Chris and I were so excited to welcome Katie, our first child, on December 18th, 2007. She was born via a scheduled c-section with no problems and was 100% healthy. She was 6lbs 13oz and had a crazy head of thick black hair just like her Daddy. I’ll post a photo of Katie as a newborn at the end of the post. We brought her home and enjoyed 18 pretty easy and fun days together.
I was having some complications recovering from the c-section so Chris took Katie downstairs for the night so I could get some solid sleep. Yes, he’s like that. :) At about 3:00am Katie woke up crying and fussed for about 45 minutes. This wasn’t like her, she usually woke up, ate and went right back to sleep. She eventually settled back down and we went back to sleep. We figured that it was just usually “baby stuff”, growing pains, etc.
At 5:00am Chris woke up and she was wheezing a bit in her sleep. He decided to take her temperature and it was over 104 degrees, even though she wasn't hot to the touch. Apparently a trade mark of Meningitis. He ran upstairs yelling “we’re going to the hospital” and within about 2 minutes we were racing down the highway to the children’s hospital. When I got downstairs I realized that she wasn't responding to anything. She was breathing, but seemed to be unconscious. I keep my ear on her mouth the whole trip and begged Chris to drive faster...he was already going almost 180 km/hr.
It was the beginning of the scariest time in both of our lives. We raced in and brought Katie up to the triage desk. The nurse was examining another little boy, but took one look at us and came over. She took Katie over to her table and then ran down the hall with her and called for help. Doctors and nurses came quickly and they all went into a room labeled “resuscitation room”.
OMG, OMG….it was terrifying and everything was happening so quickly. They placed her in a bed and started doing tests. She looked so tiny in the giant bed… remember she was not even 3 weeks old. I almost passed out from the shock and could still barely stand up from the c-section. They got me a chair…I must have been a lovely shade of grey. Not my best colour.
Chris and I stayed right there with her as they tried giving her Tylenol and some sort of breathing treatment. The breathing medication made her heart rate leap up to 200 bpm which was awful. This is a normal side effect, but usually disappears after 15-20 minutes but in Katie’s case it just wouldn’t go back down and in the end it took almost 24 hours before decreasing even a little.
They told us that they were going to be doing a lot of things to her…taking x-rays, putting in an IV, performing a lumbar puncture, etc. I have to say that I was so shocked that I’m not sure most of it sank in. It really did feel like a bad dream and I kept waiting for wake up.
The nurses and doctors in the ER were very, very kind and did everything that they could to help us relax (didn’t work, but they tried) and explain what was happening step by step. They started wheeling over x-ray machines and took them right there. The x-ray didn’t show anything in her lungs…they were thinking RSV. Next they tried to put in the IV. I say tried because after poking her poor little hands about 5 times, they still couldn’t get a vein. They called down Neonates who had success on the 1st try using a high powered light to see her veins. They also called down an Attending Internist and asked her to admit Katie to the PICU. They suspected it was a bad viral or bacterial infection, but at this point didn’t know which one or which strain she contracted. They started pushing very LARGE doses of Vancomycin, which is a broad spectrum antibiotic.
We walked beside her bed on the way to the PICU on the 3rd floor. If you haven’t been in an intensive care unit before, it’s a very stressful and sad place to be. There are generally no walls because of the need for the nurses to see the patients all the time. As a result we saw so many very, very sick little babies and kids. Some with open chests after Cardiac surgery and some actively seizing all the time. Very scary. We got a room and after putting on gowns and masks (they didn’t know if Katie’s illness was contagious yet) we went into her room and just sat with her while the doctors set-up for the lumbar puncture.
Sorry, but it’s getting really late...I have to go move Katie to her crib...little munchie wanted to go to sleep in the "big girl bed" tonight. I’ll continue the novel soon. I really meant to keep this short, but I have never really recorded the details of this time and I guess I‘m feeling the need to now.
For all you readers in the US…have a great Thanksgiving!! We had ours in October.