Tuesday, September 7, 2010
This last month was a doozie and it really wasn't your fault at all. To start things off we made our first trip to Children's Hospital after we went to the local ER. You had officially "slept through" the night on Friday and both your Papa and I were amazed! We even got up before you at around 7:15 am and as we were quietly getting ready for the day your Papa checked in to see if you were close to waking up and there you were, silently rolling around your bed. So he picked you up and changed your soaked and soiled diaper without turning on the lights. Then he passed you along to me for your first meal of the day and that's when I noticed you weren't your usual chipper self. You were still acting tired and not just tired but completely exhausted. You had NO interest in food, none, it just seemed like a huge inconvenience to have to eat breakfast and after about 5 minutes you just stopped all together. So I picked you up and you buried your head into my shoulder and just laid there, like a rag doll. It was dreadful. You didn't respond to anything and then you threw up, all over me. At that point I went to lay you on your changing table and I noticed some of your diaper had leaked onto the pad. I flipped on the light and got a new cover and when I went to remove the dirty one I saw that there was blood mixed in with your stool. And then I freaked out!
Within minutes we were off to the hospital only 5 days after we had to take your Papa there for stitches. Luckily for us they weren't very busy so early on a Saturday morning and they were able to get you right in. It was so heartbreaking to see the teeny tiny heart monitor hooked up to your big toe that's still the size of a small chickpea. You hardly fussed at all, you were too busy being an indifferent limp noodle which is NOT a good thing. They took samples from your diaper, they drew blood, and they hooked you up to an IV. The nurses weren't very experienced with wee babies and your IV became a bit of an ordeal and that was the first time all morning you showed your displeasure with the current state of affairs. On one hand it was wonderful to see you show some kind of emotion on the other it was heart wrenching to see you so miserable. The doctor assigned to you told us that it was possible you had an intussusception, which is where the small intestine telescopes into the large intestine and left untreated can LEAD TO DEATH. God knows what she was thinking telling brand new, first-time parents something as terrible as that! I'm already anxious about what is going on in your tiny body and she has go throwing around things like DEATH. This ramped up my anxiety to scared out of my wits and what the HELL are we going to do?! She explained that you needed to have an xray to confirm her suspicions and after waiting 45 minutes for her to coordinate aforementioned xray she tells us that the hospital isn't equipped to handle this particular kind of xray and we need to go to Children's Hospital which is 45 minutes away. I couldn't believe it, one minute she's talking about your impending demise then next there is absolutely NO sense of urgency to get you the medical attention that can possibly save your life. Can someone please get us out of this rabbit hole we stumbled into?
During the 2 hours we were at the ER you kept having dirty diapers and this was most concerning because they were just this wretched bloody mucus. I may have minimal knowledge about the specific workings of the intestines and colon but I do know that bloody diapers are NOT normal. After they told us we needed to go to Children's we got you in the car, stopped by the house to pick up a bottle, took a small detour so your Papa and I had something to eat and jumped on the freeway ready with the excuse that our 4 month old son was possibly DYING in the back seat should we get pulled over for speeding. We checked in with the nurse on duty and fed you your second meal of the day which you threw up after 2 minutes. Finally, FINALLY, we got taken to your room, and several nurses and doctors trooped in and checked your vitals, your diaper, pressed on your belly and soft spot, looked in your ears and then all mentioned how it was possible you had intussusception. We were taken to a giant xray room where we had to strip you down to just the skin you were born in and your Papa and I had to hold you in position for the three different xrays they needed. I was holding back the tears, you looked so small and vulnerable. You weren't happy about it at all. So you peed all over that awful, awful machine.
We then went back to your room to wait for the results and you were so tired of it all. You hadn't gotten a decent nap in 5 hours, you weren't able to keep food down, and on top of it all we were in this strange and sterile environment that offered zero comfort and every time I was able to get you to fall asleep in my arms someone would come in to check your temperature or make a great deal of noise for absolutely NO reason and wake you up. The results of your xray turned out to be "inconclusive" which means they couldn't tell "for SURE" whether or not you had intussusception or not. So they decided to do an "air enema" just in case. Because nothing says fun like having air blown up your ass.
Around this time you started to act more like your usual self even though your diapers were still far from normal and you were able to keep your third meal down. All very good signs but that still didn't give you a free pass out of your "air enema". Your Papa and I weren't able to stay in the room with you when they did that particular procedure and that was fine with me, I was already traumatized from the previous 6 hours and was perfectly content leaving you in the capable hands of the medical personnel and going in the adjoining waiting room and watching all the tropical fish swim around their tank and refusing to let my mind wander to what was taking place in the next room.
They brought you back to us all in one piece and I wish I could have gotten a picture of your face. It was priceless. Something along the lines of "What the @&!%! Do you guys have ANY idea what they just did to me?!" And I am sorry about that but at the time we were really given only two options: A) your son, the shining light of your life, could DIE or B) you can let us blow air up his ass and everything will be just fine. Option B seemed like the lesser of two evils.
