Sunday, January 12, 2014

#4 - Journal Entry from December 19, 2010

It was evening by the time the ambulance made it to the bigger hospital.  They took Bryer right up to the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and got her settled in a room.  I remember there were more tests, scans, and blood pokes, but I can't remember the order of everything.  They couldn’t access any of her tiny veins so they put a central line in at her clavicle to have better access and a quicker response to her system.  There was paperwork to sign and forms to fill out.  This part was all a blur.  I was happy to have Jason there by my side.  We watched as the doctors and nurses hooked Bryer up to oxygen, tubes, needles, and monitors while we stepped out of the way.  They tried to make her comfortable as she just looked like she was sleeping through all the commotion.  In my mind I pictured this bigger hospital having all the answers to cure my baby.  Now it looked like more intervention was needed, not less. 

Sometime late in the evening the admitting doctor pulled us aside.  His voice was frank and serious.  He told us we had a very sick baby.  Her brain was swelling, as noted with her soft spot being slightly raised.  He told us they didn’t know if she was going to make it, but they would do the best they could.  Then he paused and shifted his weight uncomfortably.  He told us that one of the scans had come back showing a fractured skull.  I didn’t understand and was trying to get past the part of him telling us they didn't know if she was going to make it.  My thoughts were interrupted by Jason's voice, "The first scan done at the other hospital didn’t show a fracture."  The doctor explained that with swelling sometimes the fracture will show up in a later scan once it has split apart.  He said knowing where it is now, they should be able to go back to the first scan and see it.  He went on with his monotone voice, explaining that when they see signs like this that they have a responsibility to call in the authorities.  The authorities?  Who was that?  I thought these doctors were the best.  Was there someone better?  I was confused at what that meant.  He went on, telling us that an investigator would be here tonight to question Jason and I separately on what happened to Bryer.  The authorities.  It never crossed my mind that they would think we were responsible for this! 
I remember feeling numb from his comments.  I was not worried in the slightest.  Obviously the investigator would interview us for our statements, put the pieces together, and find that we were great parents and would never harm any of our children.  Whatever it took to get past that thought so we could move on to how to really help Bryer!  What an absurd thought this poor doctor had!  All we needed to do was tell the truth and they would see. 

Midnight rolled around and we sat by Bryer's bedside, still waiting for the investigator.  Jason and I made do with the small window seat as a place to both rest in Bryer’s hospital room, not wanting to leave her; our own comfort being set aside.  At one point one of the nurses arranged to bring up a breast pump from the newborn unit to relieve me.  I hid behind a curtain to pump milk for my sweet baby.  I hoped to hold her, to snuggle her, to enjoy the time I had feeding her just like I had that morning.  Instead I heard beeping monitors, humming machines, and couldn't even reach to see her. 

We waited longer.  Finally about 1:00 am the investigator came in and asked to speak with me first.  She took me to a room down the hall where a social worker was sitting in to hear our conversation.  She asked me to recount the day.  I thought that Bryer’s fussiness through the weekend may have clues into the state she was in now.  I offered more details than the investigator asked for as she took notes on the weekend.  I had chalked up her crankiness to the milk intolerance she had when I had milk products in my system that got into my breast milk.  Maybe I had missed something.  Could I have mistaken her fussiness? 
It was a full weekend with Jason’s brother, his wife, and their five kids at our house for Christmas festivities.  We had taken all the kids around to craft stations in our little town with Bryer riding in my front pack.  The kids sat on Santa’s lap, and we enjoyed our church Christmas party.  Having 10 kids in the house was the best kind of chaos for me, but now I worried that maybe I missed some of Bryer’s early sickness signs as a result of just being distracted.  I recounted all the details of the weekend up through our day on Sunday. 

Bryer hadn’t slept well Saturday night, but that was to be expected only being 2 ½ months old.  Her sleep schedule still wasn’t set and I slept part of the night in the rocking chair next to her bed with her on my lap.  Every time I laid her down she woke up, so I’d nurse her back to sleep and try again, adamant about her sleeping in her own bed and breaking the habit of her being in our room. 

Not sleeping good led to Bryer having a cranky morning at church and standing up in the back with her to sway back and forth so she would be content.  I nursed her in the mother's lounge during Sunday School and then she sat in her car seat, rocking her with my foot, while I taught the 3 and 4 year olds about Jesus's birth.  She was out of my arms for only a few minutes that day as I got my classroom set up while a friend took her from me and ooo'ed an ahh'ed over her.  Had I missed something?  A warning sign?  Was her fussiness not really because of the milk intolerance?  I gave the investigator all the details I could think of that would help her and the doctors to help Bryer. 

I remember the investigator asking about how Jason is with the kids - if he yells or ever hits them.  These were such absurd questions!  Obviously I had recounted every detail of the weekend and our Sunday.  And now she was moving on to Jason?  He wasn't even there when I found her not breathing!  It was such a strange, draining, tiring feeling as the hours wore on.  Was she just not getting it?  I wanted to get back to my baby; to go back home and snuggle her up in our bed and forget about trying to wean her to her own crib.  The social worker sat on the couch on the other side of the room, doodling on her paper and picking at her nails.  Soon after the investigator said she was finished and walked me back to the room to trade for Jason. 

As Jason left, I looked around the room, so overly tired, but not wanting to sleep.  I saw the big glass doors we quietly slid open and shut to come in and out.  The nurses station was right outside our door with Bryer's very own nurse looking in - not to have to share her with other little patients in our unit.  I hid behind the curtain and pumped more milk, even though they wouldn't use it for Bryer right now.  One of the other nurses showed me how to label it and where to store it in the freezer down the hall in the kitchen.  All this pumping and storing seemed new to me even though I had nursed my fair share of babies.  Bryer wasn't using it now, but at some point she would and I wanted to keep my milk supply up for her.  I only wanted her to have the best that I could give her. 

Sometime later I tried to get comfy on the window seat in Bryer's room.  It didn't feel like I slept long before Jason woke me up.  It was about 5:00 in the morning.  My mind was so drowsy, but I tried to be alert to all that was going on.  The nurse came in and out, checking Bryer's monitors and taking her vitals.  They had given her medicine to induce a coma in order to let her brain relax.  I tried to remember something they had said about seizures.  I never remember seeing seizures; or at least they didn't look like Sawyr's seizures he had when he was little.  I tried to concentrate through my foggy brain on updates the nurse was telling me.  I decided it was time to get up and pump again while I tried to wake up my brain and hear what Jason had to say about his interview. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Krissi, for sharing your heart with us. I am grateful for your example.