Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oliver is Fine Now...

...but my heart is still a little broken.

Oh I just don't know how to write about the week we've had! I might have to hurry through this so I don't start crying about it again.

I'm always telling folks to keep their newborns home for the first few months and force Purell on those who simply must squish their baby. I used to be a nurse at a Children's hospital and so I absolutely know how horrible it was when a newborn got a fever and had to come in for a septic workup. Newborns are tricky because they don't always show illness the same way we do and if they do have a serious infection (most don't end up having had one) they can go from looking just fine to being deathly ill in hours. So... if a newborn gets sick, especially with a fever, everyone takes it pretty seriously. And by seriously, I mean tons of invasive, painful tests (including a spinal tap). Which is why its so important to keep newborns from getting sick.

Which is what I am always telling other people.

Because I used to have to be the one to help hold the tiny babies while they got a needle poked in their spine (with no anesthesia at all!). And I really, really, really, wanted to avoid my baby ever have to go through that.

And then last week my own tiny baby got sick. Sick enough that the pediatrician was very concerned. And we landed in exactly the place that I prayed I'd never have to take my baby. And my sweet little boy had to have every one of those painful tests. I'll go light on the details, but it was horrific. Each test had complications and had to be repeated (7 pokes to get an IV in and blood drawn, 3 attempts at catheterization to collect urine, and 3 attempts at a lumbar puncture to get spinal fluid-- which is horribly horribly painful...he cried so hard he had to have oxygen).

I could write for pages about how horrible the whole thing was. There are other awful details...lots of them, but I can't even write about them... I already lay in bed at night and re-live them over and over in my mind.

The most important thing is that Oliver is doing great. None of the really bad things he could have had came back positive. He likely just had a run-of-the-mill virus, but in a baby that small you just can't risk it.

Which is why I just have to do whatever I can to keep him from getting sick again while he is still a newborn. I can't risk putting him through that again.

So... we won't be leaving the house for the next month. And we won't be having any visitors either.

You'll forgive us for being anti-social won't you?

Because while I watched all these terrible painful things being done to my baby-- knowing that they were necessary because he was so sick-- I also knew that they could have been avoided if I'd have kept him safe.

And I'd failed to keep him safe. And that guilt is unbearable.

And still, when I gathered his tiny mottled sobbing little body in my arms between each poke, and his wet little eyes found my face, he'd somehow smile yet.

My sweet sweet boy.

I know he'll recover and won't have any conscious memory of the whole thing,

but I won't ever forget it. Traumatic just begins to describe it for us both (for us all really).

Right after I'd delivered Oliver, my midwife asked me if it was the hardest thing I'd ever done. I said no. Because although it was really hard, I was sure it wasn't the hardest thing. It was too wonderful.

But this whole experience ranks right up there. Hardest and worst.

I know it could be worse-- could have been worse. Parents and children endure more every single day. But for our little family, right now in our lives...this felt really, really, bad.

We are all healing (with the help of Trav's parents who flew in to our aid). And there is a lot more to the story (Trav left the hospital after the first night to be with Avery who was also really sick, then he got the flu, plus I was sick, then my milk dried up from not sleeping or eating for three days, then poor little Avery has had the toughest time after "mommy disappeared for so long!", and little Ollie just needs to be held most of the time--which is fine, because frankly I need it too).

But life will go back to normal. We are sure of it.

For now we are staying put (nursing constantly),

washing our hands a lot,

and looking forward to Spring--the end of Respiratory Virus season--

and sunnier days.


  1. oh, danielle, I am so sorry to read about this!! glad that you are doing better now, but still, so sorry that you had to go through this.

    On a completely different note, thank you for posting about this, because I have not been a Purell-pushing keep-the-baby-at-home kind of mother. But I will be for my next baby, because I didn't know before that the complications could be so serious. Thank you for letting me know, seriously.

