My Breastfeeding Badges of Honor

I hereby decree the demise of the month of MAY.

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Once again, the entire month of May sucks! If you are confused by this declaration, read here first and then come back to this post. Now on with the post. Here is what my past week has looked like. (Sound familiar? You have no idea.)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Okay, let's be honest here. After the week before, I have no idea what I did on Saturday. I could go and check my datebook but I don't think I have anything written in there either. So...moving right along...

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

My little brother Zach graduated from high school today. I had planned to go to the ceremony. In fact, I really, really, really wanted to go to the ceremony. It just wasn't meant to be. Between all the craziness the week before, my body was done. My body just couldn't go anymore. Besides the fact that my body had been pushed beyond it's point of no return, Emmett John woke up this morning running a fever of 101 degrees. Now this alone didn't concern me too terriblly much. It was the fever coupled with the fact that he was near inconsolible that had me concerned. But it was a low grade fever so I didn't think too much about it. Then as night fell (of course) his fever jumped to 103 and the Tylenol stopped being effective. He was still completely inconsolible to boot. At about 10 o'clock that night Rob and I made the decision to take him to the Emergency Room. Rob stayed at home with Elliott Richard and Gavin because Elliott Richard hasn't been feeling well off and on for the last few weeks. And Trisha and I took Mr. Emmett John to the local ER.

We got there and got him registered. Then we waited. For 4 hours we waited. Finally, at about 2:00 or 2:30 am they called us back. By then he had the Tylenol in his system for 4 hours and his fever was slowly returning. They gave him the once over and the all clear - no ear infection, strep throat, croup/pneumonia etc. Then they gave him some Motrin and told me to alternate Children's (not Infant's) Motrin and Tylenol until his fever broke and sent us home. They offered to do a chest x-ray if it would make me feel better but since the doctor didn't feel a need for one, I didn't see why we should torture him. The three of us got home at about 3:00 am or so. Climbed into bed and passed out.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Happy Memorial Day to all!

We were supposed to go to a picnic at Rob's parents' house but since Mr. Emmett John was still running his 103.3 degree fever we opted to stay home. Nothing with Emmett John had changed at this point. He was still running his crazy high fever. He was still inconsolible - to the point where if I offered him a breast, he would bite me. He also still had diarrhea - for the past 3 weeks. We were alternating the Motrin and the Tylenol. I was taking his temp every time he was due for Motrin because honestly, the Tylenol wasn't doing squat. And his temp was still consistantly 103.3 - 103.5 degrees. He was sleeping, fussing, eating, fussing - lather, rinse, repeat. At one point we tried to call the answering service at Dr. H's office but the phone just rang and no one ever answered. In the end, we just kept doing what we were doing and went to bed early.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

First thing Tuesday morning I called and made appointments for all three boys to see the doctor. Dr. H wasn't in the office but we were going to see one of the other partners. Then as the morning went on Rob and I decided that it was more important to get Emmett John in now. Gavin and Elliott Richard could wait.

So Aunt Trisha and I took Mr. Emmett John in to see Dr. C at about 11:00 am. He weighed 21lb 8oz, which is loss of about 5oz from the week before. Then we saw the doctor. She looked him over and agreed with the ER, proclaiming it to be a virus and said we should call if he began vomiting or his fever jumped up etc. So again, we came. We saw. We left with a very sick little boy and no answers or help.

Jump to about 10 or 11:00 pm that night...I'm on the phone with Dr. C. Emmett John's fever is now 104 degrees. He hasn't had a wet diaper since 11:00am that morning. And his chronic diarrhea 5-7 times a day for 3 weeks has just stopped. He does nothing but scream, claw at my face, bite me - where ever he can get ahold of and scream some more. He won't nurse. Everytime I try and nurse him, he latches on and takes a few sips before biting me hard and pulling off and screaming some more. Dr. C said that she would support me taking him back to the ER, if that's what I wanted to do. She said if I felt comfortable enough I could take the next 4 hours and try and get him to lay down with me and nurse. If he nursed, then we could call first thing in the morning and make another appointment. If he didn't nurse, then I was to take him straight to the ER for blood work and IV fluids.

