Today I would like to tell you more about my little Skeeter. She is so resilient, and she was the happiest patient in the hospital according to the wonderful nurses on West 7 at Children’s Hospital. I did a guest post for Story about Skeeter which talks about my fears of the girls getting sick: http://hardtomommy.blogspot.com/2012/02/guest-post-when-kids-are-sick.html
Today I am going to tell you about how I felt that entire hospital stay. I was in a daze for much of the time, existing on pure adrenaline. I had to force myself to eat and drink. I felt like I was on pins and needles the whole time. Skeeter was hooked up to an IV that was in her foot that dispensed the antibiotics. I could not sleep very well. We coslept at home, but she had to stay in the crib in the hospital. All I wanted to do was hold her and rock her while she slept. I did not want to take my eyes off of her and leave her alone. I barely left her side at all.
The other side of this extreme anxiety was a desire to just run away. I was terrified of staying in the hospital. Our hospital is a world class facility, but I knew that some stories from the hospital were not positive. Some were heartbreaking. Some children never left the hospital. I wanted to run away from the smell of sterile equipment and sickness. I had trouble sitting still and focusing on anything. I still managed to complete my annual review for my job. Skeeter’s hospitalization coincided with my return to work from my maternity leave.
What I do remember was the kindness of the nurses, the residents and the doctors. No question was too silly. No request was not met. I was encouraged to breastfeed as much as possible. I was assisted in utilizing the breastmilk storage set up in the community refrigerator in our wing. One nurse in particular told me that having an IV line in the foot was wonderful for a nursing baby so Skeeter could have her hands. It took our nurses four tries to insert the IV line. They initially tried Skeeter’s hands first, and her foot seemed to have a better vein. The kindness and reassurance I received from the nurses along with the support of my husband and my mom helped me to maintain some semblance of normality. Little did I know that this experience was the tipping point for my descent into postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression. I felt called by my intuition to seek refuge in the family center at the hospital, but I felt like my problems were minor compared to other parents whose children were fighting life threatening illnesses. In retrospect, my mind and heart were leading me toward the help I needed. It took me six more months to ask for that help.
***I am sharing my daughters’ experiences with our local Children’s Hospital in support of the Briggs & Al’s Run & Walk for Children’s Hospital. I hope to participate in this event next year. A college friend of mine is participating in this event for the second year in a row to give back to the hospital that helped her daughter. I plan on joining her team next year. This is my own opinion of this wonderful facility. I decided to write my girls’ experiences the two days leading up to the race.