Megan was born at 1215L on Sunday, 9 Nov 2003 at Georgetown Univeristy Medical Center. Since both she and Suzette were doing great, we left the hospital against medical advice – the obstetricians and pædiatricians all granted that everyone was fine, but they wanted to keep us for at least 24 hours for observation, just in case. Suzette insisted, and we left about 2030L.
Megan was an incredibly alert baby. She was wide awake and looking around pretty much until 0930 the next day, when she finally crashed and slept for three hours. She “latched on” and was a great feeder right at the start.
Monday she went in to the pædiatrician for an exam, and went to the laboratory for routine bloodwork.
Tuesday morning, 11 Nov 2003, she was very lethargic, wouldn’t eat, and was running a temperature. We took her back to the pædiatrician, who recommended that we go to Inova Fairfax Hospital. Apparently illnesses in newborns can become serious very rapidly.
The Emergency Department wanted to put her on an IV immediately, to get a blood sample, rehydrate her and to start antibiotics. A 48-hour old baby has very small veins, and when they’re dehydrated, this turns out to be significantly problematic. The nurse assigned to us tried twice to put in an IV and failed. She called the nurse on staff that day who was “the best”. She tried four times, and couldn’t get one to stay in, although she did get a line in long enough to collect a blood sample. Then they brought down a nurse from the Neonatal Intesive Care Unit (NICU), who brought a transdermal light used to help see the veins. She tried twice and gave up.
As a parent, this was heartrending. It was also infuriating. Why didn’t they have the sense to call the NICU before they bruised all the best sites?
Also during this process they catheterized her (briefly) to collect a urine sample, and did a spinal tap.
Ultimately, they started her on a course of antibiotics via intra-muscular injections in both thighs, and we started giving her formula in bottles to rehydrate her, which she drank. We were admitted to the pædiatric ward, and spent the next three days there while we waited for the spinal-fluid, urine, and blood cultures to develop. She continued to get antibiotics in both thighs every eight hours.
Initially, the attending physician from the ED told us that it would take 48 hours for her cultures to develop and that we should keep her there at least that long. The following morning we saw one of the doctors from our pædiatric practice, who also told us to wait for the 48 hour culture reading. Then on the morning of the second day, having been at the hospital 40 hours, they told us that blood cultures often don’t really develop until later, and that we needed to stay 72 hours. This was also infuriating. In addition to Megan’s health, Suzette was also recovering from the delivery, and if we had known how long the stay was going to be up front, we would have made different choices in terms of Zette’s health.
By Wednesday morning, however, Megan was doing fine. She was alert again, and eating both formula and colostrum from bottles. (We couldn’t get her to breastfeed.) She’s been doing great ever since. We’ll probably never know whether she had a log-grade viral infection, bacterial infection that the antibiotics cured but didn’t show up in the cultures or something else.
So we left the hospital Friday night. Saturday was a challenge for breast feeding, since she’d been on bottles pretty much the whole time in the hospital. We got an awesome woman named Lisa to come by from La Leche League, who really was a great help. Ultimately, Suzette figure out the big clue – that Megan just wasn’t that hungry. The books and doctors kept telling us that she should eat every two to three hours, and she was on more of a four-to-six schedule. She was still pooping and peeing like she should, and the feedings would be long (90 minutes sometimes). Since then, it seems to me like she’s gotten closer to a more “normal” schedule, but Suzette says I’m wrong. (She knows better than I.)
We all got to see another hospital today, when we visited “Mema” (Megan’s maternal grandmother) at the Arlington Hospital. I’m getting quite the tour of northern Virginia hospitals lately!
Tonight is her first “rock concert”, although it’s really a folk concert. David LaMotte is playing at Jammin’ Java. I’m a little leery of what it’ll be like to have a two-week old baby out at a performance, but we’ll see. David is apparently an old friend of Suzette’s.