So my sister went home and we went to bed. Praying the whole way. I laid down with Mr. Emmett John and explained the situation. Said one more prayer and tried to nurse him. Wonders never cease, he nursed! So we all got comfy and went to sleep. Crisis averted...or so we thought...

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I remember waking up at like 2 or 3:00 am and thinking Emmett John was due for his Motrin but he wasn't hot or even warm. Then I remember thinking "Thank God! His fever's finally broken!" before I fell back to sleep.

At 5:00 am Mr. Emmett John woke up screaming. Rob and I woke up scared out of our minds because that is not how he usually wakes up. I checked him and he was burning up. Rob runs for the Motrin, Tylenol and themometer. I give him the meds and take his temp. It's now 104.5 degrees. I'm done playing games. This has gone on too long.

Rob is trying to call the answering service at Dr. H's office. It's still just ringing - much like on Memorial Day. I got dressed and woke up my sister. Got Emmett John ready. And prepared to return to the ER. Mama is through playing games.

We walked into the ER. They checked him in. Took his vitals. Took him back to a room. A PA came in and asked questions. I told her everything. The temp. The fact that it was now 6:30 am and he had wet 1 diaper in 19+ hours. The diarrhea. The screaming. The refusal to nurse. EVERYTHING. A nurse came in to check his vitals again. I told her everything as well. The stupid doctor with a God-complex came in and I told him everything. He looked at my baby and told me it was a virus. He said "his mouth is still moist and he has a few tears so there is nothing wrong with him and I won't torture him with blood work and an IV to make you feel better" - his exact words. Then he stormed from the room. He tried to slam the door except the doors are spring loaded and don't slam. But he tried.

The nurse came back with Zofran for the nausea my baby didn't have. When we questioned her on it, she couldn't come up with a good reason other than "the doctor ordered it and I have to give it to him". Then she gave him Motrin and a bottle of orange Gatorade. I turned to her...this nice nurse...a caring woman...and I begged her for help. I cried and I begged. I told her that I understand they have the degrees and I'm "just the mother", however, this is my baby. There is something seriously wrong but they won't listen. I begged her to make them listen and if they wouldn't listen, I begged her to page Dr. H. She said she couldn't page Dr. H, only Dr. God-complex could do that. She said she would talk to him. She never came back. It's now 8:00 am and we've been there for an hour and a half.

At 8:30 am two new nurses come in, to "torture my son to make me feel better" per Dr. God-complex. They took his blood - twice because the first set clotted from sitting. Then they gave him an IV. Emmett John screamed. I sobbed. His right hand and inner elbows are bruised from these women. I feel horrible. When they were done I sobbed to my sister. Begging her for reassurance that she would tell me if she felt this were unnecessary. She said she would tell me. I sobbed with my baby because these "professionals" were causing me to question myself, my gut, my mother's instinct. When I know that I know my child better than they do. We sat there while 350cc's of fluid ran into my little boy. Then at 9:30 am the PA returned.

She marched into our room. She did not make eye contract. She starred at the wall to the left of Trisha when she spoke. She spoke quickly and then she left. This is what she said to me:

"The labs came back on your son. They were perfect. There is nothing medically wrong with your son. If he gets worse, please bring him back in. Whatever you believe, we are in the business of helping people here."

My baby hadn't urinated in 21+ hours at that point. He wouldn't nurse. He was running a fever of 104.5 degrees. And yet "there is nothing medically wrong with your son". As if this weren't enough, one of the butchers - I mean nurses who did his IV came in to discharge us. She felt the need to comment on the fact that Emmett John does not take a bottle.

Her: So he's 11 months old and doesn't take a bottle?
Me: Yes.
Her: You still nurse him? (As if it's a nasty, dirty thing to do.)
Me: Yes.
Her: You should wean him immediately and put him on a bottle.
Me: No. Where do I sign so we can leave?

