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Brace yourself for a tale…

So the date is Saturday, May 14th about midday. It’s about 11a-12p and we are getting ready to leave town the next day. Lots of stuff getting done and I also had my au pair meeting later that afternoon. In fact, just moments before this time, I have reorganized the meeting for that day because we were supposed to go mini golfing with the au pairs, and it was freezing and raining out that day. Pretty miserable. I was really looking forward to getting the meeting done and getting ready for taking off the next day for our planned family trip to OH for the Unschoolers Waterpark Gathering and also my BirthWorks Weekend Workshop to follow in Cleveland.

So, D is sitting across from me on an office chair, and me on my office chair. We had just reorganized the office room to accommodate a computer station for the kids, which now sits adjacent to my ‘office’.  She begs me to hold M and I oblige as I am attempting to get things in order at my desk for my meeting that day and our departure the next. We are chatting and I am watching the two sitting there. All of a sudden, M throws her weight forward and D struggles to hold on to her. She manages to keep a good grip, but the two tumble from the chair as it slips and slides right out from under them both. D goes straight down to the floor as M flies forward, head hitting the height adjuster level on the side of my chair!!! YIKES! I swoop down to grab her before the rest of her hits the floor, but she is screeching from head hitting the chair anyway. I’m a bit frantic b/c I did not really see where on her head she originally hit and D and K both tell me it was the side of her head. So we gather ice and try to calm her and ice her head.

She calms and is over exerted from the intensity of the incident that she finally nurses to sleep. I’m then able to ice her head for a long, long time. Up until I need to get ready for my meeting and leave. She seems fine, and happier than before, but a nice lump is forming on the side of her head. I head off to my meeting which is now at a coffee shop due to being rained out. While at my meeting I order an iced drink called a Raspberry Truffle. I did not really think that this was a coffee drink, for whatever reason. I’m thinking more along the lines of an iced drink, smoothy maybe. But did not even occur to me that it could have been an iced coffee. So when I get my drink, clearly, you get from my build up, it was an iced coffee flavored with raspberry truffle. It was not half bad, and it was pretty small, so I did not hesitate to consume. I figured it could not be the potency of regular coffee, which my body really does not like.

Well…. Later that night as I am putting the kids to bed I’m feeling quite nauseous. I am also noticing that M is kind or restless and not getting to sleep easily. She does eventually doze off, but by midnight she wakes. I bring her to the office and she proceeds to throw up all over me. Yep, lovely. But now I’m a little freaked out and concerned. For one, she’s never thrown up before, so she’s feeling pretty shaky and scared, and obviously something is really bugging her. Is it the fall that she had that day? Is it what I just consumed and made me feel pretty horrible? I freaked that something is seriously wrong with her head, but I wait it out a bit. She threw up a half hour after the first and then an attempt within a half hour from that. Then she dozed off and slept a bit. When she was asleep I decided it might be wise to pump and dump. If it was indeed the milk (or the coffee) from the drink then I could eliminate that factor and she’d be feeling just fine when she was ready to nurse again. From there, it was a good 2 hours before she woke with a big bright smile on her face. She was back!

So, having her return to herself once again, it was bout 3am before I opt to attempt to sleep myself. Of course, I’m prepared for more puking b/c she did want to nurse before she slept. And… she nursed a lot. I was not certain that was staying down, so I lined the bed with towels and slept slightly upright with her in my arms, ready to help her. She, of course, slept just fine, nursing nearly the rest of the night/morning, while I just dozed off here and there.

Next AM, she seems totally fine. The lump on her head does not seem to stop growing. It’ quite large in size, but she is acting her usual self. She is happy, playing, crawling, sleeping, eating…. Doing just fine! SBJ and I make the parental decision that she’s OK and that we could give this trip a go. We pack up, but slowly at that and don’t take off till about noon on Sunday the 15th. We get all the way out to OH without a hitch. It was a great drive (FAR easier than last year with S being smaller : ) And kids are eager to jump into the pools! We immediately jump right into vacation mode and enjoy our full week there. M, the entire week, was exactly herself. She showed NO signs of anything being wrong, but of course we were looking at this BIG knot on the side of her head the whole week and constantly questioning ourselves. This goose egg was about nearly 2 inches in diameter, and about a half inch raised off her head. It. Was. Big.

