It's been a rough week for my sweet baby girl. If you happened to notice when I wrote my last post, I mentioned that her ear infections were "gone for the moment." That is because her poor little ears were clear for all of three days. Three glorious days! I noticed my sweet girl was a little cranky Sunday afternoon and felt a bit warm to the touch. She also wanted to lay around a lot instead of her typical playful self which wasn't a good sign. My first thoughts were that she was coming down with another ear infection but just didn't think that was possible. She had only been off of the antibiotics for a few days now, is it possible that the ear infections could have really returned so quickly? The ENT told us just a few days ago that her ears had cleared up.
As expected, Sunday night was rough. Jillian was up every few hours for several hours at a time. She had a over a 100 degree fever and kept grabbing at her ears. I was mentally and physically exhausted, I can only imagine how my poor, sweet girl felt. Monday morning I called off of work and immediately made an appointment with our pediatrician.
Our pediatrician took one look at Jillian's ears and told us "they were a mess". Her solution was to give Jillian a very strong antibiotic shot. The shot was terrible, it's done with a very long needle and I am told is very painful for them. The whole experience was just awful, Jillian cried and I cried right along with her. I felt so badly that she was going through this again and nothing seemed to be working for her. I was also very concerned that Jillian was receiving so much medication at such a young age. Her tubes surgery couldn't come fast enough.
After another rough night on Monday, our pediatrician wanted to see us again on Tuesday to give her round two of the antibiotic shot. The shot was just as awful as it had been the day before. There were tears all around from both of us. We left the pediatrician's office with instructions to give her a call if Jillian's fever didn't subside.
Tuesday night was just as awful, if not worse as the past few nights. Jillian cried out in her sleep at 1am, 2am, and 3am. By 4am she had completely woken up and then so was I. I did manage to get her back to sleep by 4:30am, but knew I had to get up in an hour anyway for work. Jeff had decided to stay at home with Jillian for the day while I went into the office to try to get caught up on a few things. My day at work was horrible. I was so sleep deprived, my eyes and head hurt, and the Mommy guilt I felt for being at work and not at home with Jillian was more than I could bare. Thoughts of quitting again started floating around my head. Work is just so not worth it when your baby is sick. Once I arrived home, I knew I was starting to come down with something too. My body ached, I was tired, and I started to feel the chills come on. It never fails with me, when I am feeling overwhelmed and run down, I get sick so easily. So I started crying to Jeff how bad I felt for Jillian and how awful it was being at work while he was at home with her. I just felt horrible about everything. I was really at the end of my rope with Jillian's ear infections. After dealing with her chronic ear infections for the past two months, I am barely able to keep my head above water with work and everything else going on in our life. I am just really starting to feel helpless.
Jeff came to my rescue that night and luckily got Jillian to bed at a reasonable hour. We both celebrated his victory by also going to bed early and were asleep by 9:30. Our luck continued into the night and the three of us got a decent night of sleep. I decided to sleep in a bit and woke up around 6am as opposed to my normal 5am wake up time. I needed my sleep since I was also fighting off some kind of bug. After a quick shower, I got dressed and went to wake up Jillian for school. We decided to send her to daycare since her fever seemed to have subsided the day before and she had a good night sleep. While waking her, I put my hand on her forehead and checked for fever. I couldn't believe it, her head was as hot as ever! Ugh!!!!! This poor girl can't catch a break. I called off work for the second time that week and called the pediatrician. At this point, there was no way I could go into the office. I told myself to get over what was stressing me out at work and deal with it when I could return with a healthy baby at home. Sometimes as a working Mom you just have to let everything at work go and focus on your sick baby. I am slowly learning this!
Jillian just wasn't herself all morning. She threw up the medicine we gave her and all of her breakfast. Her temperature was around 102 and she was lethargic and clingy. I called the pediatrician's office as soon as they opened and the doctor told us to come in at 2pm which was her earliest opening. Since I still wasn't feeling that great either, we both laid around in my bed for most of the day. I let her nap in bed with me instead of putting her in her crib. A small treat for both baby and Mommy
I left for the doctor's office around 1:30pm in hopes of the doctor seeing us a little earlier. Our pediatrician's office is located within Cleveland Clinic's Hillcrest Hospital which is both an inconvenience and a perk all at the same time. A perk because we have all of the amenities of a first class hospital, an inconvenience because it is utter chaos all day long and trying to get in and out of there takes lots of patience and skill. I will typically use the valet service if I am not with Jeff. They are always so helpful in assisting me with my stroller, diaper bag, and my sick baby. The valet staff is sadly starting to get to know me since I have been to the pediatrician's office at least once a week since the end of August. They don't even ask me for my last name anymore when assigning me a valet ticket.
