I needed a few days before I could write about this. It was a scary, exhausting and very emotional few days for me and I found it hard to find the words to talk about it. But here it goes, I will give it my best shot.
A few days leading up to this my little wasn’t acting herself, she was sleepier than usual, and I kept feeling like she seemed warm to me, but every time I checked her temp, it was in the high 98’s or low 99’s. My mother and boyfriend both kept telling me not to worry, that she seemed fine to them. At first, I thought maybe she was just going through a growth spurt. I know babies can sleep more when they are growing, so I tried not to worry. Then she started sneezing, a lot, I wanted to attribute it to her getting used to all the allergens and different things in the air. She had been sneezing since she was born so again I tried not to worry.
Then she started coughing, I tried not to worry, but I started doing research and babies as small as she had no reason to cough. It wasn’t something I could explain away with a normal newborn thing. My suspicions that my precious baby was sick was starting to be confirmed. Then she started sounding congested when she would breathe sometimes, and I really started to worry. Her being all stuffed up was making it hard for her to nurse, I didn’t even realize it, but she was starting to become dehydrated. The final day before we went to the hospital she was lethargic and not at all herself. She didn’t eat often, even after 4 hours of not nursing she still didn’t want to wake up and eat. So I retook her temperature and found it was 100.4. Little ones under 8 weeks shouldn’t have any sort of fever, so I called her pediatrician, and he sent us to the hospital immediately.
When I took her, I knew she wasn’t feeling good, and I was concerned about her, but I didn’t realize how rough she was doing until the hospital’s pediatrician finally got in to see her. Let me preface this by saying the emergency room was horrible, we sat in our room after being triaged, for almost an hour without seeing a single person, not a nurse or a doctor. They left a not even 4-week old baby with a fever sitting in a room without one person checking on her. We even looked for a nurse or someone, but everyone was in the middle of something and had no time. Needless to say by the time the woman who takes your insurance came in I was livid. My precious baby needed care, and I was about ready to leave and go to another hospital. I was really starting to get concerned about her at that point. She was extremely lethargic, didn’t want to nurse and hard to rouse. I told the poor girl to forget the papers because I was about to walk out and go to another hospital.
They were neglecting my baby as far as I was concerned. Thankfully after my fit, a doctor finally came in assessed my precious little girl and quickly got the pediatric doctor down from the NICU to see her. After that she got immediate attention, the ER nurses were in to see her and tried to take blood and urine samples.
I say try because they weren’t used to working with babies and quickly realized they weren’t going to be able to start an IV, get blood or a urine sample. Thankfully they didn’t try too many times before the NICU nurses came down. With the help of the doctor, they got the IV started the blood drawn and a urine sample. I felt so bad for my baby girl she cried and slept intermittently throughout the whole process. You could tell she was totally exhausted and dehydrated, which was part of the reason they were having such a hard time getting her IV started. After all that she was admitted and we went upstairs to the NICU.
But even with the pediatric nurses and doctor being so wonderful and taking such good care of her it was all still so heartbreaking. I didn’t cry while they did all that work on her. I helped hold her still and comforted her as much as I could, it wasn’t until they took her out of the room to do the spinal tap that I finally lost it.
I cried I couldn’t keep it together anymore with her out of my sight. She was just so little, and the thought of losing her was breaking my heart. She had only been in my life a few short weeks, it hadn’t even been a whole year since I found out she was going to be a part of my life. But already she was such a profound part of it, I love her more then words can say. I was already planning a future with her in it, to me, she just had to be a part of it because that’s what I had expected. The thought of it going any other way was unbearable. With the help of my boyfriend, I was able to pull myself back together by the time she came back.
According to the doctors so far everything looked good, they were thinking it was possibly a respiratory virus but went ahead and gave her IV antibiotics to be safe. She needed to be on them and admitted for 48 hours from the time they had taken her cultures. At this point it was about 5am, so another two days at least in the hospital from that point on.
I sent my boyfriend home to be with my little guy when he woke up, my mother was watching him (an easy task at that point as he was sleeping). For the next few days, we juggled being at the hospital with the baby, caring for my little guy, making sure everyone ate and slept. Including my little one who is breastfed. I was a long and grueling few days where everyone got very little sleep.
They were also the scariest until my little one started to improve. I was terrified at the thought of losing this precious little person. Or having to go home to my 4 year old who already loved his little sister so much and having to explain why she wasn’t coming back. All the thoughts were just too horrible to consider, so I prayed, I prayed she would be okay. I prayed she would get healthy and come home with me soon.
Thankfully my prayers were answered, all the scary tests came back negative, no bacteria, no crazy diseases. My baby had the EnteroRhino Virus… which is basically a cold for an adult or toddler. But for my little girl, it put her in the hospital for days. Had I not noticed she was sick or let it go on too long things could have been a lot worse for my little one.
So this is my plea, from a mom who had to watch her precious little girl go through all of that. Friends, family, anyone involved in a newborns life. Don’t kiss the baby, wash your hands, don’t come to visit if you or anyone in your house is sick. I have never been a germaphobe mom, but I know everyone thinks I am, what with asking everyone to wash and getting pissed at anyone who kisses her. But I don’t care, I don’t know what got her sick, and from now on I am going to speak up. I will make you wash your hands before you hold her and if you kiss her you’re done there will be no more baby holding for you. Period, end of story, and that include grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. I hate to put my foot down, but until she’s a little bigger, it is just not happening. I do not want to go back to the hospital. I do not want my baby girl going through that again and I don’t want to go through that again.