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Kaitlyn’s Hospitalization Pt. 2 March 11, 2006

Posted by table4five in Uncategorized.

Wednesday morning I went back to the hospital and sent Chris home to get some sleep. Nothing drives home the fact that your baby is very, very sick than the following:

Oxygen tubing taped to each cheek with tiny prongs in the nostrils.

An IV in the back of the hand, with the hand taped down to a gauze-covered stabilizing board and wrapped up to the elbow.

A sensor taped to the bottom of the foot that measures both the Percentage of oxygen getting into the baby’s bloodstream, and the Beats Per Minute of their heart.

Even with the extra oxygen, Kaitlyn’s lungs were not taking in enough air. The sensor alarm went off every time her O2 level went below 90%, which was sometimes every minute or so. If she cried or coughed, the alarm went off. If she got upset, her heartrate would shoot up, sometimes as high as 180 BPM, and that alarm went off. So my day was spent trying to anticipate her needs and keep her calm so she wouldn’t have to struggle to breathe. I spent hours holding her, patting her back and whispering “Come on honey, breathe. Breathe. You’ve gotta calm down and breathe.”

There was vomiting, which required bedding changes, and struggling to get her to eat. We make her formula fresh from powder every day, whereas the hospital has premixed formula which is thicker and was hard for her to swallow. We tried cutting it with water, but she still didn’t like it. Finally a nurse somewhat off-handedly said, “well, we have bottles of sterilized water if you want to make her bottles yourself.” Jesus, why didn’t they say that sooner? So I had Chris bring her powdered formula in, and the first bottle I mixed up she drank right down. Thank God.

I went home Wednesday night, still sick myself, and went back Thursday morning. Chris had to go to work; there’s news about that also but I’ll post that separately. Thursday was pretty much like Wednesday, except there was a little less vomiting. The baby in the next crib got discharged, but the bed was quickly filled by a 2 month old with RSV. The sad thing about that was that her mother was also a patient in the hospital, so she was not going to be able to sleep in the room with the baby. I picked up from conversation that she was divorced and Dad was out of the picture. So I ask the nurse, what happens if the baby starts crying? And she says, “oh, just let us know.”

I understand that there was nothing the nurses could do, the baby needed to be on one floor and the Mom on another (and I never did find out what was wrong with the Mom, except she brought an IV pole with her when she did come to the room), but they were assuming that I would be willing to pay attention to this other baby as well as my own. Obviously, I wasn’t going to just let this baby cry, but I thought it was unfair. You know what I mean? No one came right out and said we need you to watch this baby also, but that’s what they assumed would happen. I wasn’t allowed to touch her though, so if she needed something I had to ring for the nurse and then sit there listening to this poor baby cry. Thursday night, the stress of the situation finally caught up with me and I sat in the recliner holding Kaitlyn, listening to this other baby wail, and cried and cried. But quietly, so as not to scare the babies. It just broke my heart that the other baby was alone.

That night, the Doctor took Kaitlyn off the oxygen to see how she would do. Apparently it’s okay for the O2 level to occasionally go below 90% because they let her stay off of it. She slept pretty well, and kept down 5 small bottles without any vomiting. Things were looking up.

Friday morning, she opened her eyes all the way, looked right at me, and smiled. And when I smiled back and told her what a good girl she was, she laughed. The Doctors were in the room at the time. They agreed to unhook the IV to see how she would do off of that. After a few more hours and a few more bottles that stayed down, the Attending Doctor said she could go home. That was the best news I’ve had in a long time. He warned us that she would still be coughing, still be weak and need to take medicine to keep her stomach settled. We got prescriptions for Zantac and Reglan, the IV was pulled out (drops of blood, makes me queasy), and we were free.