Thoughout the week we even see some awesome milestones in her development. She starts to waive, even clap, and is pulling to standing position now! She’s been eating more solid foods throughout the day, and doing just fabulously. I had absolutely no reason to suspect that anything was seriously wrong with the lump on her head, so I just kept trying to reassure myself to follow my gut and intuition. It certainly was not an easy feat when I kept looking at this enormous lump on her precious noggin.

We moved on to Cleveland by Thursday so I could attend my BWI Workshops. She was with me the whole time during the workshops. I was so insanely fortunate and lucky to have my facilitator welcome her and even commend several times throughout how incredible lovely she was to have around. They could not get over how well behaved she was during the whole workshop. It was so great for me personally as well, because I so desperately wanted to attend the workshop, but could not do so without her with me. So I feel blessed it all worked out so amazingly.

So, by this time we are nearing the last couple of days of our trip. The swelling, to me, seemed to be going down, but ever-so-slowly that the fractions of changes were not very noticeable except by me. So when I would attempt to get confirmation from others in our family they just constantly shrugged their shoulders, not really visualizing a difference from day-to-day. That did not help my confidence level much at all. I think it was around the 2nd to last night that I decided that icing it really couldn’t hurt much. So I did give her some ibuprofen before bed and once she was asleep, I iced it for a good half hour or more. The next day I did see a change and was feeling better. But as a mother, I think I lack that personal gumption to trust my own gut and worry that I’m making horrible mistakes, especially when it comes to my kiddos. I feel I could reluctantly make mistakes when it comes to me and live with it, but when I mistakes with my kids the guilt kills me for eeeee-ons to come. And what’s worse… I do have a remarkable intuition. I just have a horrible ability to trust myself when I’m using that gut o’ mine. After what describe to you next, I am certain that is going to change 10-fold.

I had at least 1-2 times during the week searched online at the mayo clinic and webmd to see if there were any suggestions as to why I did not see significant improvement in the swelling after nearly a week. I was reassured lots to read that without other significant symptoms in the first 24-48 hours after the fall, she was probably just fine. I also read a few of those chat-blogs where several moms stated that their children’s goose eggs lasted sometimes up to 4 weeks. But again…. I did not trust that inner gut because I was looking at the outward swelling on poor M’s head. At this point I decide to email someone close to me who has medical knowledge and could let me know if I was being neglectful, or simply over-worrying. I expected this person in my life to provide level-headed information, both as a medical professional herself, and as a mother. I anticipate that information given to me from her will be something I can take to heart and trust without much doubt. I also felt that she would think through the information given (especially via email) and judge what my reactions to things may be given what she is giving me as viable information to go on. Or so I would think…

The response I got was not at all what I had anticipated. I was given quite a scare, and in hindsight really wish I had taken the time to digest that more properly. The reaction was that with any head injury I should seek medical care, and despite my attempts to explain that there were NO other symptoms that M was experiencing, I was encouraged to take her in asap to be examined. At first, SBJ and I sort of joked about what a “medical” response that sounded like. But in receiving this information from someone that I trusted, it did not rest well with me either. This was when I doubted my inner mother intuition even more and began to feel like I may have been neglectful. Had family told me with more assurance that they had noticed the swelling decrease, as much as I felt it had, I may not have taken this email/information as stiffly as I had. But having already had doubts, and not fully trusting in myself… the information simply scared me more.

We were leaving the next day for home. We were making a stop along the way at an interesting little place in Port Clinton, OH. An “African Safari” in which you drive through and feed the goats and moose from your car. Kind of hilarious at that…. Not only were there only 2 giraffes that could have been in an African Safari, but that all of the animals there were not even closely related to African animals at all. But nevertheless, we really enjoyed the experience, still talk about it much today!

From there we head home. We need to make a few stops along the way to eat and regroup, but we arrive home about 9pm, Monday, May 23rd. I’m thinking during that last leg of the trip that there is no better time to bring her in, and mention to SBJ that I will just bring her now. We can get the reassurance we need that she’s doing just fine, and that can put our minds and hearts to rest. I drop everyone at home and even mention that there is no need to really unpack the car, we could just do that once I have returned from the ER. He is planning on getting them into some clean clothes and getting them off to bed. I arrive at the ER at about 9:30p-ish and proceed to check in. It seems rather busy, yet we move through fairly quickly. We were called by registration and the triage nurse before 10:30p, and I believe we were even inside by then as well. The Triage nurse lets on that she feels M is doing just fine. At this point, I’m already feeling a bit settled and not as worried.

