This year our holiday season started with a stay in hospital. I think I’m still processing all the emotions that come with seeing your little one go through something like this. The following is a long read, but there is a happy ending.
Since June of this year I have been telling my husband to prepare himself for a call from the ER. Over and over again, I cringed as Charlie dare-deviled his way through the summer, hurling himself off this and climbing to crazy heights on that. I was sure that he would be the cause of our first ER visit.
Fast forward to November. Looking back, the warm months were very good to us and our three little toddlers weren’t sick at all, not even a runny nose for months. However, on a cool night in November nineteen month old Lily came down with a slight fever.
Poor baby. She was uncomfortable the way little ones get with a fever, but nothing alarming and the thermometer hovered around 100. She was cranky, but sleepy. We gave her motrin and we all went to bed.
The next morning she seemed to be on the road to recovery. Her fever was lower and she was happy. We started the routine of our day and all was fine until nap time.
And then it happened-
When Lily woke up from her morning nap, the left side of her neck was swollen as if she had swallowed a golf ball and she couldn’t turn her neck. She was very hot to the touch and seemed lethargic. It was scary and 1,000 horrible thoughts raced through my head about what could cause something like this.
I have to say that at about this time I wanted to panic and freak out, but that was not an option. My heart felt caught in my throat when I first saw her neck, but alas, my mom brain took over and we scheduled an immediate appointment with the pediatrician. That included a crazy time of packing up the twins and dropping them at my mother in law’s. She was so helpful and took them both with about five minutes of warning.
When the doctor saw her, he immediately sent us to the ER. Her temperature was up to 102 and she seemed to be in pain. Our ped’s office was absolutely amazing in this process and had it set up so that when we arrived to the emergency area she was taken to a room immediately. I am so very grateful for that.
Here I am going to stop and say something obvious, but it must be said. Seeing your baby in the hospital is just so awful. Even though you KNOW that it’s the best thing for them and they have to be there, it was almost too much for my mommy-heart to witness. Seeing my littlest love poked and prodded, having blood drawn, dressed in a hospital gown– it was not an easy sight. I would have done anything to change places with her and not let her feel any pain at all.
Around ten p.m., after reviewing all of her tests, a doctor came in to say she had a condition called lymphdenopathy– an intense swellling of the lymph node due to infection and she would need an ultrasound and to start i.v. antibiotics immediately.
At this point, a few things happened. One, they set us up in a room for the night and then my mind started to wander. Where in the heck did she pick up such a serious infection? We had not been out of the house that week, no one else in the family had even the slightest of runny noses, and as it turns out we will never know the cause of the infection. Before and after this experience the twins were never sick, so I am still baffled.
An ultrasound determined that there was not an abscess that needed to be drained. When I heard that, I figured that we would be going home the next morning after a few rounds of antibiotics. Boy, was I wrong.
That first night was just plain uncomfortable. They allowed us to sleep in a regular hospital bed so that I could hold her, but because of her neck, there was almost no position that she was comfortable in. Every time she would get comfortable they would come in to take her vitals and the process would start all over again, so there was no winning.
On day two she still had a fever and it just would not get under 100 degrees. They did not let her go home.
On day three her neck was still very swollen and her fever was up and down. They determined they still needed to watch her. Even on day three she was still not herself. On this day we met an absolute angel, Jillian- a child-life specialist. She brought in toys from the children’s room and stayed with us for quite a while playing with Lily. She was like a ray of sunshine- Lily loved coloring and reading books with her- she was the sweetest person.
Let me stop here and say that our regular life is already fairly insane. My husband has an incredibly demanding job and we have almost three year old twins– the logistics of how this week unfolded are mind-boggling. My AMAZING sister-in-law, Martha, took the kids for two nights and my husband was back and forth between all of us while still going to work each day. When they could, other family members came to relieve me, let me get fresh air, and brought me food and clothes. And in addition to all of that, my family in Texas was waiting to hear if they should fly in to help- it was absolutely crazy.
But my goodness I know we are loved, everyone helped and was ready to take care of us in anyway we needed. From our neighbors to loved ones far away, thank you for being so awesome!
I relied on prayer, hospital coffee, and the care of some amazing hospital nurses, who I must say are as skilled at taking care of parents as their little patients.
It was also a powerful reminder that we can make all the plans we want, life is going to unfold in the way God means for it to unfold.
On the fourth day her fever was finally completely gone and we went home.
The great news is that Lily is absolutely fine, perfect, and good as new. There is no further treatment needed. We’ve had a few follow-ups with a specialist and he says he sees this about ten times per year in children her age.<< That’s shocking, by the way, as it seems like we would have run into someone who has experienced this!
And, well, that’s where we are now.
Thank you to all of our family and friends for your love and support through a seriously rough week. We are looking forward to getting into the swing of the holidays and getting back to normal.