I was horrified, mortified and stupified. My beloved hospital, that I hold in the highest esteem, had let me down. I was born there. All three of my boys were born there. I go there for everything. I absolutely love my hospital. And here I was, devastated by this experience. Crushed by the PA who knew nothing. Insulted by Dr. God-complex. More than a little irritated by the nurse who was obiviously offended by the idea of my nursing my 11 month old. Who were these horrible people? How had they been allowed to work in "my" hospital?! I felt so let down.

We came home and I was completely defeated at that point. I was ready to give up and quit fighting. Clearly the professionals knew something I did not, and perhaps it was time for me to just call it quits. Rob and I got into a horrible argument. I don't remember what it was about. All I remember is that in the end he said I couldn't give up. That if I wasn't going to fight for our boys, who would. That I knew them better than anyone else and they needed me to be their voice. And so I fought on.

I called Dr. H's office. Linda answered the phone. I love Linda. She is one of the floating nurses so sometimes she takes care of us. I told her everything as well. Including the nightmare ER story. She said that since he had seen Dr. C last she needed to tell Dr. C everything. I begged her to tell Dr. H as well. In the end, she said that Emmett was such a complicated case that she was just going to go straight to Dr. H and she would call me back.

About an half hour later, Linda called me back. She had spoken with Dr. H and while he was booked solid because he had taken a few days vacation over the long weekend (imagine the nerve! j/k) he wanted us to see Dr. K. Now you might remember that I don't really care for Dr. K per this post here. So I was a little less than thrilled with this arrangement. But this was the partner that Dr. H wanted us to see, so we would see her. Besides, could she really be any worse than Dr. God-complex?!

So 11:15am Emmett John and I arrived at the office and were whisked away by one of our favorite nurses, Mel. Mel just adore Emmett John so we always love seeing her. I told Mel about our morning trip to the ER and she was shocked. Then Dr. K came in the room. I went back to the beginning - back to when I took Emmett in for the hoarseness and we started the Zyrtec, which made him super grumpy and we thought caused the diarrhea. Then we stopped the Zyrtec, which stopped the grumpies but the diarrhea kept going etc etc etc. When I had finished, she asked me if he always looked that pale and yellow. Nope. She didn't like his color. She didn't like that one minute he seemed okay and then the next he was screaming bloody murder, clawing at my face and biting any part of me he could reach (literally). She said that she and Dr. H had discussed the case before we got there and wanted to admit him to either the local hospital (where we had been in the ER that morning) or the local Children's Hospital. I asked her if she felt he needed to be in the Children's Hospital, if he was that bad. She said if it were surgical, she would send him there in a heart beat but if I was okay with the local hospital, that he would be well taken care of there. I agreed since they were going to admit him and bypass the ER. She then asked if someone could bring me my things because while she didn't think he needed the Children's Hospital just yet, she didn't want me to go home. She wanted me to take him straight there. (Oy.)

She called the Peds Unit and made all the arrangements for me. Then she sent us on our way. On our way out, I stopped to thank her. At which point, I burst into tears. I stood in the hallway, holding Emmett John and sobbing. Telling her how grateful I was for her. For her willingness to just listen to me. That she didn't blow me off. She didn't treat me as a crazy, over-protective mom. That she understood that maybe I do know my children better than she does. And just because his mouth is still a little moist and he sheds a tear or two, doesn't mean he isn't dehydrated...once a baby's mouth is dry and he stops producing tears - it's too late. She hugged me and asked me to call and give her an update. I promised I would. And we left. It was 12noon.

Emmett John and I made it to the hospital at about 12:15pm. We were in the Peds Unit, in his first room by 12:30pm. Registration was taken care of and vitals taken by 1:00pm.