Once in the ER, I explain what had happened. I tell the story of the fall, and that my main concern was that the swelling was still quite large for being a week later, and I wanted to be sure that everything was alright. The Dr’s that I speak to all seem to suggest that she seems like she is doing just fine, and that often the swelling just takes time. The body is working to reabsorb the fluid and that unless there are other significant signs or symptoms, there was not a huge alarm going off in their minds. The Dr orders a CT scan to verify all is fine and that she does not have any pressure, swelling, blood or fluid pressing on her brain. I resign to the fact that we were getting some sort of scan or x-ray done or there really was no point in me being there in the first place. They could not look at her the same as I was and assure me that everything was fine on the inside. So the scan is ordered.

In the meantime, I had been fortunate enough to nurse M to sleep. She slept through the entire thing and did not even realize what was going on through the whole thing. It worked out perfectly. The CT scan helpers/issuers were so insanely nice though the whole thing. They made sure she was completely comfortable and did everything we could to keep her asleep. They wheeled us back and offered blankets, probably the most humane treatment received throughout our entire experience…. As it is from that point on that things started spiraling downhill faster than I could even blink an eye.

The results come back and Dr Cliff…. Aka asshole… comes back into the room. He says, “well, she does have a slight fracture, a very very slight epidural hematoma, and then the swelling on the outside of the skull. Now, WHY IS IT that you waited so long to bring her in again?” I ask him to repeat everything he has just said, and to tell me what it is exactly that he’s describing. He explains that fracture is very slight, and will heal on its own. He then tells me that the Epidural Hematoma is a slight bleeding between the skull and the brain. It is less than 3mm in size and does not pose any threat what-so-ever to her and her healing. That it would probably just be reabsorbed without any issues. And then the swelling on the outside of the skull was fluid that would be reabsorbed as well. So, there is nothing procedurally they could do to assist in the healing process (nothing they would have done even if I brought her in on the first day she fell!), and yet…. “Why did I wait so long to bring her in?”

I explain the scenario again and he says, “Well I’m consulting a few people and getting a full assessment of the scan, so hold tight. The fact that you waited so long has me concerned.” And thus began my jail sentence.

Yep. I had him concerned. Hmmmm….. I start to think. Well, I knew exactly what that was suggesting and my heart starts to palpitate pretty hard by this point. He lets me know that he is talking to Children’s Memorial Hospital about this “situation” and that we would be transferred there to be observed overnight. WHAT?!?!?! Are you frickin’ kidding me? You cannot be serious, are you? Oh, but he was. Ordering a transfer and talking to the Dr’s over there. Of course, what he was really doing was alerting social workers and whomever that I needed to be “dealt with.” Had I walked out then as I so clearly wanted to do, I would surely be inviting more trouble into our lives. If not succumbing to the torture, it would have been even worse I am certain of that.

Sensing where he was going with this entire thing, I call SBJ to let him know that I was getting bad, bad vibes and that maybe I should call my “health advocate” to see if she could come down to the hospital to be with me through this. He thinks that’s a good idea. Clearly he is unable to pack up the 3 kids at 1am to get down there and help out, so we agree I call her to see if she’s able to help. Making that decision was not easy for me. I’m not one to call anyone for help on pretty much anything. Let alone at like 12-1am! But I called, probably woke her, and explained what was going on. I let it be known that I was really unsure why this all needed to happen, that I don’t see them being able to do anything for her that improves this, and that this was simply all about accusing me (or anyone in our home) of being an abuser. It was very clear that Dr Cliff felt I was neglectful and he was going to do something about it. Expressing this, the response I received from this person I needed more than anything at that given point in time was, “Well…. It’s really hard being a mother.” There was no offer to come to be by my side, and there was no offer of assistance. Tough it up…. That’s what I carried away from that. It was a betrayal I never really anticipated.

Wow. Crushed. Even more scared.

I cut the call short and call SBJ back. I let him know that I am alone on this one and that I will keep him posted. We make plans for him to call in the AM and see what’s happening at that point and possibly bring the kids down to Children’s to see us and even go home with us. Well, as those plans are made I realize my car is parked in Emergency parking and sure to be towed if I don’t move it. A nurse comes in for me to sign for a transfer and I ask if I can just drive her down there myself because I have my car in Emergency parking. She refuses to even listen to a full sentence and instant negativity comes from her mouth. She says I’ll just have to move it, that transport is already ordered and they are on their way. (Yea, like I really care about that.)

