Fevers, Hospitals, and more Sleep Deprivation

This last weekend was… interesting.

Do you know what happens when a baby under a month old gets a fever? Nothing good.

Some of Wednesday and all of Thursday, Lulu felt warm to me. But our air conditioning wasn’t working – so our house was about 80 degrees. I initially thought she was just too warm because of the room temperature. All of thursday I kept her stripped down to her diaper and as lightly wrapped as possible. I took her temp in the morning and it was elevated, but not fever status. At about 10 pm she was still warm and I took her temp and she had officially moved to fever status. After talking with the pediatrician and retaking her temp – we went to the local emergency department.

When babies are very young and have a fever they get a full work-up. Blood draws. IV. Urine Catheterization. Chest X-ray. And the worst – spinal tap. Plus an automatic stay in the hospital with antibiotics. When the triage nurse said the words ‘spinal tap’ I almost lost it. And by lost it I mean burst into tears. Watching my sweet baby girl be put in deliberate pain – hearing her cry and cry  and not being able to do anything to help. It was unbelievably heartbreaking. I couldn’t even be in the room for some of it. They had to try the spinal tap six times. She screamed and cried until she just fell asleep because she was so exhausted.

I felt so helpless. I brought my sweet girl into this world to be loved and kept safe and happy and here she is – just 27 days old – getting poked and put in pain and I can’t do anything to help her except give her a binky dipped in sugar water and rub her head. The medical side of me knew it was necessary and the mother part of me wanted to punch the doctor in the face. I wanted so badly to just wrap Lulu in my arms and protect her from all the pain – and I couldn’t. I just had to watch her scream and cry. I kept thinking about a quote on motherhood I’ve seen on Facebook from some of my friends, “Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone. And the first time since she’s been born (all 27 days) I felt that – I acutely felt how precious my daughter is to me and how terribly heartbreaking it is to be helpless as pain happens to her, especially since she couldn’t understand why. I couldn’t explain to her why it was necessary. To her it was just pain. It was 1,000 time worse than if the doctors had done all those tests on me.

We were admitted to the pediatric unit with the tentative diagnosis of a urinary tract infection. And we began the wait. We had to wait for the blood, spinal fluid, and urine cultures to grow. They weren’t going to send us home until they knew exactly what antibiotic to prescribe and just to make sure there wasn’t anything more serious going on like meningitis. During my little bit of research I learned that 30% of babies less than one month who have UTIs also have meningitis or sepsis (SCARY). Thankfully, that wasn’t Lulu.

For two days it was vital signs, IV antibiotics, beeping machines…. and not so much sleep. It’s hard to sleep at night when you have a baby that is awake and eating every 2-4 hours. And nurses coming in and checking things every 4 hours (at least) – and those things don’t usually coincide. And the nurses, well intentioned as they were, would come in in the middle of the night, unswaddle Lulu, mess with her IV or monitors or check vitals, and then would leave her – usually awake and crying. I think a good rule of thumb is if you unswaddle a child then you have to reswaddle the child. But that’s just my opinion – the nurses were great and they did their job well. Although, I was very glad to leave and have my privacy back. On Sunday morning Viddy and I woke up to a man standing over Lulu and checking her vitals – the man was a resident, but still. It’s a little disconcerting to wake up from being dead asleep and then to see a stranger standing over my child.

The icing on the weekend from Flint (yes, Mrs. Wannabe Librarian – that reference is for you) came on Friday night. Due to a little miscommunication issues with a local Thai restaurant I ate what I thought was a fried spring roll wrapped in rice paper. I don’t know what it was wrapped in…. but it was not rice. It was gluten. I haven’t had that much gluten in over 4 years. And I now know exactly what would happen if I, for example, just ate a straight piece of ‘regular’ bread or… had an egg roll. My insides tried very hard to become my outsides – for 4 hours. Until there was literally absolutely nothing left. And while I was in the bathroom hurling, Viddy is caring for Lulu who is crying. And then Lulu’s IV stops working and they have to replace it. And of course it’s time for Lulu to eat -but it’s a tad difficult to breastfeed and puke. Thankfully my mom came to the rescue and brought the one bottle of breastmilk I had pumped. So, Lulu got her first bottle and did very well. And eventually I stopped puking and was able to keep ice chips down and rest and whole heartedly commit to NEVER eating gluten willingly.

Another first for Lulu, other than the bottle and more medical test than most people get in 10 years, was diaper rash. It is a common, unfortunate occurrence with heavy duty IV antibiotics. But after a few days and a lot of different creams, we figured out a cure for her little sore bum – Aquaphor. Thank goodness for Aquaphor.

Sunday morning they decided to let us go home. Lulu was supposed to be blessed in church at 9 am – but we worked it out with our Bishop and family and friends to bless her at home in the afternoon. And that deserves its own post.

It was one crazy hot mess of a weekend. We are all very VERY VERY glad to be home. And everyone is happy and healthy. Lulu has some follow up testing to make sure everything is ok with her kidneys (since she is so young to have a UTI she get’s a little extra attention to figure out why). So, for now Viddy and I are going to try and catch up on sleep and enjoy the calmness of our own home.


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6 comments to Fevers, Hospitals, and more Sleep Deprivation

  • Amanda Duke  says:

    Poor baby! It is super hard to watch your kid get poked and prodded at. We were just in the ER a couple weekends ago with Eli and they tried twice to give him an IV and failed both times. He was screaming so hard and repeating, “No poke! No more! Ouch!” It was so sad. I asked them to stop. I hope your girl feels better soon!

  • Kristin  says:

    Oh I am so sorry! That is the worst thing, Carmen was taken to the instacare at 2 weeks old because she wouldn’t keep her food down. It was like the exorcist in our home the way she was throwing up! Anyway, they drew blood, offered an IV (watching the blood draw was enough, I declined the IV) and did some x-rays. A few days later she was diagnosed with GERD, but it is so hard watching everything happen and not being able to help. I am glad she is doing better, and I hope you get some well-deserved rest!

    p.s. thanks for the comment on my blog, I am kind of dreading the grass situation at the house to be honest. It is dead and full of weeds….if I find some holy grail of weed and feed I will let you know!

  • Melea Bird  says:

    I am so so so sorry. I started crying while reading about your spinal tap experience. It is heartbreaking to watch. Embree had the same thing and she cried until she fell asleep too. I hope she gets better quickly and that you don’t have to experience any more sickness for her…or for you! By the way, I have been puking too, only for different reasons. Mine are good 🙂

  • Vanessa  says:

    I am happy that you guys are home and that Lulu is doing better. I am so sorry that you guys had such a hard experience. I can’t even imagine having to watch her get a spinal tap. I would have lost it. I lost it when Mikaela had to have an IV in her head when she had an infection in the hospital. There is just no heartache like watching your baby hurt and not being able to fix it. Seriously. Well I hope that is the worst that you guys have for a VERY LONG TIME! Can’t wait to hear about the blessing. She is beautiful!

  • Kim Carlile  says:

    I can’t imagine! I’m so glad that all is well now. Stay healthy!!!!

  • M&Ms and Adele | Our Big Adventure  says:

    […] is trying to do is get an ultrasound of your hip just isn’t working. Two months ago, during the weekend from heck, you had a lumbar puncture done and you didn’t scream this much. You refused your pacifier. […]