I feel like holding Aubrey tight, never letting her go, and telling her a thousand times that I’m sorry for what happened yesterday. She’s been fighting a cold for a few days, so lots of coughing, wheezing and mucus. But for about a week she has also been projectile vomiting once or twice a day, so we finally decided to take her to a walk-in clinic to see what was up.
Thus began our marathon day of hospitals and waiting rooms. The first doctor at the clinic in Lacombe said there was nothing he could give her for the phlegm and congestion, but he wanted to see what could be causing the regular projectile vomiting, so he phoned up a pediatrician in Red Deer for a consultation. They agreed she should have an ultrasound on her stomach as soon as possible to check the development of her pylorus, the opening from the stomach to the intestine. If it is overdeveloped or too tight, food can’t pass into the intestines and it all eventually comes up. Pyloric stenosis can cause weight loss and failure to thrive, and requires surgery to correct it, so even though it wasn’t very likely it was important to check for it. (If you’ve seen Aubrey lately, you’d agree she’s at a very low risk of failing to thrive. lol)
So off to Red Deer we went. The wait actually wasn’t too long before we got in for her ultrasound, however, nobody told us until we were in the room that we weren’t supposed to feed her. Kelly had just nursed her, so her tummy was so full of milk they couldn’t see a thing. The tech took pictures of her other organs though, to check proper development. It was really amazing seeing her tiny little kidneys, spleen, heart and liver. Then they sent us away for a couple hours to let her belly drain out. We had lunch, did a little shopping and then returned to find them packing up to leave for home! The tech agreed to stay and do the scan though, but again it was too obscured by food for a diagnosis. They then phoned the first Dr in Lacombe who suggested we go to the ER at the Lacombe hospital. We were never told why, just that we should go.
At this point it had been several hours of running around with no answers and we didn’t know what to expect next. The wait was longer at Lacombe as other emergency patients came in with various injuries and ailments. There was a boy 8 months old who had been hit in the head by something and his screaming and crying just broke our hearts. But soon it would be our own child screaming. The nurses weighed her in at a whopping 12lbs, like I said, definitely not failing to thrive. And then after another wait they took us down the hall for an x-ray of her stomach, since the ultrasound couldn’t reveal anything. We weren’t expecting anything traumatic, but then the nurse told me I couldn’t come into the room, only one person allowed. And Kelly had to help the nurse put Aubrey into the most horrible looking device to hold her still. Picture a miniature bicycle seat with a clear plastic cylinder above it. She had to sit on this seat, with her arms raised straight up and the plastic tube cinched tight around her torso so she couldn’t move. I have never heard Aubrey cry like that in her life, and I had to wait outside the room not even knowing what was happening. When I came in and saw the tears streaming down her face it made me want to cry too. I knew they weren’t actually hurting her, but she was terrified. Aubrey is a baby who very rarely cries. When she does, it’s almost only from being really hungry or from being cold when she’s taken out of the bath. That’s about it. And those infant cries seem almost subconscious, like she’s not actually crying but just letting us know she needs something. This crying was different. These were real tears. My baby girl is now so much more aware of her surroundings, and her mind is developing so fast, she was experiencing very real feelings of fear and of abandonment by the two people she loves and trusts the most. We felt so terrible.
The ER Doctor on call, by far the nicest doctor we’d dealt with all day, finally prescribed her with some medicine for acid reflux, and said she’d call us if the pediatrician was concerned with anything in the x-rays but pyloric stenosis was very unlikely. So finally we were allowed to go. The pharmacy took almost an hour to make up her medicine, and we got home at about 9pm, 10.5 hrs after we’d left home that morning.
As awful as it was hearing my baby cry, being in the hospital and seeing so many people in pain really got me thinking. We are so, so, so lucky. We’re so lucky to have such a healthy baby, and we’re so lucky to have access to such amazing health care. Even if Aubrey did have pyloric stenosis, it could be corrected with a 1 hr minimally invasive procedure, but a century ago it would have killed her. I just can’t imagine the parents with babies in those hospitals who are seriously sick. All babies are so helpless and innocent, it just breaks my heart. I know this isn’t the last time that Aubrey will be sick, or the last time that she’ll cry those sad tears, but I don’t think it’ll get any easier on her mom and dad to watch as she gets older. We just keep on loving her more and more every day.
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