Monday, August 24, 2009

Death by Fire or Water: Thoughts of a Worried Mom in the New Children’s Wing of Beaumont Hospital

Last Wednesday, I headed out to the new Emergency Room Children’s Wing of Beaumont Hospital. Right before “the incident” happened, I was just telling someone how well everything was going with Thomas. Then it was nap time, and he was a bit fussy, understandably. So I laid him in his crib because sometimes he just cries for five minutes and falls asleep. I was listening to the monitor, and all of a sudden I heard nothing. Then I heard thrashing and gasping. I ran in there and saw that he had vomit, not a little bit of spit up, but a whole tummy full of vomit all over. It was in his nose and mouth and he was pale as a ghost. Once he caught his breath, started to cry and then stopped crying, he was lifeless, despondent, and had a rattle in his chest. My doctor told me to go the ER since he may have aspirated on his vomit. I think my exact words after I hung up the phone were, “Holy fukc! I can’t believe it!” In my mind, I thought we had really turned a corner with the Dr. Brown’s bottles, the change back to Similac Early Advance Shield, and Mylocin gas drops. (And if any reps from these products would like to donate their products for free advertising, I would happily accept).

Thomas’s pulse oxygen levels were good, and he was eating fine. The doctor did not think he suffered a seizure (which freaked me out even more because that was not radar of things to worry about). As Harrington and I waited for his chest x-ray results, I cried. Not because I didn’t think Thomas wouldn’t be OK because my gut was saying he was going to be fine. But I cried because I felt sad that nothing about either one of my babe’s infancy has been easy. It has been death by water or fire.

Marie had been death by water. Because of her big head and low tone, we didn’t know if she was going to have cerebral palsy. We didn’t know if she would need leg braces and a walker. We didn’t know if she would need a shunt in her head for hydrocephaly. There were all these unknowns, and they weighed on me like someone had fit me for a pair of cement shoes and thrown me in a river. It was horrible and sickening and robbed me of almost any happiness that a baby brings. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think I did something to cause this and she was going to suffer for the rest of her life because of me. It was hard to push through and take care of her and her special needs. I literally felt like I was drowning.

When Thomas was born, I knew how important it is to live in the moment since I lost a lot of happy times with Marie worrying about her. When he was born, I was sooo in love with him the moment I saw him. When he nursed successfully right way, I thought we were out of the woods with any feeding issues. At six weeks, he had his first nursing strike. It was so scary because he would not stop screaming for over an hour and refused to eat. Every few weeks things, he would go on these nursing strikes. Then when he would eat, he would bob on and off. He wouldn’t get enough to eat or take in too much air, and then he would cry for 2 hour stints. This went on for all of July and most of August. So we tried a bunch of different things to see if they would work. Sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t. But the crying felt like I was dying by fire; this was an immediate problem that needed to be fixed NOW! Not a let’s-see-how-things-progress sort of manner, but a fix-this-now-DAMN IT! kind of manner. Not to mention Marie was starting to get really annoyed with all this crying and attention he was getting.

I cried because it’s not fair that I haven’t had an easy time. I know, I know; life is not fair. I was just hoping for a break. I think I need to adjust the way I look at things. Life, especially one with babies, is all about moments. There were a lot of moments in waiting to see if my baby girl was going to be physically handicapped and there were a lot of moments in a two hour block of crying. But they are all moments, and they all passed. And somewhere amongst all those heart-stopping, gut-wrenching moments, there were some happy ones in there too. If I really looked hard through my tired and puffy eyes.
When that moment of crying in the ER passed, I had some other random thoughts:

-Wow, this new wing is very nice. It is definitely not the same ER I took Marie to when she wouldn’t stop vomiting. The underwater theme is very soothing.

- Shit, I forgot to order the chicken for the Thomas’s christening party!
Since that ER visit, Nathan has been doing better. I have not yet exhaled, though, because I am trying very hard to keep these good moments going. I ordered the chicken for the party which was three days after the ER visit. I don’t know how I did it, but the christening and the party with 25 of our closest relatives were a success. Go team!


LuLu and Moxley's Mom said...

Taking care of babies is HARD. Then add in eating / health issues and it's a wonder any mom facing that is sane. I love your blog! Going to read more posts now... (I actually teared up at this post. And I"m not usually the weepy sort!)

Mommy on the Spot said...

Lulu and Moxley's Mom! I am so happy that you read my blog! I am a huge fan! Gushing aside, it is a wonder that any mom is sane. Maybe sanity is overrated. Maybe slightly crazy is the new sane. I don't know.

catjanda said...

I could say "hang in there, honey", but that would really simplify what I feel. It takes a lot of sacrifice (i.e. sleep for one thing) to take care of children. You're doing a fabulous job and I'm so proud of you.