21lb 13oz (way off)
29.75in (again, way off)
94% O2 levels
114/57 BP

His nurse, Cara, was super nice. She liked to call him "Sug", like "sugar" without the "ar". He liked the crib, which I find humorous since he's never his own at home. He hated the scrubs/pajamas. They ordered him full meals because he is 11 months old and apparently at 11 months old, he should be eating more than me! (Who knew?!) He loved the breaded chicken breast. Thought the mashed potatoes were okay. Had fun picking up the corn kernels. But mainly ate the applesauce.

They did a cath to get a urinalysis. His bladder was empty except for 10 drops. (No joke.) So they put a bag over his penis, which he hated just as much as the cath. Then they took his blood, which angered him to the point of squeezing a bit of pee out. At the point the plan was to try and get 10 oz into him every hour by mouth. If we could do that, then we wouldn't plan an IV. We tried applesauce. Nope. We tried Gatorade. Nope. He didn't like their sippies. We tried pudding. Nope. Finally, against all odds (because he really hadn't nursed much in two days) I tried to nurse him. Wonders never cease (again), he nursed! IV avoided for the time being. At this point I asked the nurse if they had a room with a crib for him and a bed for me, since I would be sleeping there to nurse him to try and avoid the IV. She pulled some strings and *poof* Emmett John and I were in a double room. :)

Grandma W and Aunt Trisha came up and visited us for a bit before we switched room, which was nice. I mean the nurses were all lovely. And Dr. Tim, Dr. Mike, Dr. De are all wonderful. But they don't have time to chat. And the TV is only so entertaining. Emmett John isn't much for conversation. So it was nice to see some "big people" for a little bit, ya know? :) lol

Once we were in our new room, Daddy came up and visited us and brought me some McDonalds. (Yippee!) We hung out for a little while but he went home early because he was sick (and looked horrible). So it was just Mr. Emmett John and myself. It actually worked out pretty well, Rob being sick just then because Gavin was with my parents. And Elliott Richard was with Rob's parents. So at least he got to go home and actually get a little bit of undisturbed rest, which is a difficult thing to come by in our house.

I tried a few times, unsuccessfully, to get Emmett John to sleep and put him in the crib. It worked really well when he was hospitalized at 2 months old for suspected sleep apnea but no dice this time around. Finally, I ended up taking him to bed and surrounding us with the half dozen pillows and nursing him to sleep. (Score! More nursing!) When our super cool nurse came in (of course, I can't remember her name now) I told her, "Look, I'll be honest. I co-sleep at home. I tried to put him in the crib but it's just not happening. If you talk to Dr. Mike, he was my pediatrician for like 6 years. He'll tell you that I a) know what I'm doing and b) do it safely." She said the hospital recognizes that moms co-sleep now and it's viable "life-style choice" (???) and I just have to sign a paper saying I am "blantantly refusing to place my child in the crib". (Oy vay.) Whatever. I signed the silly paper. Emmett John and I slept all night - well, he slept all night and nursed all night, which means I didn't really sleep at all. But that's a sacrifice I was willing to make. :)

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Bright and early Thursday morning, our nurse and a lab tech woke us up. And by "bright and early" what I really mean is 6:00am! The lab tech was perfectly nice and all, but she was a bit much at least for that early in the morning. Since Emmett John and I happened to be snuggling in bed when they burst into the room, I was "lucky" enough to get the job of holding him down while "Super Happy Lab Tech" poked him. (Yippee?) After that we got to snuggle for a while. Then the doctors made their rounds. They said that Emmett's labs from last night were a slight improvement over the ER labs taken that morning. (Dr. De also made it a point to say that whoever told me his morning labs were perfect was clearly mistaken because they weren't. His morning labs showed he was definitely becoming dehydrated. Thank you Dr. God-complex. We were still waiting on his morning labs since they had just been take not that long ago. Dr. De felt that his morning labs would again be an improvement from both last night and yesterday morning. As long as that held true, we would be going home - hopefully before lunch! :)

After Dr. De and Dr. S left, we snuggled some more until breakfast arrived. Emmett had some scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, plain Cheerios (lol) and Baby Mum Mum snacks. We had a highchair in our room so he sat and had a blast. While I got to sit and eat my breakfast in peace, for once. After that, we snuggled and hung out some more until around 10:00 am. That's when Dr. De came back in and gave us the all clear!

