Thursday, July 23, 2009

Resilient Has a New Meaning

When I posted about my kids being able to survive lights-on sleeping, I had no idea they were merely preparing for what was to come. Now I am truly thankful for their resiliency.

Miss Natalie got sick on Tuesday. Really sick. Like for a moment I thought, do I call 9-1-1? I decided that urgent care would do, so hastily packed up Wyatt, dropped him at a friend's and doubted myself all the way to the base. Had I really seen her turn blue? Because she was so pink now. And she didn't have a fever, she was breathing, probably crying because she was hungry, right? Was it really worth cancelling the zoo trip for what was sure to be a needless visit to the doctor?

It turns out if you walk into urgent care and say something along the lines of, "my four-month old turned blue but now looks fine" they take it really seriously. You get called back immediately and not to the exam rooms, but to the scarier ER section where they put sticky things all over your baby's chest in case they need to do anything heroic. And when you tell them her temp was 98.3 when you left your house but now shows up at almost 102, that raises some red flags. And it earns a full work-up. After medical procedures that make you both cry, you find out that they can only tell you her white blood cell count is elevated but they don't know why. And they don't know what the blue was about, unless it indicated the fever spiking. After hours - three? four? - and an i.v. antibiotic, they send you home but only if you promise to bring her back if anything seems strange. You assure them you will and assume you'll not see this helpful staff again.

So I picked up Wyatt, offered nuggets from Chick-fil-a (because honestly, I needed some sort of treat after that ordeal and I really wanted some iced tea) and took my family home. I got Wyatt settled at his picnic table and started rearranging my evening plans since a sitter and a trip to Williamsburg didn't seem smart. And then I looked down at my sweet girl and damn if she wasn't blue all over again.

I dropped Wyatt at another friend's (who peeked in at Natalie and, with her nursing background, said, "yeah, she's blue" before giving me a hug and taking Wyatt) and rushed back to the base. As soon as I walked in, they said, "did it happen again?" and whisked me to the back. Again. We were the show, so no less than two doctors, two nurses and three techs were attending to her, seemingly all at once. By this time, her fever was above 103, despite it having been at 99 only an hour earlier. The pediatrician informed me we'd be staying the night. The phonecalls started in earnest - how to get ahold of Jeff, did my mom need to come out, who would take Wyatt, etc. Needless to say, it was frantic and scary. My baby. My sweet baby. And why always when the husband is gone?

Honestly, I've known that I have some great friends but this tested their willingness to help and they all went above and beyond. I talked to Kristen once to give her a brief rundown of what had gone on and by the time I called her back, she had a plan in place. It involved her calling the sitter I cancelled on to watch her boys so she could bring stuff to me, taking Millie to another friend's house, then picking up Wyatt at the other friend's house before taking him back to her place for the night. Amazing. In the meantime, the lab amended its earlier findings and that told us Natalie was fighting off a UTI. At least we had a diagnosis, even though it didn't explain the blue spells. And with that, it seemed we had 24 hours at the hospital so I opted against Jeff rushing home or my mom coming out.

Thankfully they decided they didn't need to put an i.v. line back in, so with new cardiac stickers and a pulse/ox monitor taped firmly to her foot, Natalie and I were able to rest. She did great all night, even managing to smile for the nurses when they came in every four hours to poke and prod, and most importantly stayed fever-free for the night. After another dose of the high-powered antibiotics and another urine sample (thankfully not via a cath), we were back home by 4:00 yesterday. Today she seems back to her old self and had lots of smiles at the doctor's visit today.

It turns out this isn't normal, but isn't rare either. She'll have some follow-up testing in a couple of weeks to see what the full scope of the issue is and until then she'll be on antibiotics. I'm so thankful for all the good care she got and the support I got from our friends. Wyatt's pretty sure it was the best couple days of his life. He got to play with Sam & Julie, then had Chick-fil-a, then got to play with Connor and Reid, had a visit to Kiley and Drake's, then had his first sleepover with Isaac. What's not to love? He told me he missed me (and Millie, too) but that he'd like to spend the night with Isaac again. He wanted to know why I stayed home. I guess he wasn't freaked out by my freaking out!

I have learned a lot: We have great friends and a large support network for which I am incredibly thankful. I am thankful that I have a few verses memorized because they helped keep me calm when I felt very alone. I think it's interesting that the blessing we've chosen to give Natalie every night is, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Fitting in that time, let me tell you. It is miserable to see your kids hooked up to EKG's and i.v. lines. It is not fun to put your baby to sleep in a metal crib with monitors beeping. Healthy children are a blessing and even moderately ill ones are, too. All I could think of were my friends whose children have been through major surgeries, much more life-threatening stuff. How have they done it with such grace and calm?

My baby is fine. My friends tell me Wyatt was good for them. Jeff will be home soon and all will be right with the world. Incidentally, both kids had check-ups scheduled for today so I have stats: Natalie is in the 25-50%ile for both height and head circumference, 50-75%ile for weight. And, drumroll please, Wyatt is in the 10-25%ile for both height and weight! Looks like he might catch up after all.


Heather and Scott said...

Oh my goodness Steph, what an ordeal. I'm glad to hear that Natalie is doing better now, but what a hard thing to go through alone. Yet you weren't alone. Friends truly are a blessing...and so are our children. And the Lord is always with you, wherever you go, whatever you're going through. We love your sweet family and appreciate all the wonderful things you've done for us!

SStites said...

Was alerted by Susan's blog that there was a problem, so I checked with your Mom. You've been in our prayers, along with Natalie, AND Jeff, because I can imagine how scarey it is for you, having him gone, and for him, not being able to be right there with you and Natalie. Friends, family and a strong faith are what get you through the tough times, and I hope those are behind you for good now. Kiss that sweet baby for me!