When the EMT from Children’s comes in to get us, they suggest that she needs to be strapped to a gurney and that I am unable to ride along with her in the back (I have to sit up front). I ask if they can give me time to move my car, and they say sure, but that I needed to leave M with them. Oh, like hell I was going to do that. They say, I could do that if the ER staff there agreed to let me do that. The nurse tells me ‘no’, that I can leave her on the gurney and go deal with it. I try to argue because M is asleep and putting her down with strangers and having her wake up with strangers is just a horrific idea in my mind. Dr. Asshole…. Oh, I mean Cliff, is there and has the audacity to say, “You can be with your baby who has blood in her brain, or you can go move your car. It’s up to you.”

Here is where my rage about their institution chimes in, and I needed to leave there asap. I have the EMT guys strap her to the gurney where she was fine for a few minutes. We walk to the ambulance where she gets in with one of the guys, and the other to the driver’s seat. I agree to have them pull in front of the parking garage while I move my car over 2 spaces to avoid towing, and then I bolt down to the ambulance where she seems to already be starting to fuss. I can tell immediately this is going to be the longest ride in hell. The EMT guys still refusing to let me sit with her. The dude in the back is mostly filling out paperwork and totally ignoring her. He straps something to her finger to measure her oxygen level, WITHOUT my consent AT ALL. I yell, asking what that was for and why they did not ask me to do that first. They say that the Dr ordered this to be done, but yet no one ran that by me first. The EMT driving takes the longest possible way to get to Children’s. They tell me I could talk to her, and I tell them that will make it worse. I try to speak with her, and sure enough the screeches get louder. Again, the guy in the back is ignoring her. I am on the verge of break down.

A good 25 minutes later we pull into Children’s ER. They get us off the truck and we go flying in the doors. They putz around while trying to figure out where we can go and in the meantime I am fiddling to get her straps off. They just did not seem to care at all that she was upset, and I find it so ironic HOW MUCH TORTURE AND ABUSE they imposed on HER during all of this, and yet I was the one in questioning.

We get into an ER room and immediately there about 5-6 people in there. All asking questions of me while I am trying to be with and calm my baby. They speak AT us and never with or to us. They speak and concur with each other, completely ignoring me as her mother. It was maddening. At one point, I yell at a Dr for barraging me with questions. The barrage was literally on rapid fire and he was 1) not even listening to answers before starting the next questions, but 2) not even paying ANY attention to M’s needs at that moment. So I got quite loud at him at this point, letting him know that I would answer all of his questions, if he could just take it easy. I tell him that the ambulance ride was sheer torture for her, and that she needed me and needed to nurse. They THEN tell me that I cannot nurse until we take her vitals. WHAT?!?!?

Fine…. Take her vitals. She’s healthier than ANY of you in this room BECAUSE she BREAST feeds, so I am going to nurse MY baby now!

I remember the violating feeling of them checking her over head to toe noting every single little mark on her body. Clearly, they are searching for bruises or other signs of torture, and disregarding us in the process. I remember them even noting each and every spot of eczema on her body and having the ignorant response, “What are you doing to treat this for her?” After they have stuck things all over her poor little body, I climb on the bed and start to nurse her. The Dr asks me questions, I answer them. The Neuro Dr-lady comes in and she says she’s just fine and we’ll just keep an eye on her. There is a Chaplin in the room who was so completely useless and annoying. Trying to distract my baby with bubbles while they stick her with things. Do they really think bubbles can distract MY baby from things like this? You’re not dealing with a complete moron. Then they say I have to talk to a social worker. The social worker asks me about abuse in the home, our jobs, our other kids, our home, our birth, the accident, etc. She explains that if she and the Dr deem necessary they will sick DCFS on us, so I should be aware of this potential. The questioning goes on and on until they are all completely satisfied. One thing is for certain at this point, no one seems to communicate well there. They don’t listen to what you are saying to them, and in turn, they do not relay things you say to them correctly to other people, AND they cannot communicate with each other as well. It’s horrendous.

