Before having children I actively avoided thinking about the notion that one day my child might be so sick that they would need to be admitted to hospital. I think as a parent, no-one ever wants to imagine their child being that ill because when they are it is heartbreaking. Thankfully, we have have a good public health system, knowledgeable doctors and caring nurses to help when we have sick children. I am grateful that during this time I didn't have to worry so much because, even though Nicholas had bronchiolitis, they gave him oxygen when he had trouble breathing, a feeding tube when he was too tired to feed himself, and a full-time nurse to watch him when things were really bad. I would hate to think how things would have been if we didn't have any of these things.
Sadly, keeping out of hospital, other than when he was born, didn't last very long. Only 11 weeks. And I honestly think that this time in hospital was more tiring than the first. Not only was Nicholas' sleep disturbed regularly by doctors and nurses poking and prodding, but so was mine. On the first night we were there, we sat in paeds emergency from about 8pm until we were admitted to a ward at about 1.30am. After talking with the nurses, feeding Nicholas one last time, saying goodbye to Daniel and helping Nicholas to sleep, I finally got to lie down and sleep around 4am, only to woken up at 6.30pm for another feed. This sleep deprivation continued the entire time Nicholas was in hospital, and to some extent is still happening even though we are home. So much so, that I now have a cold and am running on empty.
The hardest thing though, apart from the sleep deprivation, was seeing Nicholas in pain. Over the last few days all I have really heard from him is crying. On the Friday night, while waiting in emergency the nurses had to take some blood for testing. They did this by pricking his heel and then squeezing it. At first it didn't seem so bad. He didn't cry when the prick occurred but after they started squeezing his foot, he tried so hard to get away from them. He struggled and screamed more than ever before, and I found it so difficult to keep hold of him. I found it so distressing that I ended up in tears also. So when it came to putting in a nasal gastric tube, because he was too weak to feed, I just had to leave the room. I just couldn't bring myself to watch him struggle that much again. What I could do though was be there to give him cuddles afterwards.
After 4 or so days in hospital we were sent home with the all clear. And it is great to be home. There is just no comparison. Nicholas is slowly on the mend, but still very clingy and grumpy, and cries far more than usual. Also, his sleep patterns were disrupted in hospital, so now he has to relearn those too. Hopefully over the next few days things will start to get a bit better. And thankfully, I have great friends and family, who bring us dinner so I don't have to cook, and who come over and help me or listen to me cry on the phone when I am not coping.
Here are some photos of our time in hospital.
And two of favourites