Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I know you guys haven't heard much from me lately. The last week was a little bit of a rough one. Hopefully things have calmed down now and will stay nice and boring for a while.

Last week Roan developed a diaper rash that continued to get worse and worse, despite a visit to her pediatrician and us trying everything we could think of to improve it. Finally on Saturday a week ago it looked worrisome enough to warrant a phone call to the pediatrician's on-call nurse. She told us to be on the safe side, we'd better go ahead and take her into the emergency room at Children's Hospital.

We arrived expecting to be sent home as overprotective first-time parents. Instead, the docs in the ER were very concerned about what they were seeing. Roan was 12 days old at that point, and they explained that babies under a month of age have extremely limited immune systems. What can be a relatively innocuous infection at a few months of age can wreak havoc on a tiny infant, getting into the organs, the spinal fluid, or even the brain. They explained they would have to run cultures from every orifice, as well as doing a spinal tap to check for bacteria and viruses. They also explained they would have to keep her overnight and get her on some IV meds as a precaution.

We were shocked. She had been such an incredibly healthy baby from the very moment of her birth - no jaundice, a good eater, no fevers, a mild disposition. It was hard to believe that she could be so sick. It was awful watching her stuck with needles, swabs going into all sorts of uncomfortable places, and getting her IV placed. I just plain broke out in tears when they said the words "spinal tap." We were overwhelmed all at once with feelings of total responsibility for this little life, and yet complete helplessness to do anything for her. It was gut wrenching.

But Children's Hospital in Denver is one of the top 10 in the country for kids, and all the docs and nurses did everything within their power to make us feel as comfortable as possible. We were given a private room, and they encouraged us to stay with her, breastfeed as usual, and keep her routine as normal as possible. I was so relieved that her hospital stay did not mean an end to breastfeeding.

Anyway, long story short, they kept us for nearly 4 days waiting for all the cultures to come back, dosing her with IV meds and monitoring her vital signs. I stayed right by her side the whole time, feeding her, playing with her, bathing her like normal. And she kept her sweet disposition through it all. She never developed a fever and all the cultures finally came back negative, so they sent us home last Tuesday night with a diagnosis of "contact dermatitis." I can't even tell you how relieved we were.

Meanwhile Arwen was up to his ears in home renovations. My dad had come in for a quick home makeover stay, during which he, Jen and Arwen worked together to demolish and partially rebuild a custom shower as well as convert our laundry/storage rooms into a new office for us. They would work all day doing heavy labor, then bring dinner up to me at the hospital, and Arwen would stay the night with us on this tiny cramped hard bed, being woken up at all hours when the nurses came in to administer medications or check vitals.

Anyway, it was a rough time all around, but it's over now. Everyone's happy and healthy and safe and life is good again.


Joy said...

Oh Heather and Arwen! I'm so glad things are better for you all. How is Roan? Is her rash cleared up yet? We've been watching anxiously for updates and am sorry it had to be a hospital one, but very glad that things are ok!

You guys are in our thoughts!

Xena and BC :)

Anonymous said...

Good Grief! What a rough patch you have been having - more than most. I feel for you - It just shouldn't be that difficult. Thank God you and Arwen are so capable. How are the fancy pants (diapers) working out? Love to all, GGD