So you might notice that this is the fourth new post today. We are a little backed up over here because we have had a bad few days.
On Tuesday morning, Hazel and I were at our Neurotic Mothers Group. She had her bottle, we played on the floor for a little while and she fell asleep as she usually does. After group, a bunch of us went out for lunch. Hazel slept in her car seat under the table, but I had a hard time waking her up to eat. She only took half of her bottle after I forced it on her. We left to come home where she continued to sleep on my chest all afternoon. She was a bit groggy, but I assumed that it was from all of the excitement from the party on Sunday. Around 4:30, I had to wake her again for a feeding but this time I found her to be listless and very difficult to wake. I thought she felt warm, but she had been sleeping on my chest for hours. When I took her temperature, it was 101.1 so I called the pediatrician.
We go to the Emergency Department and the triage nurse took her temp. It was almost 103 at this point and she was on fire and totally lethargic. I could feel the heat radiating off of her little head. They took us in back to an exam, and the next few hours were some of the most painful of my life. First, they put a catheter in to get a urine sample. I stood on the other side of the room and cried while three nurses held my screaming baby down. Then, they needed to put in a heparin block, but baby veins aren't the easiest to poke, so it took three tries before they were able to get a line into her. They took some blood. I cried more.
Then, they told me that they needed to do a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. My stomach turned. We had to leave the room for that one, but we stood outside with our ears pressed against the door. She screamed and screamed and I paced the hall wringing my hands and crying. After a few minutes we could go back in. The nurse said, "She was so good and she didn't cry a bit." I hated her for lying to me. They told me that it doesn't hurt babies and I don't buy that for a second.
While we waited for the results, Hazel slept and fussed. She did not like the hep block in the back of the paw that she likes to chew on. The splint they put on her to keep her hand stable kept hitting her in the face when she would try to soothe herself. Finally, some results came back; her spinal fluid was negative for meningitis, but her white blood cell count was low and they would have to admit her to the hospital for at least two days.
I'm not even going to write about how scared and sad we were. I'm not even going write about the Big Fears that were running through both of our heads. All of the terrifying possibilities that we and so many other parents have had to face at this point are things that I can't even speak about with Jamie in our most private moments. I can't even let the words hit air. To hear Hazel scream like that hurt my body. I could feel myself falling apart. I was nothing but a seething bag of cortisol and helplessness.
The pediatric unit is depressing for a lot of reasons, but the thing I hated most about it was the stupid cartoons everywhere. The Pooh wallpaper border and the cheap Disney decals on the window of an otherwise typical dingy hospital room were pathetic and cloying. Hazel was hooked up to a bunch of monitors and received some antibiotics through her hep block. She had a Tylenol suppository By now it was 2am and we were tired. We slept.
For a day and a half her fever came and went. All of her cultures were coming back negative, so they were thinking that it must be a viral infection. We kept giving her Tylenol to keep her temperature down. She was fussy, cranky, scared, tired, clingy, needy, and hungry. Jamie and I took turns staying with her so we could go home to shower and walk the dogs (who were a total heartbroken wreck after we left them alone for so long). Last night her fever seemed to break and didn't come back. She started to coo and smile again, so Jamie stayed at home and I slept in the hospital. This morning the hospitalist and her pediatrician who came to visit said that she seemed to be doing well enough to go home. We were discharged this afternoon.
So here we are back at home. Hazel is still quite fussy and will only lay on mamas chest, but she isn't hot anymore and has been eating and resting. I gave her a bath and a massage with some chamomile, tangerine and sweet orange essential oils. It looks like she picked something up at her party on Sunday. We are so happy that this turned out to be a relatively minor bug when it could have been the end of our world. The hospital was fantastic, the staff was awesome, and Hazel was so brave. Everyone said so.
A HUGE shout-out to our good friend Corleigh, who brought Jamie and I our favorite Thai food in the hospital and coffee and bagels this morning. It was so nice to have yummy food, but even nicer to have the company. Thank-you Jillian, Janel, Molly and Natalie, too for your encouraging messages and offers of help. Hazel is lucky to have such an awesome group of extended-family aunties. We love you all.