Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Medical Emergency with a Newborn in a Pandemic + Ash Wednesday

I originally had a different post planned for today but something hard has come up that I must share.

On Sunday night, our 10 week old baby, Delaney, randomly spiked a fever of 103.3°. We waited an hour, trying to manage it at home but her fever had only continued to rise to 104.7°. We had to very quickly make a call to her doctor’s office, who advised us to take her to the emergency room immediately. As you can imagine, it was terrifying to so suddenly need to take your 10 week old into the ER in the middle of the night during a pandemic. The fever came on so quickly. None of us saw this coming. It felt like something of a nightmare. It was hard to adjust to the reality we were in. 

When we initially arrived at the ER, I had to go in alone with Delaney. They wouldn’t allow Nick back with us. That was hard. I did gently push back on that protocol and I’m thankful they did eventually allow him to join us in the emergency room. I needed him there with us in so many ways. He needed to be there, too.

Being 10 weeks postpartum (all the hormones), and having suffered two consecutive miscarriages prior to Delaney, this experience shook me in a unique way that only some could understand. To be honest, I’m still trying to understand and process it all myself. 

It would be lot to process for anyone. In one moment I am rocking my healthy baby to sleep and then a couple hours later I am in a bright sterile room in the middle of the night, surrounded by nurses and doctors in masks, and the baby in my arms is now burning up, and I’m scared, and my husband isn’t allowed to be with me, and I’m keenly aware that my other daughter will be waking up without all of us at home (my mom was with her). It was a lot.

We found out quickly that babies under 3 months old who present themselves in the emergency room with this severe of a fever automatically get bloodwork, catheter and a lumbar puncture/spinal tap. They need to quickly find the source of the fever through all of this testing so they can act appropriately depending on what is causing it.

After their initial check over Delaney, the doctor ordered her a chest X-ray, first. The X-ray came back negative for pneumonia. Next, it was time for bloodwork. This is when I really needed Nick. He stayed with Delaney while I left the room, because painful baby cries and postpartum hormones don’t go well together for a very fragile loss mom. I knew I needed to protect my mental health in that moment more than she needed me sitting helplessly in that room. Nick was with her, and I was able to step away and read prayers from my friends and spend some time with God.

Nick texted me when she was settled down and I rejoined them in the room until it was time for the catheter to check urine. I had to leave again for this part. They also did the COVID swab while I was outside the room. I’m so grateful Nick could be there for her during those moments.

It took hours but ultimately we found out that her blood, urine and nose swab all came back negative. No infections, no COVID, no RSV, no influenza. No answers.

The next and final thing they do for babies of this age is the spinal tap to check the spinal fluid. At this time, Delaney’s fever was being managed with Tylenol. We had prayed for proper discernment and decided to not have the spinal tap done for Delaney. We were discharged with a diagnosis of “fever of unknown origin” that afternoon.

We are now back home, safe and well. We are so grateful for our community of friends and family that were praying us through this time. We are blessed to say that Delaney’s fever broke late on Monday night and she is on the mend. She began acting more normal throughout the day yesterday. We even got a few smiles out of her! 

Last night, we got a call back from her pediatrician informing us that her urine cultures (which we weren't informed we were still waiting on) came back positive for a UTI. Thankfully they called in the prescription within the hour of our pharmacy's closing time and we got her the first dose of amoxicillin in before she went to sleep. We are so grateful to have an answer now, and an easy treatment for her.

Today is Ash Wednesday and if you were with me last year you may know how God used Ash Wednesday as a pivotal moment in our journey of trying to expand our family of 3 to 4. If you weren’t here with us last year, you can read more about that experience here: Jesus Will Not Let Us Sink.

As a brief recap, in the days leading up to it, I could feel God placing it on my heart that I needed to give up fear for Lent. At the time, I was very recently recovering from my second consecutive miscarriage in six months. I did not want to even think about trying for another baby so soon but for some reason I felt very strongly to pray about it. I didn't receive an easy yes or no answer as to whether or not it was the right time to try again but, what I did receive from Him was the call to give up my fear and fully depend on and trust in Him. Long story short, four weeks after Ash Wednesday, I found out I was pregnant with Delaney.

The reason I share this is because I do not find it all that surprising that this health scare with Delaney occurred in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday this year. I am not going to pretend to know why God allows certain things to happen but I can say that any time something hard happens it generally opens my eyes to how I much I need Him, and my trust in Him then grows.

This year, for Lent, I am giving up self-reliance. I feel a thirst for His word; to dive deeper in to it daily and to explore more of who He truly is. I want to strip away any of the things I think of Him that are untrue due to a simple unawareness.

Psalms 63:1-5

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.

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