Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guest Post: When Kids are Sick

Do you all know Jenny? If not, you should go follow her on twitter immediately because she is one of the sweetest and most supportive people I know. She guest posted for me back in October, and I'm thrilled to have her here again talking about one of the hardest things in motherhood. Give her lots of love for me okay?

With my second daughter, I was much more prepared or so I thought. I was about to return to work after my full twelve weeks of maternity leave. We had a wonderful New Year’s Eve weekend with family and friends. Late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, my youngest Skeeter woke up moaning and groaning. My husband took her temperature under her arm, and it was 102.1. We retook her temperature rectally, and it was 102.7. We called the on call pediatrician, and we were advised to take her to the emergency room at our local Children’s Hospital. We are so blessed to have this world class facility in our area.

I don’t remember much of the drive except my mind numbing anxiety. I could not see Skeeter since she was in the car seat facing backwards. She had fallen asleep, but I was terrified that something would happen to her. I kept reaching my right arm back to touch her head and feel her breath. We were able to be seen by the doctor immediately. They thought that it could possibly be a urinary tract infection.

We had both a urinalysis and a urine culture done. The initial test came back as negative, so we went home Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. We contacted our pediatrician to set up a follow up visit with her on Monday afternoon.

We received confirmation from the test results that Skeeter did have a urinary tract infection. The hospital called in a prescription which the girls and I picked up on our way to the pediatrician. She examined Skeeter and then advised me that she wanted to have some lab work done to see if we
needed to pursue more aggressive treatment. Her white blood cell was extremely elevated, so our pediatrician decided to admit us to the hospital. Skeeter needed intravenous antibiotics to combat the infection. I remember just staring at her in disbelief and shock. She advised me to go home and pack what I needed. Our pediatrician took care of all the pre admission paperwork for us.

I dropped Munch off at my husband’s work, and Skeeter and I continued to the hospital. The care that we received was outstanding. The nurses were so compassionate and understanding. The young residents were so respectful of me as a nursing mom. They would wait outside Skeeter’s room until
she was done nursing so that they could have my full attention. Skeeter was admitted on Monday afternoon, and she went home on Thursday afternoon. It was the most terrifying experience for me as a parent. I know that we were incredibly lucky, and our hospital treats children who are critically
ill every day. I spent the majority of those days at the hospital with Skeeter; I only left once for a few hours. I felt guilty and ashamed for being so upset because so many other children were much sicker than Skeeter. I felt guilty for leaving Munch behind; we had prepared Munch for Skeeter starting at her school with her that week. I felt guilty that my mom had to come up to help me out. I felt guilty that I could not return to work as planned. Skeeter’s hospitalization was a major factor in the development of my postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.

Due to Skeeter’s hospitalization, I have become very sensitive and anxious when either one of my girls are sick. Exactly a year to the day that Skeeter was hospitalized, we were back at the pediatrician’s office. We met with one of the more senior members of the practice, not our regular pediatrician. He reassured me that Skeeter was not suffering from a urinary tract infection, and he explained what he would look for in that type of infection. She was suffering from sinusitis and viral pneumonia. I was incredibly anxious, but I was able to keep my anxiety at bay by focusing on my little girl. I relied on my #ppdchat mamas to support me, and I relied on my family. I have realized that it is inevitable that my
girls will get sick. I work through my anxiety by using positive self-talk to help me work through the situation.

***Author’s Note: Skeeter suffers from VUR (vesicouretal reflux) which causes bladder reflux. She has only suffered one urinary tract infection - the one that led to her hospitalization. We continue to be monitored by the Urology clinic and go for visits every six months to monitor her progress. Her case is pretty mild so it should resolve itself by the time she is potty trained.***


  1. Hugs, big hard hugs.

    My firstborn arrived 6 weeks early. She roomed in w me and came home at 48 hrs old with me.. I had the chance to leave her w dh and go out for a couple hours to a HUGE second hand sale when she was 11 days old.

    When I got back, something was off. To tis day I can't explain it. She had a small red raised dot near her ear, it was maybe the size of a dime. She seemed lethargic. Her temp was 99 something. So w watched her. Over the next 2 hrs the bump spread. Her face was swollen from the top of her ear down her jaw line. I called the ped on call. He ordered us in to the er though I begged for any alternative. Spinal tap, cathed for urine, blood work up,... Ultimately a ct with contrast. She had a staph infection in the parotid gland in her face.

  2. 4 days of multiple types of IV antibiotics. I felt like such a failure. For about 6 hrs, she couldn't even latch at all. I left to go home and shower, once, and while I was gone dh fed her 3 oz pumped milk by bottle - I only had 9 oz total pumped at that point. So scary.

    She recovered fine. But it shakes you. 8 weeks later, we had to take her back. She had my hair wrapped so tightly around her toe that I couldn't get it off. Now I really, really felt like a failure. 3 months old and already in the ER twice.

    1. The point of that was that I get it. I really, really get it. Scary stuff these kiddos getting sick.

      This past summer, that premie, now 3, had Togo under general for dental work. I wonder how much of it can be linked to the fevers and antibiotics she had so young...?

  3. Sarah, thank you so much for responding and getting my fears and anxiety. Skeeter was on a very low of an antibiotic for 8 months. Since she hadn't had a UTI, we took her off of the medication. She was on Bactrim which is a sulfa drug. I am highly allergic to sulfa. We thought she had a rash in the hospital, so they called up one of the dermatology residents to check her out to give me peace of mind. I love our hospital, but I dread going there every time.

  4. Story, just wanted to share with you that my mom read this post. She was going to e-mail me, but she called me instead. She wanted to talk to me about her own anxiety. I have found that through telling my story it has deepened my relationship with my mom. She is more comfortable sharing how tough motherhood was for her. She wanted to tell me how proud she was of me for putting my story out there to help other moms. Thank you for inviting me to share your space.

  5. So much love Jenny. I pray Skeeter has no more UTIs and her body heals itself--just as you are always helping people (like me) heal.