Friday, February 22, 2013


This is going to be a bit hard for me to write. Gavin got pretty sick at 6 weeks old and was hospitalized with RSV for almost a week.

We noticed that he was not acting quite right, and had started to wheeze. He was wheezing on and off the weekend of the Super Bowl, and had started to get better that Sunday night, or so we thought. We thought it might be allergies, since we are thinking Avery is starting to get them. Both my mom and I have them, so there is a good chance our kids will. We had been to the DR that Thursday before and he checked out both kids.

Monday, he slept a lot more than normal, and didn't want to eat, and when he did, he spit most of it back up. I called my mom crying because I could tell something was not right, and I didn't want him to get dehydrated, so I took him to the ER around 5. I called Tony to go get Avery from daycare, because I didn't even want to take the time to pick her up on our way. Gavin was pale,  lethargic, and seemed to be struggling to breathe.

The nurses in the ER got him stripped down, on oxygen, and a pulse oxygen monitor right away, and told me they thought it was RSV. The doctor thought so too, and they tested his snot to confirm, which it did.

At this point Tony had picked up Avery and had called to see if I wanted them to come down to the ER. I told them that I did, because when he called, we still didn't know what exactly was going on. They showed up right as we were walking down the hall to get a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. The x-ray looked good, but since it showed he had Bronchialitis, and the RSV, they were going to admit us that night. We thought we would be in 1 night and on our way home that next day. We were foolish.

 Because it has been such a bad season for FLU and RSV, they wouldn't allow Avery up on the Children's floors, so Tony and Avery couldn't come up with us to get settled. It was just me and Gavin. I had my phone which was dying, and my purse/diaper bag. No glasses, contact solution, toothbrush, phone charger... nothing. I didn't once consider that us going to the ER would mean staying overnight, much less the 5 nights we ended up staying.

I sent this picture to Tony once we got admitted into our room:

I told him it looked like baby jail. The doctors explained that they were going to monitor his breathing and would need to get him on Vapo Therm, which is a purer, higher oxygen level than what we breathe. The higher levels would add enough force though the tubes to keep his airways open. The nurses also came in often to suction his nose and mouth out with the excess mucus/snot to help him breathe.

This is the Vapo Therm machine and we started at this level. Our day doctor thought Gavin was doing well based on his numbers from this monitor:

 and ordered him down to 8 LPM. He did ok during the day, but that night struggled and had to be bumped back up to 10- then, 11.

Tuesday night was the worst. Tony had come up Tuesday to see us and bring me a change of clothes and some toiletries.

Around 4 I left him with Gavin to pick up Avery from daycare and to spend some time with her. Thank goodness for Tony's sister Lori who helped us out by coming over to stay at our house so that both Tony and I could be at the hospital with Gavin that night.

I got back to the hospital and got settled in on the pull out couch and Tony went back home to Avery, so Lori could get home. That was when the nurse saw Gavin and told me she was going to get the DR. I am still not sure what she saw that made her concerned, but they came in quick and got him bumped back up on the Vapo Therm and stopped his feeding tube. {Oh, yes I forgot to mention that when they admitted us, they told me that Gavin couldn't nurse with the Vapo Therm in his nose, and would have to have a feeding tube. So they got me a pump so that I could pump milk for the feeding tube.}  They were going to feed him through his IV that they had put in on Monday night, just in case. The tube didn't stay put in his little wrist, so they tried both arms, both feet and attempted to put the IV in his head. This was all happening at 3 AM, so I was a hot mess. I was exhausted and terrified. I had to see them poking my baby all over, him bleeding, and struggling to breathe. It was awful. Truly awful. They finally called a NICU nurse who was able to get the IV in his arm, and they got Gavin back to where he needed to be with the higher levels of oxygen. They told me that if he didn't improve, or got worse over the course of the next 12 hours, they would look at moving him to the NICU and put him on a breathing machine to breathe for him.

I filled Tony in that morning when he called on his way to the hospital after dropping Avery off at daycare. I also called my mom. Once my parents heard how our night went, they headed straight down I-35 to see us. Not only did we want and need the support of my parents, we needed help with Avery. She wasn't allowed to come with us to the hospital and we both wanted and needed to be with Gavin. It helped so much to have my parents around to give us the flexibility to both be at the hospital to talk to the doctors and be with our little guy. Not to mention, Avery LOVED having them around. Tony also told me he was relieved to have some help at home. We were both exhausted.