Finally, it’s about 3am at this point, and a team of two nurses come in who want to put in an IV plug. They are looking to draw some blood to check her whole system out, but then they want to leave this block in “just in case” they need to administer anything later. I find this utterly ridiculous, and try to refuse, but they claim that this is a “hospital policy” and they need to do it. The two of them can’t even find a vein to poke, and spend several minutes torturing her to find one. They wrap her limbs in heat packs that will help dilate veins larger so they can poke her. They, again, have issues with me nursing. I try to explain to them that it IS 3 o’clock in the morning and she is exhausted and needs to sleep. This was replied with, “well, we need to do this first and then she can sleep.” Each and every step along the way was a complete disregard for “their patient” and her needs. They constantly would tell me that SHE was THEIR patient, and they are CARING for her, but they NEVER really took a look at what they were doing to “CARE” for her. They were subjecting her to more torture due to “policies” that they never looked at her as the 8 month old baby that she is and truly CARED for the person.

After a good 20-30 minutes of the nurses teaming up on an 8 month old, they then proceed to wrap up her arm in all sorts of bandages and slings to try to cover the needle in her arm, and attempt to keep her from ripping it out. All the while, the clown of a Chaplin is in the room trying to distract her from the nurses, and counteracting my attempts to nurse her and essentially calm her. Oh, and come to think of it, I tried to tell them that if they could just let me get her to sleep, they would have a much easier time getting the needle in. They counteract a mother’s wishes of course, because their policies just can’t rest for a few minutes to CARE for the baby. They insist that they are doing things the “better” way and that we needed to wait to settle their needs first.

After the circus calms down, they actually shut off the lights for us and leave us alone…. At least that is what I thought might happen. But… For a long. Long. LONG time, we wait. It is about 5-5:30am before they come to bring us to a room upstairs. They of course, popped in every few minutes since to interrupt sleep and rest just to let us know that they still did not have a room for us. So kind of them to keep us posted despite needed rest (yes, note the sarcasm). At one point, the “kind” social worker came back to let me know that she had already consulted with the Dr in charge and they had decided that DCFS was not needed as long as I succumb to a full skeletal exam (an xray of her entire body). On if they had that assurance that there were not other injuries in her body would they discharge us and drop the whole thing. Gee, how kind of them, eh? So now I have to zap her full or MORE radiation just to appease THEM and then we would be set free from this jail sentence?

By 5:30am a nurse came back to tell me that all of her blood work came back just fine (gee, no brainer there) and that we going to go upstairs, admitted to a room where they have so considerately put a chair for me next to a crib (aka CAGE) for M to “sleep” in. This bed was literally an oval shaped crib with bars that locked about 2 feet over my head and have this hovering cover that created a completely enclosed cage for me to lock my baby into. I was instructed that under no circumstances could she sleep on me in the chair, despite my please to allow us to us the empty full bed next to this set up, they remained to refuse. The full bed where we could have both gotten *some* sleep remained empty our entire stay, and I…. I remained awake for a full 40 hours through the ordeal.

When I asked if the closed door in the room was the bathroom, they said, “uh, yes, however that bathroom is only for patients. Parents need to use the bathroom down the hall. You can lock the crib gates (insert ‘baby jail’ here) and go down to the bathroom if you need to.” They not once offered to even just hold her for 2 minutes for me to run down the hall, and remained vigilant that they were doing what was “right” for M. So, yes, as you guessed, I also held it for the first 30 hours at least. At least until there were signs of discharge, and then she just went with me in the Ergo after they had detached much of her wires. The nurses at the nurse’s station looked at me like I was completely out of my mind bringing her to the bathroom, but really…. That was the least of my concerns at that point.

So back to 5:30am, when admitted into the oh-so-conducive room upstairs, a nurse is giving me the low-down again, asking me the exact same 101 questions I’d been asked at least 10 or more times before by other health professionals along this journey. She also assures me that the full skeletal scan will be done by 7am. I am falsely reassured that we will be out of there before noon, and maybe even 10am if they get this scan done by 7a as they promised. I am told at that point that they will give us till then to rest and no interruptions. But it’s not more than 20 minutes later that someone comes in for one thing or another and the cycle continues. I can’t even tell you how many people we saw during our entire stay there without going dizzy in the head!

