parenting is scary.

On Tuesday, May 15, Evelyn was especially tired. However, when she was awake, she wasn’t her normal self … very lethargic and out-of-it. When Michael came home from work, she was still like this and we took her temp in her ear. It was 100.6. By 9:00, it was 100.8. It was a low grade fever, so we decided to call the pediatrician’s office. The nurse said even though it was low grade, we should head to the ER.

As we were heading out the door, I was sure we were being overly cautious. We drove to Dayton Children’s and they saw us right away, since she was so young. We went back in a room and gave us a gown for her. The gown was quite comical, it was so large, but they insisted she needed to wear it. I changed her and they took her temp rectally. It was actually 102.

It was then that the nurse and doctor (Dr. Morgan, but he was a Captain in the Air Force, so … Captain Morgan) explained that with newborns this young, a septic workup is automatically done for fevers above 100.4. A septic workup consists of a urine test (via catheter), bloodwork, IV …. and a lumbar puncture. The lumbar puncture is to obtain spinal fluid for testing various serious diseases, such as bacterial meningitis. They also sent off 48-hr cultures to test for various bacterial infections.  As a result, they told us we would be automatically admitted to the hospital for at least 48 hours until the cultures came back.

As they were telling us all of this, there was a flurry of activity. Nurses were coming into the room, washing their hands getting instruments ready, and beginning to poke our little Evie.

This was the toughest moment so far in our very young parenthood. I just couldn’t believe that Evelyn could be seriously ill, and was utterly defenseless against what they were going to do to her in order to solve the problem. I broke down. It took all I had to just stand there, next to her bed and lean on Michael as he was comforting her. He was… amazing. That really isn’t enough to describe how strong he was throughout the whole situation. He was taking in all of the information, comforting Evie … and being strong for me. I am so lucky to be married to this man.

While we were with Evie, they were trying to insert the IV. Since she’s so tiny, she has very tiny veins. They tried both feet and both arms and failed. Finally, they got it into her right hand. It was unbearably difficult to watch them attempt & fail, over & over … and I couldn’t take the pain away from her or comfort her enough. It was terrible.

We had to leave the room during the lumbar puncture since it’s a sterile procedure. That took almost 40 minutes, and was an absolute nightmare to be away from her, knowing what was happening. Apparently our little brave girl did really well.

Here she is, in my arms, after all of this had been done:

She has the pacifier in her mouth, particularly because they gave her Sweet Ease while she was being poked. It’s essentially sugar water, and calmed her down a bit.

Daddy with Evie, before they brought us to our room.

In our room, the next morning, with her monstrous IV in her right arm.

Holding onto Mommy.

Sleeping in Daddy’s arms. You can get a glimpse of the horrible, archaic-looking crib in the background. Over the 2.5 days we were there, she slept maybe an hour or two in it. She was in our arms the rest of the time, even while they did some procedures.

Her IV went bad, and we were cordless for a while! However, since she was getting antibiotics & antivirals for the diseases we weren’t sure she had (until the cultures & tests came back), she had to have the IV put back in later.

A little lion for our brave little lion, courtesy of Jackson, Ben & Owen!

A brief smile for Daddy!!

When they attempted to put the IV in again, the IV therapy team again kept failing in her arms and legs. They brought in the NICU transport and she inserted it in her head. I couldn’t even believe this was an option. I had to leave the room while they did it … I was definitely not strong enough for that. Not surprisingly, she did amazingly well. The IV went right in and she was fantastic through it all.

Cuddling with Uncle Chris. He came to visit for a little bit and brought us some food. Michael and I were both starting to go a little crazy on bits of sleep in the room and eating the food from the kid’s hospital menu … it was great to see a familiar face from the “outside” 🙂

By Friday morning, all of the tests & cultures were negative. Her fever had been under control since 2:00am. The attending doctor diagnosed her as having viral meningitis, which is not nearly as serious as bacterial meningitis. The only treatment for viral meningitis is rest and fluids … which was Evie’s routine anyways! The doctor said not to worry and she would gradually get better over the next couple of days!

Here were are, on our way home!

Hey Mommy, what was up with that? Let’s never do that again.

What an adventure. We felt so scared and helpless. However, we were completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love & support for our little family of three. To all of the friends and family who prayed, brought us meals, left us Facebook messages, called, texted, emailed, asked others to pray, etc, etc …. THANK YOU! We definitely felt the love in our hospital room, and we have a special empathy for parents with chronically sick children. Our experience was so minor compared to what some other families go through; they must be the strongest parents on this earth. Luckily, we are happy to say that our little Evie quickly recovered back to her normal, healthy little beautiful self.

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One thought on “parenting is scary.

  1. I wondered if you would write this chapter in Evie’s story, or would publish it. You and M were so brave through it. Thank you for finding words to share this. Even if it touches one person, or calms one parent in a similar situation, it will be worth it. I know it wasn’t easy.

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