Penelope and I just returned from a 2 night stay at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Around 2 am Monday morning, she woke up whimpering and feeling hot to the touch. I tried to nurse her, but she wouldn't eat and would not be comforted. After a few hours of her sleeping on and off, I took her temperature. It was 100.9. Because she is so young, I decided to take her to the ER.
We were met with a team of doctors and nurses prepared to run a series of tests on my tiny baby. For the next hour, she endured a spinal tap, chest xrays, blood draws, urinalysis, and an IV. It was horrible. The doctors then rushed us to Vandy by ambulance for 48 hour observation and to rule out meningitis. I was scared. Beyond scared. Nothing like this ever happened to Beatrice and I was not prepared for any of it.
The next 2 days were pretty bad. Penelope had to endure a total of 3 spinals, all of which failed to collect any spinal fluid. She was exhausted from being poked and prodded endlessly during our stay. I was emotionally exhausted from it all. Finally on the second day, her fever broke and we were sent home. It was determined that she caught the enterovirus, not meningitis.
This whole scary ordeal has been a sobering wake up call on my parenting. I am quite a different mother with Penelope. When Beatrice was a newborn, I didn't let anyone hold her unless they washed their hands and sanitized. We stayed away from sick family members and kids in daycare. I didn't take her to restaurants or grocery stores or any place where people could breathe on her. I had her in a bubble and despite being pretty annoying to everyone else, it worked. She has never been sick (other than a cold twice in her life).
I have been quite different with Penelope. By the time she was a few days old, we had taken her to Target, church, and everywhere else. I don't insist that people wash before holding her and I don't freak out if little kids are around. I do shield her from old ladies in Target trying to touch her face and hands though. What's with old ladies wanting to touch stranger's babies? I totally don't get it, but it happens all the time.
After spending 2 days watching helplessly as my sick baby endured a litany of tests, I have determined to put her in a bubble. I will no longer be careless about her health. Her tiny, precious body will no longer be put in compromising situations. No more shared toys, no more little kids, no more breathing on her. Her health and safety are my number 1 priority while she is so little and vulnerable.
Hi Bubble Baby. Mama is sorry she let you get sick :(
On a side note, not once during the scary hospital stay did I ever feel hopeless about our situation. I held on with a white knuckled grip to my faith in God the Healer. I knew Penelope's health was in His hands and that no matter what the diagnosis, we would all be okay. That's the awesome thing about a relationship with the LIVING GOD: there is always hope.