After it was all said and done they told us that you probably just had some Stomach Virus but at least we'd ruled out all the serious things, like DEATH. At 3:30 in the afternoon we were cleared to take you home and we left completely exhausted but SO unbelievably thankful that you were okay. We gave you a bath and a proper meal and had you in bed by 6:30 pm and you didn't budge until 7:30 the next morning. Of course, I was in and out of your room every 90 minutes just to make sure you were okay, still breathing. The next morning you were back to your regular self, grinning from ear to ear and squealing with joy.
Two weeks later someone who has spent a great deal of time with you mentioned that you showed signs of being Autistic...and I freaked out for the second time this month.
There is a bit of back story to this. You were coming off 5 days of terrible, awful naps, and when you get tired you become a cranky inconsolable troll. Despite our best efforts you had refused to sleep longer than 20 minutes and the result was spending the days with the howling banshee you had become. At the end of these 5 days you happened to spend some time with this person when they made this God awful suggestion. At the time I was run ragged from such a long stretch of you being a grouch and I was not in the proper mindset to even know what to say to that. WHAT do you say to something like that? I was HORRIFIED. So I'm driving you home, crying, my mind scrambling to recall any and all facts regarding autism, which amounted to about three, none of them good. I continued blubbering while getting you ready for bed, as you gnawed on my shoulder, happily oblivious. I spent the next 6 hours scouring the Internet for information, googling things like "symptoms of autism in infants". This is when the Internet can be a very VERY bad resource because you get tossed an extreme mixed salad, between links to "gluten-free" diets and vaccine theories to the four hundred "symptoms" that could potentially, maybe, kinda, be indicative of autism in an infant but then again, probably not. I spent the next day sitting there, assessing every tiny thing you did, rather than play and enjoy my time with you I was making mental checklists. Without any prompting from me, you babbled incessantly, you made frequent eye contact, you turned toward sounds, you watched the cats, you were engaging, bright-eyed and responsive. In other words you showed no signs of autism and after talking to someone who actually KNEW and DIAGNOSED children with autism I felt much MUCH better. I should have given myself more credit as your mama to know that the source of the suggestion had no education or experience with autistic children and that your behavior for the previous four and a half months was nothing but normal. I just wish this person would have taken two seconds to THINK about making a comment like that and realize one should not suggest to a new mama that their son has any form of a disability without being certain, for sure, and absolutely positive with lots of clinical evidence to back it up and even then, get a second opinion. Otherwise, shut the hell up.
It is important for me to tell you that even if you had/have autism, that doesn't change how I feel about you. I am still crazy about you, filled with love to the brim for you, still wildly proud and protective. I just hadn't even let my mind drift to that possibility and it would be OK if that was the case and in all my Internet searching I did find that there are amazing programs in place for children with disabilities, specialists that are eager to help, and a huge network of friends and families to support you. I knew that, no matter, I had an infinite amount of resources and I would do whatever it took to get you the help and support you needed. No matter what the cost. As it turns out, I don't need to take advantage of these resources at the moment but I am so grateful they are there. Just in case.
As far as your development is going, you are a regular pro at reaching and grabbing, like you've been doing it for the past 5 months, and that grip...holy moly. You're a regular Hercules. A few things have fallen into your grasp like my hair, earrings, lip, nose, Amelia, Bonnie, your Papa's goatee, etc. that have caused more than a little discomfort and there was the one time you tried to squeeze my Adam's apple into juice but you have responded very well to having the above items pried from you grasp. You just reach for the next available object and shove it in your mouth.
We go for walks everyday in the stroller. You are very mellow on these adventures, and we have yet to come across something that you dislike, not the barking dogs, the Harley spluttering by, or the lawn mowers. You just look around, very curious, but never ruffled. We've met lots of friendly people on our walks and everyone always makes such a fuss over you and I can't blame them. We always take Henry with us, your bunny. Before you were born I was very keen on the name Henry, I've always thought it was a very strong, very masculine name, with a hint of kindness. But your Papa didn't care for the name at all. So when your Auntie Em gifted you this precious bunny I named him Henry, because it seemed to just fit perfectly. So the name has stuck and whenever we go anywhere, out and about or to bed, Henry's always there. We did have a scare when Henry fell out of the stroller and I didn't notice until we got back from our walk but Grama C ran the route and found him, safe and sound, partially hidden under a bush and brought him back home. Now we have a ribbon to keep him from taking any more tumbles.
We tried giving you rice cereal on a spoon but that ended badly, with you vomiting the contents of your stomach all over me, so we are going to wait another week or two before giving it another shot. My guess is that your little system isn't quite ready for it and another month on breast milk isn't such a bad thing at all. You've started holding the bottle all on your own. It seemed like you got the hang of it in an instant, one day you were content just having the bottle held in your mouth, the next, you used your bone-crushing grip to hold that bottle, as if to say, "I don't need you, woman! Check out this opposable thumb action!" Before I know it, you'll be tying your own shoes, graduating high school, moving out, getting married, and visiting your "old" mother who will always remember the day you were born and remember how it changed her life and made it remarkable.