Wednesday, January 9, 2013
When Caroline was two and a half weeks old, she gave us a pretty good scare. She was such a good baby, ate and slept as well as can be expected from a newborn and was hardly ever fussy. She had just had her two-week check up and everything was perfect. Then one day I started to notice that she was seeming to sleep more than normal, and she didn't want to eat as much. Then by the evening she was getting really fussy and just wasn't acting like herself. As the evening went on she started to feel a little warm to me, and she just wanted to be held close, anytime I had to move her she would start screaming. I kept taking her temperature but could never get a consistent reading. I started to get more and more worried and was up the whole night with her wondering what I should do. I knew that fevers in newborns were really dangerous, but I wasn't sure if Caroline really had a fever or not. And I knew that if I took her into the ER that they would run all sorts of tests on her, and I didn't want to put her through that unless it was absolutely necessary. But by the time morning finally arrived I knew my little baby was sick, so I called her pediatrician's office as soon as they opened and they told me to take her to the ER. Luckily it was Brannick's late start day at work, so I left him home with Ella and headed to the hospital. Caroline's temperature in triage was 101.2, and the ER doctor explained that because of the fever Caroline would need a lumbar puncture, blood cultures, catheterized urine sample, chest x-ray, and would be admitted for IV antibiotics. The doctor asked if I wanted to be in the room while he did the lumbar puncture, and I decided that it probably wouldn't be a good idea. I went out to the waiting room and completely lost it, my brand new little baby was very sick. I called Brannick and told him what was happening. He made a few phone calls and found a wonderful family in our ward to watch Ella and also got a hold of our stake president and his wife who had called me while I was on my way to the hospital wanting to stop by to visit. They came right over to the hospital and I was so grateful to have them there as a support. I was finally able to go back into the room and Caroline had done great with the LP, and the nurses got her IV in with the first stick. By then Brannick had arrived and Caroline's pediatrician had gotten there too. It was her day off and the ER doctor called her while she was grocery shopping. She said she dropped her groceries off at her office and headed straight to the hospital. During her exam she found that Caroline was very tachycardic (fast heart rate) and her fontanelle was bulging (pressure in her brain). During the whole night she had been sick I kept checking her fontanelle to make sure it wasn't depressed, because I was worried about her being dehydrated, it didn't even occur to me that it was bulging. The ER nurses (while very excellent) weren't moving fast enough for the pediatrician, so she said, "we're going to the nursery," so I picked up my baby and we walked through the hospital to the nursery. Once there they immediately gave her an IV fluid bolus, hooked her up to all sorts of monitors, and started three different IV antibiotics and one anti-viral. Once things settled down a little bit Brannick and our Stake President were finally able to give her a priesthood blessing. And then we started to get some test results back. The results from the LP showed elevated white blood cells, which was indicative of meningitis. This was a really scary diagnosis at first because we didn't know if it was bacterial (very dangerous) or viral (not as serious) meningitis. Then we got the first blood work back and it showed that it was more likely viral meningitis, but the doctor couldn't be sure yet. I absolutely love our pediatrician, and she told me that at this point she felt comfortable taking care of Caroline at our small hospital, but if that changed, or if I at anytime wanted to be transferred to a larger more specialized hospital in Eugene she would do it. And if it came back that Caroline had bacterial meningitis, or if any of her cultures came back positive, we would be sent to a larger hospital. Luckily we never had to do that. The first cultures came back negative, and Caroline began to stabilize. One of the hardest parts for me was that I couldn't hold her or feed her at all that first day, and it broke me heart seeing my brand new little baby so sick. The night nurse finally kicked me out of the nursery and ordered me to get some sleep, since I hadn't slept at all the night before. The next days all blur together as I watched my baby slowly improve, and cultures continued to come back negative. I was finally able to feed her small amounts and I would spend my days in the nursery holding her and visiting with the nurses, all of whom were fantastic. The interesting thing was that Caroline continued to have a fever the whole time she was in the hospital, I think the highest it got was 105.1. But the pediatrician said that it was a good sign that she continued to have a fever with all the antibiotics she was on, it was another indication that it was viral meningitis and not bacterial. I stayed in the hospital the whole time with Caroline. Brannick would take Ella to the Davis Family's house in the morning and would go to work. Then he would pick her up in the evening (along with a meal from our people in our ward) and they would come to the hospital for a few hours. I would then spend time with Ella and Brannick would go to the nursery and hold Caroline (Ella wasn't allowed in the nursery). It was a terrible stressful time for Brannick and I, but Ella had lots of fun playing at the Davis's. Finally after four days in the hospital Caroline was well enough to go home. All of the cultures and blood work remained negative, which meant that Caroline had viral meningitis, which isn't contagious and isn't too dangerous. The pediatrician even gave us the okay to take Caroline on an airplane and go to Arizona the next weekend for my brother Nate's wedding. I am so grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses that took care of Caroline, and I know it was the power of prayers and priesthood blessings that helped our beautiful little Caroline get better so quickly. I am also so grateful for wonderful friends and members of our church who took such good care of our family during this time. And most of all I am grateful for my beautiful and healthy baby Caroline!