I need to write about Sunday night. About being in the ER and Ashlin getting the IV. At least some of it. After I get it out, I can go back to happy posts, posts about dancing sticks and hair-clip boards and footprint art and cruising and talking.
Stu and I had been keeping an eye on Ashlin all day Sunday. After being in the ER for dehydration, we were very aware of each and every not-wet diaper, of how she was drying out. She didn’t want to drink anything, not water, not the pedialyte. She wasn’t nursing well. Somehow, saltines were all she wanted. We kept trying to get her to drink, kept using a syringe to get some fluid into her, against her will. Force-feeding her pedialyte was not fun.
By 3:30, about 20 hours after the last half-hearted visit by the “tinkle fairy,” we were pretty sure that we were going to need to go back to the ER. Again. That she was getting too dehydrated. Again. Called the on-call doctor, who was the same one we dealt with Saturday. It was nice having a bit of continuity. She confirmed that we did have to go back. She also said that we really needed to give her the IV fluids, that the “topping off” would give her a chance to maintain a normal fluid level instead of fighting what seemed to be an uphill battle of regaining moisture.
Great. An IV. I was really hoping we wouldn’t need to, but wanted to do the right think for my baby.
So, this time we were a bit calmer about heading out, or at least I was. Stu suggested picking up drive-through, as the night before I got to dine on stale peanut butter crackers and saltines. We swapped out the toys in the diaper bag, put her in a romper not footie pj’s.
Just like we did on Saturday night, Stu stayed home with Teagan, I took Ashlin. As I was driving down to the ER, I kept wishing I could have Stu there, that he could help. I wondered if friends in town would have taken her for the night, or if we could have gotten a sitter at the last minute. I really didn’t want to be there alone with Ashlin when they gave her the IV. I wasn’t scared that she’d be upset with me, but I wanted someone to support me as I was supporting her. Oh, well. We did what we had to do.
Everyone was wonderful as we went through triage and waited and then were brought back to a room. The residents, doctors, head nurse were friendly and concerned. They asked me to try to get as much pedialyte into her before the attending finally did take us seriously. They did try to talk us out of doing the IV, as Ashlin was her usual charming self, and I so wanted to be talked out of it. But I also didn’t want to be back the next night with a baby that couldn’t make tears when she cried. They respected that. I also knew that our pediatrician had called in instructions to do the IV, and would reiterate that if needed.
After a few hours, it was finally time for the IV. A Child Life person came in to talk to me about the procedure and to help distract Ashlin. Two nurses came in to place the IV, one ended up helping to hold Ashlin down, as my baby fought the one nurse. The Child Life tech and I also had to help hold her down. She cried. She flailed. She tried to get away. She cried. There were no tears. My heart broke.
Not even two minutes after getting the IV placed, she was sitting up and playing. It helped that the CL tech brought a stacking ring toy, one that she loves that we don’t have at home. She was smiling. She got to play for a little bit, but then I swaddled her up, as it was almost 9:00 and she was wide awake. And curious. Eventually, she fell asleep. The main nurse turned the lights down and set the IV machine, only needing to uncover Ashlin’s hand, as I swaddled her with that hand accessible. Ashlin barely noticed, she was so tired by then.
I’m not sure why, but I ended up adjusting her blanket, or adjusting a foot, or something and noticed that she was wet. Very wet. At first I thought maybe she had peed her diaper so much it exploded. Then I realized that it had to be from the IV. There wasn’t any way Ashlin would have had that much pee in her that quickly. It’s not like she crossed her legs for a day to hold it in. I called the nurse, and they came to fix it, something was loose, the IV hadn’t come out. They changed the bed and gave me new blankets. I didn’t have anything but a short sleeved onsie in the diaper bag, so left her in the slightly damp romper. Reswaddle. Rock to sleep.
After she got the initial round of fluid, the attending came back in to talk to me and to see how Ashlin was reacting. Ashlin was a charming and sweet baby, alert and playful, even after being woken up. The attending mentioned that they gave her about 300ml of fluid, and that sometimes they give a bit more, but don’t do too much, as sometimes it interferes with the babies lungs and breathing. I asked if it would be possible to give her just a little more, to ensure that Ashlin was well re-hydrated, but not too much as I didn’t want to get close to potentially harming her lungs.
I really didn’t want to spend a third night with my baby in the ER. Even the Pediatric ER.
They gave her another 100ml.
We were discharged. A nurse came to take out the catheter. Ashlin gave a little whimper and almost cried, but got over it pretty quickly and smiled at the nurse. We got home somewhere between 10 or 10:30, got her settled in bed, and then watched the end of the Grammy’s. I had been able to see a bit of the show between rocking, IV’s and vital checks.
When she woke up in the morning, Ashlin’s diaper was soaked. Full. Of. Pee. Yay! Pee!! Awesome.
We still had to make sure she drank, but some of the fear, some of the urgency, was gone. Not all of it, mind you, but some.
She did pretty well. My brave baby.