Not So Merry Christmas

Well, Christmas wasn’t exactly as we planned. For the second year in a row we were felled by illness, except this time it was not just J and me, but all the kids except P.

M was cranky for days beforehand, throwing herself to the floor every time one of us went out of sight, her eyes red and weepy. Just before Christmas Eve, C had a fever of 101 and I slept with her next to me burning up on the sheets. Little B had had a crackling cough for over a week and was very sleepy Christmas morning. When she woke up from her nap she was panting. Lifting her shirt I could see her little ribs sucking in and out. We live very close to Children’s Hospital, so I thought “It’s not going to be busy on Christmas. I’ll dash her over and hopefully we’ll be in and out in an hour once they tell me it’s just a bad cold.” In fact, it was very busy, full of feverish toddlers. But I said the magic words: “Tachypnic, 30-week prem” and we were seen very quickly. She needed oxygen for about a day and a half, and was admitted for two nights. I stayed with her, coming home just once for a few hours to eat and shower. Unlike the NICU, we had a private room with a cot for me, so that was good.

She’s home now, still cranky and coughing up a storm, but much better.

I took some pictures of the hospital – she looks pretty cheery in most of them, but not pictured are her whining and crying every time she was awake, having numerous coughing attacks or throwing up a mouthful of blood when she was suctioned too vigorously. Also, I never realized how often they come in and look at you. For a heavy-sleeping toddler, it would probably not matter at all, but babies are such light sleepers. I would finally settle her and then someone would come in to say “We forgot to measure her head on admission.” And then the resident would peek at her. Her eyes would flutter open, and the person would take that as a cue that she was awake and it was okay to handle her. So needless to say, when we got home we were both very tired.

Very grateful to have such high quality care so close, but hoping we have much less hospital time in 2014.