and then we went to the hospital

Four days ago we thought we were in the clear, but we were wrong. Poor little Henry is still very much in the throes of this awful sickness which up until last night had no name other than the general term: Stomach Bug. The doctors have now named the beast rotavirus and what a beast it is! After 7 days of nonstop loss of fluids and an ever declining stamina and mood, we returned to the pediatrician’s office for a check-up. Upon seeing Henry’s red-rimmed eyes and pale face, she declared it time to go to the hospital for an IV and blood draw. Henry was clearly dehydrated, sad, and ready to be over this bug. The doctor thought that perhaps an infusion of fluids would be just enough to get him over this hump and onto the path of recovery. A blood draw would also help his medical team get a better sense of what he was dealing with and if he was low on any essential vitamin or nutrient.

When we arrived at the hospital, it felt surreal, dramatic, and scary. Henry was cradled in my arms while we waited to hear our name called. Once in the back, we changed him into the tiniest hospital gown and rocked him side to side until the ER doctor arrived. Similar to our pediatrician, she declared him dehydrated and ordered the work to commence. Everyone has their own “hard” that they are dealing with so comparing “hards” is futile. When you compare hards all that is accomplished is hurt feelings. My purpose in sharing this is not to suggest that our hard in tackling this bug and trying to provide comfort to Henry is more hard than perhaps yours, rather it is a way to process this ongoing challenging time in our family. The nurses were amazing. I cannot imagine what they must see on a daily basis in pediatric emergency. Their professional compassion and care helped David and I to cope with the procedure ahead: placing an IV into Henry’s tiny little arm. They swaddled him with one arm out and said, “Okay, now it is time to distract him as best you can.”  The look of fear was so prominent on his little face. David and I tried our best along with the Child Life Specialist to do this. The Specialist blew bubbles and spun a pinwheel and David and I reached down deep into our courage in order not to cry and rather to sing songs. We started with his favorite Proud Mary and moved on to a variety of classic baby songs while Henry cried and was confused and scared. This literally torn my heart out and as I write it, I am again awash in the feelings of loss, isolation, fear, and worry. Once the line was established, Henry was able to relax a little bit as they attached the fluids and wrapped it up so his curious little baby self didn’t play with it. We started to sing “If you’re happy and you know it” (one of his very favorite songs though quite dark for what was at hand) and the little guy brought his hands together for a clap. Despite being so tiny, he is so strong and tough this kiddo!  We spent the rest of the time in the hospital cradling him while he napped on and off and trying to entertain him when his spirits were up. We left hoping this was the silver bullet. But, it was not and we are on day 10 of this relentless bug which is just beating the heck out of our baby and leaving his parents more and more despondent and worried. Seriously, when will this bug leave. Poor poor poor Henry…

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