Well, 7am comes and goes and there is no skeletal exam being done. Instead, in parades crew of about 10 Dr’s or residents or students or whomever they may be. Not a single introduction is done. A head-dude who does not speak English very clearly proceeds to talk to the group as though we are not even there. He then presses (firmly) on the lump on M’s head, and I flinch, pulling her away. I give him this look like, “what the hell do you think you’re doing?” He tells me something or other about her epidural hematoma, and then proceeds to say that “we need more information.” I ask what information have I not given to them already? He states I need to speak to protective services.

Uh…… WHAT?!?! I thought we had gotten past all of this already?! Why would this need to be done? THIS is the point where I am on the verge of major tears. I decide to ask for a Dr. whom was given to me by name via the medical advocate I mentioned earlier. I figure, at this point, it could not hurt. I ask for this Dr. and she comes in to see me. I tell her who I am and how I know her by name, and she shows a bit of compassion, but really…. I’m just needing that we be discharged at this point, and all she is telling me is that I need to follow hospital policies. She states that I need to speak to protective services who will THEN decide if we need the skeletal scan done. So there we wait…. Again.

Time is going, going, going. Random people come in. The nurses shift changes during this time, so of course, the new nurse that is helping has NO clue that the first nurse told us the scan would be done by 7am. I ask the new nurse what is taking protective services so long?! AND…. Could they PLEASE take this IV thing out of M’s arm b/c she’s about to yank it out on her own!! No, they will not take the IV thing out b/c it is policy to torture your patients unnecessarily, despite the need for meds or not, and they will “so kindly” check on protective services for me.

During this time, I recall getting an email from the person I had called at 1am seeking guidance or support. The person I had hoped would be by my side through this ordeal. The email simply asked if we were at home, or if we at the hospital. My reply went exactly like this:

Been sitting around at Children’s since about 3am…. While they keep accusing me of child abuse. If I don’t succumb to full body skeletal scan they will sick DCFS on us.

Just SUCKS. Feel like shit, have not slept for over 24 hours now.

AND they have basically said that her head is fine. Neural as looked at her and say all is OK.

It’s nice to know that when you try to do right the hospitals don’t listen, make you feel like shit, do nothing for your child and just accuse you of abuse.

They have been nothing but abusive themselves.

I think what shocked me the most…. There was STILL no reply to this email, no phone call, no offer to come help… no offer to even JUST BE WITH US.

Finally…. About 10am, the kind social worker shows up telling me that she was paged 3 times that morning alone being told that I WAS REFUSING TO DO THE SKELETAL SCAN, and that I wanted to speak to her. She also tells me that I MUST do the scan to get out of the hospital, and that I could “do it the easy way, or they had their ways of getting it done despite me.” This is where tears turned to RAGE. “Un, no. I was told that the scan was going to be done at 7am and that time came and went with no one doing jack. THEN, I was told by Dr. Bowman that IF you all felt it was necessary, I would need to do it, but if NOT then we could skip it. I have NEVER refused, BUT I have ASKED if it’s absolutely necessary to submit her to even more radiation!?!” This woman looks at me, again…. Like I have 2 heads, and says, “fine we will get it done.”

 

“And, in the meantime, I would like someone to come to this room and show me her CT scan.” Oh, well if that didn’t throw her through a loop. She says, “Well the neuro dr. has told you the results of the scan.” Me: “HMMMM….. I want to SEEEEEE the scan. I DON’T want to be TALKED AT.”

She finally gets where I am coming from and she goes off looking for someone who knows anything in the hospital. Clearly takes her much longer than I could have imagined! In the meantime, I am taken with M down to radiology for her skeletal scan. On the way down there was when I got a call from that persons who I considered a support… prior to this happening and they not showing up by my side. This person asks if we are still in the hospital and my plain and simply reply was, “Yes, we are still here, and this is not a good time for me to talk.” We were literally about to go right into radiology, and really… quite frankly, I’m not sure I could have talked with this person any more than that at that point. I as so furious at the lack of support, I just needed to not talk.

Well…. In order for them to do the full scan… for some god-forsaken reason, they need to do this in several different slides. I am unclear as to why they can’t do larger chunks at a time because they do a full torso of an adult!!! Why not for an 8 month baby?! Instead, the technician is extremely clumsy and uncoordinated. She fumbles with each and EVERY slide between shots, as well as the machine. She uses more force than necessary to have M’s limbs be still, and this is freaking M out even more. I am hovering over her trying to kiss her and talk to her, but she is just panicked. Her head is strapped, her torso is strapped, legs…. It’s just horrendous, and reliving this now has me in tears all over again. This was painful, painful, painful.

