On Tuesday morning, my husband brought the big kids in for a visit. They loved seeing their baby brother, but I think they loved the big ball maze that is in the lobby almost as much. The Monkey would literally lay on the floor and watch it until we dragged him away. Yes, I know that I am a bad mom for letting him lay on the floor of a hospital, but he was so intent on figuring out exactly how it worked that I just couldn't disrupt his creative process! lol (I searched and searched for a picture of that ball maze but couldn't come up with one. It really is pretty impressive.)
After some family playtime at the hospital, I got the best gift of the week—my mom came to stay with Roo for the morning so that I could leave and spend time with the Lamb and Monkey. It was so nice to be home with them for a while! I was missing them tons, and it was exacerbated by the fact that I didn't know when Roo would be coming home.
As always, though, things with Roo just weren't that simple. I got a call from my mom that they were having trouble drawing blood again, but it was even worse than usual. This time they were going to have to draw from an artery. That doesn't sound bad, but unfortunately it is a little more involved than a standard blood draw. Roo would have to be taken to a procedure room and a doctor would be called in to get the blood. They were taking him right away to get it done.
And of course, there was more. His sodium levels were still high, which indicated that his kidneys were over-functioning. After the procedure, he would have an ultrasound of his kidneys to make sure that they were OK. At least that one wouldn't be painful.
I wanted so badly to enjoy my time with the older kids, but it was almost impossible to stop thinking about what was happening with Roo. I stayed with the kids until lunchtime, then asked my dad to go ahead and put them down for naps while I went back to the hospital.
The 40-minute drive from my parents' house to the hospital was the most time I'd had completely to myself since Roo was born. I had spent so much time worrying about him and doting over him and thinking about him that I hadn't let myself think about much else (like how I was feeling), but now it all came out. I sobbed, I cried out to God, I even yelled at God a little. I felt like I was being torn to pieces from the inside out. My baby was suffering—every stick to the heel, every poke to the arm brought tears to my eyes. I was terrified that there was something more that we were missing. I felt helpless, knowing that everything going on with him was out of my control. I felt guilty, knowing that he hadn't been getting what he needed in the womb, MY womb. I felt inadequate because it seemed that I was always neglecting someone—if I was at the hospital, I wasn't with Lamb & Monkey; if I was at home, I wasn't with Roo; no matter where I was, I was such a mess that I wasn't much help to my husband. And that poor man, he was doing it all—trying to run his business, coming to the hospital as much as possible, getting the big kids where they needed to be each day, etc, etc, etc. How had this happened? Just a week before I had been pregnant and we had been planning a simple tea party to celebrate Spring Break. Now we're darn near experts on jaundice and hematocrit and… hospital food. "God," I cried, "I know that You knew all this was going to happen and that You are in control… but to be honest, it's not really helping me much right now." And as I had a thousand times before, I wondered again if all these problems Roo was having were just symptoms, signs of a greater underlying issue that we were missing.
Roo had just gotten back to his room when I got there. My mom brought me up to speed on everything, then headed home to help my dad with Lamb & Monkey. The doctor (the attending) came in a few minutes later and explained everything again. The CBC (Complete Blood Count) and sodium were still high. They hadn't come down at all yet, but they weren't increasing either. For now they would continue to monitor. The kidneys—praise God—looked good. The sodium level, she said, should also fix itself with time.
So we settled in to wait and pray. Roo's levels—CBC and sodium—needed to decrease, and his eating needed to increase. Pray, pray, pray. In the meantime, the doctor had given me some good news: they were going to stop the constant blood draws. For the past two days she had told me over and over that 1-the levels just needed time to come down, and 2-that Roo needed as much rest as possible so that he would have energy to eat. But at the same time, they were drawing blood every couple of hours, waking him up and stressing him out between feedings, which made him too tired to eat. It had been very frustrating for me, although I was grateful that they were doing as much as possible to help him. Now they would just draw blood first thing in the morning, and then again in the evening. This was a huge relief to me. Huge. In fact, in some ways I started to enjoy the time at Children's for the next couple of days. OK, maybe that's overstating it a bit… but seriously, from Tuesday afternoon until the day we went home, I didn't have to do anything but hold and snuggle and love my baby. Family and friends stopped by. A pastor from our church came in to pray with us every day. I brought in some movies from home to watch. (And by the way, I learned that if you ever are stuck in a room with basic cable for hours on end, you can pretty much always find an episode of "Law & Order" on somewhere, 24 hours a day, whether it's SVU, CI, or the original. And if by some freak accident there's a time slot without an L&O, you can find a "CSI", usually "CSI: Miami".) But mainly I just loved on my little guy.