Our second son was born three weeks ago. Healthy, screaming, pissing (seriously, all over me first thing out of the womb), hello world! Perfect and sweet and wonderful.
One week later he began to sleep. A lot. He whimpered when I moved him. He wouldn’t nurse. His temperature was 96.9 so we headed to the ER. We waited an hour to be seen. They blew some oxygen into his face, began drawing blood, ordered a lumbar puncture (which you may know as a spinal tap), swabbed his nose and urinary tract, and inserted a tiny IV tube into his tiny, tiny hand. My first night in a hospital unrelated to childbirth – trying to rest amidst the beeps and dings and nurses and iPhone alarms for pumping my breast milk. Trying not to stress as my one-week-old son laid limp under a warmer, tied up with tubes and monitors and doctor’s orders to not feed him, waiting to hear what in the world could have made my baby so sick.
The next morning’s report was that the blood work looked good. We just needed to wait the 48 hours for the results of the cultures to determine the cause of his lethargy and low temperature. Regardless, we wouldn’t go home until he could hold his own.
That Friday night we learned that our little Bertie had viral meningitis, caused by an enterovirus. Enteroviruses are quite common and usually cause upper respiratory problems…unless you’re an itty bitty new person without the system for fighting them off.
Thankfully viral meningitis doesn’t carry the same long-term risks as bacterial meningitis. Being in the hospital provided him the support he needed while the virus ran its course. Oxygen, heat, intravenous fluids as needed when he struggled to breathe while eating. Everything but endless cuddles from his parents.
We were discharged after five nights in the hospital. It was like bringing home a newborn for the first time, all over again. The two-year-old is out of whack from the disruption. The dog is falling apart from not knowing who to be most concerned about. I’m uncertain of how well breast feeding is going, and I’m trying to convince myself to find a balance between good enough and compromising my health by trying too hard.
In short, things are a little hectic. But I’m confident we’ll be settled soon… as long as my toddler keeps his germy hands off of the baby!