Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to Survive a Night at the Hospital with Your Baby

She gave us a good scare with low oxygen levels the night before, but was herself again in no time.

Preparing to stay at the hospital for the birth of a child is done with excitement, checklists, and advanced warning (usually).

But who ever prepares for the ordeal of a suddenly sick child that requires constant care in the hospital?

With Esther's overnight stay last week, I have now slept in two different hospitals with two different babies.  Luckily, this time behind baby bars was brief, but it's an ordeal no matter how one cuts it.

The emergency room is not a place for babies: you cannot set them down anywhere, but must hold them, strapped to whatever monitors they have attached, and call for help should your baby need to be changed or fed or...whatever.  Once transferred to a pediatric unit, the going is slightly easier, as they will have little cribs, but it's still not the most comfortable place to attempt to care for a child, let alone yourself.

I've learned it can be less of an ordeal if one is prepared.

With Gideon, I was ushered from a casual doctor's visit to the hospital via ambulance without being allowed to go home.  This time, I arrived at the hospital directly from a road trip, so was able to bring food and luggage with me once admitted to the hospital.

Now that I have done this twice, I plan on take the stroller into the hospital with me (so I can set baby down and they can sleep in the ER!), and incorporating a hospital stay plan into a 72 survival kit, making sure to include the following:

1) An emergency childcare contact for any siblings.

2) Phone & charger.

3) Boxed shelf milk, especially as my babe takes a special kind of milk.

4) Three pairs of pajamas for the baby.

5) Baby medications, including tylenol/paracetomal (it can take hours to get this).

6) Whatever sleep aids for the baby - soothing blanket, white noise maker, etc., and any means to make their crib dark if needed.

7) Modest pajamas (yes, you are allowed to smile), warm socks, slippers, and an eye mask, plus a change of undies for me.

8) Basic toiletries - shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, face wash, face towel, and moisturizer, plus basic medications for mamma.

9) Copies of medical records for the baby and insurance card.

10) Snacks and food - for both of you - and a big water bottle - for at least 24 if not 72 hours.  No one will feed you unless you are nursing, and you can't leave your baby to go get food.

No need to bother with diapers and wipes- they provide that, and have pre-weighed the diapers for you because they weigh all soiled diapers as a way to measure progress.

If you've been unfortunate enough to have endured a hospital stay, what do you recommend putting into a hospital survival kit?

Back in November 2013, Gideon was on a nebulizer as well as oxygen tubes with RSV.  Esther had a oxygen nebulizer and had the tubes put in before she went to sleep, but thankfully never needed to use them throughout the night.

Small Wonders
* Esther's vocabulary includes mamma, dadda, all done, bot bot (for bottle), hi, Gideon, animal sounds (baa, moo, something akin to cock-a-doodle-do, and neh), and, my recent favorite, thank you.  She can also sign for more, all done, drink, and hello/goodbye.  She'll mimic just about any non-verbal sound as well, including clearing your throat.  
* Gideon's little friend Mary came over the other day, and Gideon got really shy, almost like a teenager.  His response to almost everything she said was, "Wow, that's cool," or "wow, that's fun."  I couldn't help but tittle.
* Gideon surprised us the other day by saying  while playing with his toys, "turbo engines, prepare for blast off!"  Never know what he is learning from cartoons.
* Last night, Gideon placed all his little people in his double-decker bus, pairing people by shirt and hair color, and carefully turning their faces forward.  OCD at its finest.
* Gideon always amazes us with his puzzling abilities - 25 piece puzzles aren't difficult enough, so we will upgrade to 50 piece puzzles \for our two year old. 

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