There’s a lot more I could write about, but that’s the gist of the story. She slept fairly well last night, and is more alert today. I still feel like crap. My left ear is completely plugged shut and everything sounds weird and buzzy. Like I’m listening underwater. But we’re home, and our family is back together. I didn’t realize just how close we are until we were apart. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Having Kaitlyn and either me or Chris at the hospital all day and night made our family feel broken. We’re fixed now.



1. Dawn - March 11, 2006

Oh honey. I am so relieved that Kaitlyn is doing so much better. RSV is a nasty, nasty viral infection and I have seen more babies than I care to think about with that sound in their chests.

But, she sounds as if she is getting better…slowly, bit by bit. The smile more than anything else.

Take care of yourself – it sounds like you are prime candidate for an ear infection which turns to bronchitis then pneumonia.

And thank goodness you are all home!!

2. MrsFortune - March 11, 2006

Wow, what an experience. I’m sorry you’re going through all this but I hope she undergoes a speedy recovery! Please keep us posted and don’t you get sick yourself.

3. Nancy - March 11, 2006

Oh gosh, Elizabeth — I feel bad I’ve been absent from the blog world for a couple of days and just now catching up with you. How scary this week has been for you. I am so glad you’re all home now and I hope both you and Kaitlyn continue to feel better. I know there’s not much I can do from here, but feel free to send me a note if there’s ANYTHING you need. 2 AM chats — whatever — I’m thinking of you.

4. mama_tulip - March 11, 2006

Oh, Elizabeth. I came here yesterday to see how you all were doing and Blogger must have been down, because I couldn’t access your site. I tried to come again today and again, couldn’t bring it up, so I’m here now and have just read this and your previous post. I’m so, so, so sorry that Kaitlyn has been so sick. How scary, for all of you. I’m glad that she’s getting better, albeit slowly, and please hang in there and try to take care of yourself. Please email me (if you have the time, that is) if you’d like to talk.


5. Snide - March 11, 2006

Don’t forget that we’re nearby if you ever want help, as well.


6. Becki - March 11, 2006

My heart rate shot up, too, when I read the title of your post after having not visited you in a week or so. I’m so glad Kaitlyn is better and home, but so sorry that you all had to go through such a scary thing. Having a really sick kid is so scary; you’d probably much rather be the sick one yourself than have them go through it.

Spring is almost here. Soon (God willing) we’ll all be healthy and strong and able to meet halfway between Lansing and Detroit for coffee.

7. Shell - March 11, 2006

Whew. I’m glad you’re both okay.

8. jen - March 13, 2006

This also left me with my heart in my throat…I am glad your little girl is on the mend.

I hope you are feeling better with your ear infection and catch a break. sounds like you oculd use one.

9. halloweenlover - March 13, 2006

I’m all teary in my office, over you all finally being home and also that poor poor baby in the other crib.

I’m so glad that Kaitlyn is feeling better.

Hugs to all of you.

10. Mother GooseMouse - March 13, 2006

Elizabeth, I’m so sorry you’ve been through so much. Poor Kaitlyn. I’m relieved that she’s doing much better now.

My friend Stacey’s little girl was hospitalized with RSV at 6 weeks. So frightening.

And how sad for that little baby in the crib next to you. I can only imagine how her mother felt, knowing that her baby was sick, but not being able to be there with her.

11. Fraulein N - March 13, 2006

So glad to hear the baby’s doing better.

12. TB - March 13, 2006

Oh Elizabeth! I’m just getting caught up on your ordeal. I can’t imagine how awful and terrifying it is to have a child in the hospital.
I’m so glad to hear that Kaitlyn is better now. And I hope you are better soon.

PS Hi to Chris now that we know his real name.

13. Mightymouse Mommy - March 14, 2006

She went through the same thing when her youngest son had pneumonia when he was a baby, too. Poor lil guys 😦 That huge stainless steel crib is so cold and intimidating. Worse yet I felt like I COULDN’T be there for support simply because I didn’t want to call when Kaitlynn or she were sleeping so I had to settle with passing along support via Chris when he’d call with updates.

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