  2. oh man this makes me cry. i'm so glad he is better but i am more worried about you now! it's not your fault, and you were careful, but things happen.

    you are a good mom and you were with him through the whole thing so he knows to trust you. but i can't imagine watching my baby (or yours for that matter) go through such painful things. i'm so so sorry you guys had to go through that.

    i hope you guys get some rest this next month. maybe it's time for a visit to sunny st. george? or maybe just your happy lamp? i love you! and i love your babies. oliie looks like the spitting image of both you and trav in that picture. a perfect mix.

  3. I love your blog! I'm so sorry to hear about Oliver, I can't even imagine having to go through that! My heart hurts for both of you! I'm so glad to hear that it's over.

    Oh! And I referenced your awesome blog here! :)

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  5. That is terrible! It makes me shutter just to think about it. I have a new little babe too and that is something you always worry about. I hope better days are on their way and I think you're smart to be "anti-social" for a while.


  6. My heart just skipped a couple of beats and the tears are flowing.
    Love from AuntLeAnn

  7. Danielle! I am DYING for you!! I simply can't look at that DARLING picture of your angel boy and then think about all you have gone through. So so scary. Way harder for you than for him I'm sure!

    Having a winter baby is scary! I am sure staying inside for the rest of it is no doubt the best thing.

    Take care!

  8. I am so glad for you that your sweet little boy is ok. Tears welled up in my eyes reading that, really I don't know who that would have been worse for, him having to go through it, or you having to watch him go through it. Such a hard thing. It will make me be more careful when our next one is born, I guess we were just lucky with our first. I hope you can let the guilt go.

  9. oh my gosh, danielle! I am so so so sorry. i wish I could give you a hug right now.

    i'm selfishly totally bummed that we can't come visit you either. but man, do I understand. having a newborn in winter freaks me out. i'd do the same thing.

    i am going to call you though tomorrow!

  10. gosh that's pretty much the saddest thing i ever heard. i am really glad he's ok. and this made me remember to be careful. love you.

  11. your pediatrician is really, really sorry that Ollie had to go through the whole ordeal....

  12. and she thinks that you having guilt over it is ridiculous. kids get sick. that's all there is to it. we protect them as much as we can, but at some point life is life and sick happens. so don't waste your energy on guilt! (said in the nicest, kindest, tone)

  13. oh, i'm so sorry. i hated to imagine you guys going through all that. hope you all stay well for a long, long time.
    also, you and trav make beautiful, darling, perfect, edible babies. i think you should have a dozen. at least :)


  14. Thank you everyone for all of your well-wishes and concern. I hope I haven't terrified everyone with a small baby.

    And my friend you can feel sorry Ollie had to go through that, but as my pediatrician I count on your objectivity to make sure he is safe, so no grief allowed or necessary;). a mother who gave birth to your own baby that same day, you are off the hook on all accounts! (although I think if you'd seen him you'd probably have sent him to the ER too...he looked pretty bad.)

  15. I just searched for a flower tutorial (which I love by the way thanks so much) and caught myself reading about your little Oliver. I am a Purell pushing stay at home all the time MOM to a newborn that had some horrible testing (nothing like all of yours) today as well!! I have cried all morning over her 3 nurses trying to Cath her and not stopping them sooner as I have never seen her cry so horribly. I was feeling really awful and yucky about it. Replaying it all in my head all day. It was nice to cry with a complete stranger!! I am glad to know I am not the only one that just can't control everything no matter how hard we try. Thanks for posting it!! Somehow it made my day a little easier! :) Hang in there...

  16. Crying as I read this. So, so sorry! It strengthens my resolve to keep kids home from church for another 3-4 weeks even though I haven't been in 4 months! So sorry this had to happen though . . . and so glad he's well.

  17. So sorry to hear this about your cute little Ollie, but I'm so glad you're all doing better!

  18. Oh the story just breaks my heart! So nice it has a happy ending! I just can't stand anything terrible happening to newborns. This story also makes me feel like less of a freak about hand sanitizer and staying away from crowds with little ones. I have a six month old who caught something but luckily she is older and it wasn't as bad so it didn't need much more than a little suctioning--which is bad enough! Hope you and your little family heal quickly and the memories fade...


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