Thursday, 26 January 2012

11-12 weeks - Part One

I remember a nurse coming down to the Shropdoc Clinic to take us to the Children's Ward. The Shropdoc Dr squeezed my arm as he said goodbye, and wished us well. I could have hugged him for listening, and taking Emma's condition seriously.

The Nurse lead us down a corridor, she walked very quickly, she told me that the Children's ward was very nice, and that the staff would probably let me stay overnight with Emma. I replied that I would like to see them make me leave! She looked a little shocked, and I decided it best not to say anything else to her, Andy spoke to her. At home Emma slept in the crook of my arm, she had never slept in a cot, the thought of it horrified me. We were taken straight into a room with just one bedspace, it was next to the nurses station. The walls were made of glass, I felt like I was in a goldfish bowl.

The offended nurse left and another came in and strapped a monitor to Emma's foot, the monitor started to beep. "Definatly a croupy one" she said, I explained that the Shropdoc Dr didn't think so. The nurse said that she needed oxygen, and started to set up a large tent inside the cot in the room. Another nurse came in and hearing the noise Emma was making said outloud " A croupy one" and the first nurse agreed, and the second opened all of the windows. I tried again to explain that it wasn't croup, and they explained that there were procedures that they had to follow. I was getting agitated at the thought of having to put Emma into the tent in the cot. Emma was starting to get upset, picking up on my rising stress levels. The alarms started to sound on the monitor. The nurses set up an oxygen mask to a pipe on the wall, a Dr came in, and started to read the notes and to fire questions at us. I ignored them all and set about comforting Emma, knowing that she needed to feed. She latched on quickly, and the alarms went off, her heart rate went down and her oxygen levels soared back. The Dr smiled, the nurses put the rigged up mask next to me "just incase" and left the room. The Dr sat down, and introduced himself, and then said "Can I suggest you just keep doing what you are doing, it's working."

He explained that she needed to be x-rayed straight away. Emma was calmer now, and with Andy carrying the monitor the Dr led us through the dark corridors to the x-ray dept. He asked who Emma's paediatrician was, he looked sad when I explained that he was, she had an appointment with him the following month. He explained that she probably needed a tracheostomy, and that she may need to be air-lifted to the Children's Hospital. The x-rays went smoothly, and we were soon back on the ward. The Dr sat and chatted some more, again Emma got upset, and the alarms went off, nurses came running, but again when she fed, the alarms went off. The Dr asked me if I would be ok to just sit and hold her, and feed her, just to feed her, we needed to keep her oxygen levels up. He then went to phone the Children's Hospital about transferring her. The Dr had indicated something to a nurse, and she brought me a large jug of water and a glass. I noticed the tent had been taken away.

The Dr came back he looked worried. There were no beds available at the Children's Hospital in the nearest city. We would have to wait. So for three days we waited, and on Drs orders I did not move from that room, except for quick runs to the bathroom. The cot was replaced with a bed so that I could lie down with Emma. The Dr arranged for all of my meals to be brought to me in the room, and the nurses kept topping up my water jug, and refilling a fruit bowl that had appeared at some stage for me to eat. Everytime a nurse or a Dr went past they smiled and told me what a great job I was doing. The alarms didn't go off again during that time.

Then the call came through to say there was a bed on the specific ward that Emma needed to go to. The ambulance men arrived on the ward with a trolley, a full-sized trolley! We put Emma's bags on to it, the Dr explained to them that Emma needed to be in my arms, in the ambulance as much as possible, that she stayed calmer there, and I should feed her as much as she wanted to. One of the nurses from the ward came with us. I remember that we got lost in the city,and the nurse gave directions from the shopping centre to the hospital! We arrived there safely, and got in a lift which took us to the top floor. We walked to the ward, through security, and in. The nurse who had come with us let out a low whistle. It was an awe inspiring place.

It was so quiet, silent. I was shown into a very large room, there were two cots in there. A baby, a new very small baby was in one cot with monitors blinking and beeping, he was asleep. The nurse who had come with us came and said goodbye, and said she would see us again when we were transferred back. Andy arrived soon afterwards. He had followed the ambulance. A nurse came and booked Emma in. She explained we had arrived during the Easter week, and due to that nothing much was likely to happen until next week. Emma would have a scan that afternoon to confirm that the mass was a hemangioma, and bloods would be taken. A magic man who over the next month often took Emma's blood or put in or replaced cannula, came and introduced himself. He was so good at his job, finding a vein first time in the smallest hands and arms.

Then the mother of the sleeping baby arrived, in a wheelchair with paramedics, transferred directly from the hospital where she had given birth a few hours earlier. She was so visibly relieved to be back with her baby who was here because of a heart condition. I had realised that this ward was a cardiac ward, I was confused and asked the nurse why Emma was there, she explained that they had the highest staff to patient ratio. She asked me about Emma's feed, and when I mentioned breastfeeding she said they would make a bed up for me next to the cot, and that Emma could sleep in there with me.

Later we were taken into the dungeons of the hospital for an ultrasound scan. Emma got agitated, when the scanner was put on to her back. The monitors started to beep, and the nurse who had come from the ward told the radiographer that I needed to feed her. Emma settled quickly and the radiographer asked if I would be comfortable with Emma being scanned whilst I fed her. I had no idea that hospital staff could be so flexible and understanding. The scan was done without a fuss. It was a hemangioma, not a lymphatic malformation. Hemangiomas go in time, LMs don't, they just grow and grow, sometimes bits can be surgically removed, but overtime they grow back. The radiographer was saying this all outloud to her assistant. When she said, not LM, Andy punched the air, and I squealed "Yes!" in delight. The radiographer and her assistant smiled and laughed. The radiographer said "You know what I'm talking about, educated parents!"

Andy grabbed me a sandwich from the hospital shop for my supper, and left me & Emma for our first night at Children's. He had to travel back to put our older two children to bed, they had been cared for by our extended family, but every night he went back so they could sleep in their own beds. He said he would be back to bring me breakfast. I wasn't allowed to eat on the ward, but there was a parents room at the end of the corridor where I could eat quickly and then get back to Emma. I felt very alone, but that at last we were in the right place to get help for Emma.

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