Once inside our pediatrician's office, she saw us immediately. She took a look at Jillian's ears and determined that they still were "a mess". She was also very concerned about Jillian's fever returning and that she was so lethargic. After further observations, she tells me that she needs to call Jillian's ENT right away and have them move up her tubes surgery. She also said she need to make a few more phone calls and excused herself from the examination room. After several minutes, she comes back into the room and says, I think she needs to be admitted to the hospital for further observation and some blood work. Her biggest concern is that she wasn't responding to any of the antibiotics that she was giving to her and that she was worried about dehydration with her high fever. She tells me to take Jillian immediately to the Pediatric wing of the hospital on the third floor and that they were expecting her. I wasn't expecting any of this. I knew Jillian was sick but the last thing I expected was for her to admit Jillian into the hospital. I was so upset, I called Jeff at work and sent a text to my family updating them on Jillian's condition. I rushed Jillian up to the Pediatric floor of the hospital and checked her in.
Jeff arrived at the hospital shortly after I called him and met us in the examination room. The next few hours were a whirlwind of blood work, tests, and the insertion of her IV. Each procedure was horrible. They all involved very large needles and each one brought Jillian a lot of tears and pain. I was a wreck but tried to keep it together. I had seen Jillian get so many shots and pricks with needles that week that I didn't want to upset her anymore by getting upset too. I tried to be strong for her because she kept looking at me like "Why are they doing this to me Mommy?" There is not a more helpless feeling in the world than seeing your child in pain, and I would have gladly switched places with her in a second if given the chance. After all of her tests were completed, they took us to Jillian's room.
Once we were settled into Jillian's room, she finally relaxed and completely passed out in my arms. The poor thing was exhausted from hours of crying. While Jillian was sound asleep on my chest, the hospital pediatrician came into the room to talk to us. It turned out that not only was Jillian slightly dehydrated, she also had a virus. She also explained to us that Jillian's ears looked like the infection was clearing up. She said it was obvious to her that there had been a chronic infection going on in her ears, however, the current infection had just about cleared up. It was a virus that was now causing the high fever, vomiting, and lethargic behavior. This was why our pediatrician was so confused to why the antibiotics weren't bringing down her fever. It was great to finally have some answers and that we weren't just sent home again with instruction to try another antibiotic. Our pediatrician had done the right thing by admitting us into the hospital for testing.
After hearing all of the results from Jillian's tests, we felt so much better. We had also heard our pediatrician got a hold of our ENT and was able to move up Jillian's surgery for this coming week instead of our original appointment scheduled in November. The rest of the evening was spent making sure that Jillian was hydrated, well fed, and comfortable. I was pleasantly surprised that all of the nurses who were assigned to Jillian were the same nurses who helped us when we had to stay over night in the hospital on Christmas Day for Jillian's jaundice. Jillian was only four days old at that point. All of the familiarity of the situation made me think back to how things were when Jillian was four days old compared to how she was at ten months old. What a different person I was! I remember crying at the drop of a hat with every question that the doctor asked, every test result we received, and every time Jillian would cry. Let's face it, I was a hot mess. A very overwhelmed, very sleep deprived and very hormonal new Mom. With everything that was going on with Jillian today, I can honestly say that I have really grown more comfortable and confident in myself as a Mom.
I found this picture on Jeff's cell phone from when Jillian was under the Bilirubin lights that Christmas night in the hospital. She looks so small and helpless. This new baby had felt so foreign to me at the time. I had no clue on how to help her.
Here is my sweet girl today in her hospital crib, AKA, baby jail.
The nurses had to place Jillian's IV in her foot since the veins in her arm weren't large enough to support an IV. You can see how they placed a support over her foot to protect it from little fingers trying to pry it off.
Trying to wave even though she didn't feel good.
Still able to give us a smile.
After a typical night in the hospital, one that consisted of constant night awakenings by the nurses asking me hundred of questions, we headed home with a happier and healthier Jillian. Her highest fever over night only hovered around 99.1. Her appetite had returned that morning and we were given our discharge papers by noon. It felt so good to go home with some answers, a new surgery date, and our own beds waiting for us. We all took a three hour nap as soon as we arrived at home from the hospital. No better medicine could have been prescribed.
Jillian and I happy to be home.