug them really tight!