 Thankfully Gavin started to get better on Wednesday and we were able to reduce his oxygen levels again to start to ween him off the Vapo Therm and get him on room air oxygen. The goal was to get him to be able to breathe well on his own and to have us be able to manage the mucus/phlegm with a bulb syringe at home, rather than the vacuum they were using at the hospital.

Thursday and Friday were better and better, and they did some breathing treatments to him 3 times a day with a nebulizer to help get the mucus out. 

By Friday afternoon, were back down to regular oxygen and then off of it completely by Friday night. We had a good feeling we were going to be able to go home on Saturday.

We were able to get all tubes and IV's removed Saturday morning and got the ok to go home on Saturday afternoon. I don't think Tony or I have ever felt such relief.

He is currently 9 weeks old, and doing great. We took him in for a check up with our pediatrician and he got the ok from him too. We are now a lot more sensitive to exposing him to the public, and to germs. If you come to our house now, be prepared to be doused in hand sanitizer and turned away if you have even a tiny sniffle. 

Thank you so much to my parents whom I could not live without. They were a huge, huge help. Between transporting Avery around, running errands for us, helping out with laundry so that Tony and I had clean clothes {because housework and laundry are the last thing on the minds of parents with children in the hospital}, making meals for us to have whenever we did get home, and for the love and support that we needed as we were worried sick about our boy. Just hugging your mom and dad helps immensely. 

Thanks also to Lori, Tony's sister, for helping us out with Avery, since she wasn't allowed at the hospital. Avery loves her aunt Lori!

 Thanks to Sara, Avery's daycare mom, for offering flexible hours for Avery so we could be at the hospital with Gavin. And for making the get well soon sign for his room. Avery was very proud of her and her friends sign for her brother. 

I randomly came across this list below the week after we got home from the hospital and thought it was incredibly true. It is a a list of how to help parents with young children in the hospital. Before having to spend almost a week in the hospital with Gavin, I wouldn't have been sure the best way to help either, and this list would have been a great reference. 

Do you have a friend facing an unexpected (or planned) hospital stay with a child? Wondering what you can do to help them? Or are YOU facing a hospital stay with your child, and feeling too overwhelmed to come up with something to suggest when others ask how they can help you?
Here are some ideas of things I’ve done for others, things others have done for us, and things that just sound nice.
  • Bring Food.
    Real, Homecooked meals
    Vegetables (vegetables are so hard to get in the hospital)
    Fresh Fruits
    Flavored Drinks, or pop if the person drinks pop.
    French Fries (seriously, we’re in for about a week and I start craving french fries from McD’s)
  • Gift Cards
    Places that deliver food to the hospital
    Hospital system food
    Places not owned by hospital but within the hospital (coffee shop, book store)
    Gas Stations
    Hospital hair salon
    Other hospital services that are “extras” like that (UIHC has massage stations, for example)
  • Company.
  • Unexpected surprises. Of any sort.
  • Mail. I love getting mail when I’m in the hospital.
  • Texts or email just to check in.
  • Books, magazines (or gift card to hospital gift shop to buy one for themself)
  • Use of a laptop, kindle, ipad, or similar if they don’t have one
  • Offering to hang out with the child so the parent can run to the store, go for a walk, go outside, go somewhere and cry, whatever.
  • Help at Home
    Pet Care
    Promises to shovel snow if needed, or mow grass if needed. (in our case, Randy can obviously do these things himself when I’m in with Teddy, but he also has to work full time and be a single parent and he also wants to come visit us on the weekends and it’s just plain NICER for him to not have to worry about these things.)
    Meals for parent/siblings at home
    Light housekeeping
    Ferrying mail between home and hospital
    Helping with other kids (taking them to lessons or classes, taking to/picking up from school, taking on fun field trips, providing before/after school care, etc.)
  • And today, in a group I’m in, someone suggested mini bottles of liquor. Which are of course forbidden in hospitals, and aren’t appropriate for everyone, but I’ve had days when an amaretto and coke would have been a nice way to finish out the evening.

Thank you to everyone who called, texted, and sent us messages. We truly appreciated each and everyone checking in on us, and Gavin. Thankfully we are all in good health now, and we pray that it stays that way.

1 comment:

  1. Oh girl I am so sorry - I am so glad that he is doing better. I have known numerous people whose infants have gotten this - it is so scary. HUGS!