At one point, I ask this klutz how much more she needs to do and she says 4 more slides. M is just frantic and I say, “ok, she needs a break. I will hold her and calm her.” The technician actually denies me this RIGHT, and says, “well I only have 4 more to do.” OH THE RAGE that surfaced at that point. I rip the straps off her M’s body and YELL, “I am SO sick of you people CONSTANTLY telling me that I canNOT console MY OWN BABY!!!!!! She needs a BREAK. Give me a minute to calm her and you can finish in just a minute or two.” I think that sort of startled the woman and the one behind the class pushing the buttons because they both left the room completely for about 5 minutes before even returning. I waited till she (the tech.) seemed ready to continue b/c I did not want M laying there w/o anything happening, QUICKLY.

Finally…. We are set. The tech then says, “Now I need to be sure that these are all ok before you go back upstairs.” WHAT?! Did I hear her correctly? You’d better hope they are done correctly or you can just forget it. I’m not subjecting her to that again!!!

We wait…. Again…. Long long long time. I should mention, also, that SBJ is calling nearly every hour ore more just to check in on things. He is enraged and worried. Really worried, I can tell. I did not help matters when I broke down into uncontrollable tears. At one point in the AM, I told him not to bring the kids out there. I told him that I did not trust ‘this place’ with a 10 foot pole, and if I had told them the story of how she fell from D’s arms, I did NOT want D questioned in ANY way. It was a horrible accident and she should not feel worse than she already does! And while I’m telling him all of this, I lose control and tears start flowing. Ugh. Still feels so insanely raw inside of me.

Right, so, the tech finally gives us the all-clear and we head back to our room. Shortly after we are visited by protective services again, and a Dr who is able to show me the CT scan. So they go through each slide with me, and show me that the actual fracture is not a “broken” piece of bone but more of a slight dent in the skull that will regrow itself. Her fontanels are still pretty open and very visible and this “fracture” they speak of is not broken or open AT ALL. Then the “epidural hematoma” is like a spot of blood between the brain and the skull, not affecting either one AT ALL, the size of hmmm…. 2-3mm. Seriously small. The swelling on the outside of the head that had me scared out of my pants in the first place and what brought us IN to the hospital…. Just harmless fluids that the body is working on reabsorbing. The Dr even had the nerve to say that this type of injury is what one would get when hitting another object. If the head hit the floor, you would not see this type of injury b/c it would better absorb the fall. “The slight dent there shows us that she did hit something in the fall, and so we NOW KNOW THAT IT HAPPENED THE WAY YOU SAID IT DID.” Seriously?!?! I’m now thinking, “gee thanks for the assurance that you NOW think I’m not an abusive liar.”

This same Dr tells me that the skeletal all looks perfectly fine as well, BUT that Radiology needs to ready and provide results. So….. there we sit, yet again. Sit and wait. What I have such a hard time putting together here is the immense lack of communication, understanding and LISTENING. The insane lapse in judgment, the complete nonsense of this entire situation. I mean, I come into the hospital telling them the truth, and say that I need to be assured that she’s doing alright and nothing is wrong or could be getting worse. They tell me she is FINE and there is NOTHING they can do procedurally to help her heal, and yet…. Here we STILL sit, all because I brought her a week after it happened, and not the day that it happened. If I brought her in the very first day, they 1) would STILL not have done anything procedurally to “fix” her because the body would naturally do that on its own, and 2) would have STILL put me through this entire hell because it was a head injury on a baby!!! I don’t see the how/what/why of this situation, other than that 1 jackass who just could not take the time to just TALK with me and LISTEN to me. It’s insane to me that a mother who would cut off her limps and forego her heart, if need be, to help or save her children is sitting here being told that she has an insane lapse in judgment waiting a week to bring her in, and THEREFORE must be a child abuser.

By 12:30pm, I’m fuming. By 1p I go out to the nurse’s station and ask what could be taking so long. I was assured all was OK and yet here we still sit. I want a discharge, I want this IV thing out of her arm already! Can I tell you that only 20 minutes later a Dr visits to do her last vitals and discharge us?! And within 10 min of that our nurse FINALLY returns to take that stinkin’ needle out of her hand… and discharge us.