We could go home! :)

Emmett John was released with the understanding that if his fever returned, he stopped eating or stopped urinating again I was to call them and bring him back to the Peds Unit - not the ER. Also his morning bloodwork was better but still not where they wanted it to be. So she gave me order for more bloodwork. She said I had to have the blood draw done first thing Wednesday morning (that was yesterday - Yes, I'm still working on this on Thursday June 4th.) and follow that with an appointment with Dr. H that afternoon.

The rest of Wednesday was spent at home (Yay!) napping and snuggling and nursing. (Double yay!)

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Oh come on now, you didn't really think that was the end of our week, did you?! I mean, if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you've figured out that my family doesn't do anything the easy way and they don't do anything half way either.

Friday morning started out okay. Then it quickly became apparent that Emmett John was doing okay again but Gavin needed to be seen by the pediatrician. So I called Dr. H's office, again. Dr. H didn't have any available appointments but Dr. K did so Rob and I took him in to see Dr. K. Trisha stayed with the babies because Gavin needed to have some bloodwork done and depending on what Dr. K found, we were going to try and have it done while we were there.

We got there. We checked in. The nurse weighed him and we learned that he's gained 10lbs since January!!! Holy cow! It took him nearly three years to gain the last 10lbs he managed to put on.

(I just spent an hour finishing this post and when I hit "post" my internet crapped out on me in mid post. So not only did it not post it but it lost everything I had just worked so hard on! ARGH! Moving right along...)

When Dr. K came in she came him the once over and determined that he has a pretty nasty sinus infection. In fact, she said that the first round of antibiotics may not be enough to kill it off. She also that although we had hoped to get his routine bloodwork for his Depakote levels, LFT's and CBC out of the way while we were there we wouldn't be able to do that. She felt that with him as sick as he was it was bound to throw his LFT's and CBC off. So the bloodwork was a no good. Of course Gavin was thrilled. :)

In the end, we went home with a prescription for horse pills for Gavin. Then we spent the rest of the day resting, napping and trying to recover.

Saturday, May 30th, 2009 & Sunday, May 31st, 2009

And of course in true Cheerio fashion, things just kept on getting better. It wasn't enough that Emmett John was recovering from his fever and diarrhea, which had come back (the diarrhea not the fever). Gavin was sick, which just makes him grumpy-er. And then Elliott Richard spiked a fever of 102-103 degrees. Elliott being sick and running a fever adds a whole new layer to an otherwise "dull" weekend - because you know our lives are so dull and without excitement.

Elliott Richard being being sick amounts to our weekend going something like this:

Motrin every 6 hours.
Hours 1 and 2: he's super grumpy and inconsolable.
Hours 3 and 4: he's perfectly normal.
Hour 5: he's passed out cold.
Hour 6: he returns to super grumpy and inconsolable.

At night, forget about it. He sleeps for little bits at a time. But mostly he tosses and turns except for Hour 5 when he's passed out cold. Emmett John is still co-sleeping and nursing at night so I had him. Plus he's been nursing all night long trying to make up for lost time while he was sick and not nursing at all. So Rob "volunteered" to "sleep" on the couches with Elliott Richard. And by "sleep" I mean Elliott slept and tossed and turned while Rob stayed up all night and kept an eye on him and helped him back to sleep.

That was how it went...all weekend long. By Sunday night, we were all driving each other crazy. The boys were getting on each others' nerves. Rob and I were getting on each others' nerves. We were fighting like crazy. It was just a bad situation overall.

So again I say, I hereby decree the demise of the month of MAY. Period. End of story. If you unfortunate enough to have a birthday and/or anniversary in the month of May, then you can choose to now have it either in the month of April or the month of June. The choice is your's but it must be made because I'm sick of this crap and I'm not doing it next year. I'm done.

Seriously. I want out.


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