Calm and shaken, all at the same time. I felt like we were being freed from a jail sentence. It felt criminal and joyful all at once. I wandered the hospital , trying to find our way out. When we finally set foot outdoors, I had to just stop on the sidewalk and breath. It’s colder than I anticipated and I am in a t-shirt with nothing else to wear b/c they would not allow me to bring our car. M at least has a sweatshirt, which I am glad about because we now have to take the EL back to Evanston to retrieve our car from Evanston Hospital. We start walking towards the train, and I feel most of the way, just shell-shocked. I feel way too many emotions to, even now, put into words. An entire 35 hours since we have seen our family, since we have been outdoors, since I have eaten…. You name it. It was rather unreal. The train ride I just sat there thinking about all the people we’re riding with. If I was some random person who had just gone through ALL of that with my baby, what on earth could be the story behind each of these people on the train!?

Finally, we get to Evanston Hospital. I trek to the car and immediately nurse M. She’s clearly really tired, as am I and we just need to get home. I call SBJ to let him know that are actually close and would meet him at the back door. We still had not even unpacked since our return from vacation, and so we were going to unload the car at the back door. I am immediately greeted by him and he kisses and hugs me. His arms around me just brought a surge of emotions. Feeling safe there, overwhelmed with everything I had experienced and unable to express it. The insane guilt I think I will have a very very hard time shaking. I feel guilty for putting her through that and not trusting my own maternal intuition. I should have trusted myself enough to know. I’m angered…. I trusted that advocate I called and expressed my fear too. And I am really upset that person did not feel the need to offer support where so desperately needed. I feel a kink having been away from my other babies for SOOOO long. Never has that ever had to happen that I’d be away for that long. I’m trying to stay chipper as well. My babies do not need to carry this burden. It is so much to bare.

We unpack. SBJ so amazingly has dinner prepared and I’m so over-hungry that I’m not really hungry. I eat something, but immediately feel sick to my stomach. The emotions, the exhaustion maybe. Not sure. I just can’t eat much. I hurry around to unpack things and get things “back to normal.” Maybe if things are put away and cleaned up I will feel like it’s back to the way it should be? I bath M and myself. I can’t wait to take care of that. I hurry to get that done. To wash ourselves of the hospital… oh did that feel so good. I crashed with M by about 7p or 7:30p that evening. Slept through till the next day and even then, I needed more. I passed along M to SBJ in the morning and crawled back into bed till about 10am or so… maybe a bit later. That helps me tremendously! My hunger and appetite are back. But even now…. Days later, I will get a surge of those emotions flooding back into me. It’s so hard to sort out. I don’t know what to do with it. I think I felt that writing it out like this, would help me process it and maybe “spit it out”…. But I feel it still in me. I feel it.

M still has this wound/hole on her hand where they jabbed her with the IV thing. I can’t look at that w/o feeling a flood gate of emotions. When she nurses, and we are having a quiet moment, I can’t help but think about my rant at medical professionals about how nursing it what has kept her this healthy and helped her heel. When I hear sirens down the street or in the neighborhood, I can’t help but cringe and hear my baby screeching at the top of her lungs as the EMT dude is picking his butt getting us to Children’s  Hospital. Watching CNN the other day about the Anthony case where the mom killed her 2 year old baby. I can’t help but get enraged at seeing this and knowing what I, a total attached, peaceful parent went through to seek my baby medical CARE, and yet this lunatic denies killing her girl.

When I have this overwhelming act of kindness thrusted upon me or our family, I can’t help but then feel deep deep sadness and anger for the person that did not show up by my side at 1am when I called on them. I can’t help but feel anger of the nearly 2 full days that was taken from us as a family. And yet…. Look. My family is here, safe and sound and we all survived. The world is turning and people are suffering such enormous travesties, that this is quite miniscule when you look at it. I am grateful to have that perspective. I’m grateful it ended as it should have. It could have escalated to something more serious. We are home. We are safe. We are healthy. The swelling on M’s head is gone now! We are about to embark on summer months, weather, swimming, pools, beaches, parks and more. There are people suffering so greatly in this world right now, and in hindsight this is lesson WELL learned and time to move on. My pent up feelings… we’ll find a good use for them : ) There will be an answer to that question real soon, I am sure of that!

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