First of all I’d like to say a big thank you for all the prayers and offers of help over the last few days. We feel truly blessed to be surrounded by so many people who care. For those of you who don’t know what’s been going on, let me explain.
On Thursday morning Esther and I had our 6 week check-up with the GP. On Friday morning the health visitor came round to see us and all was well. I mention this because it just shows how quickly things can change! That evening I put Aaron and Tabitha to bed as usual.
A little while later Tabitha came to tell me that Aaron had hurt himself so I went into his room to find him lying in bed looking rather tearful. Apparently he had been standing on a rolled up mattress protector which was still in the packaging and then decided to try walking on it, logrolling style. Of course he fell off and landed on his wrist.
I suspected that it would need checking out but it didn’t seem too serious and I didn’t fancy waiting for hours in A&E on a Friday night. I gave him some calpol and checked back on him until he fell asleep, planning to take him for an x-ray in the morning if it was still sore.
Meanwhile, I was becoming a little concerned about Esther as she was refusing to feed. I kept her up a little later than usual to keep trying and put her to bed around 11 pm. When she woke up just after 2 am, I went to pick her up and she felt boiling hot. I immediately took her temperature and it was 39.3. I remembered the midwives and health visitor giving me leaflets saying to seek urgent medical attention for a fever of 38+ degrees in a baby under 3 months, so I threw some things into the changing rucksack and drove her to A&E.
After an initial assessment I was told that we would be fast-tracked, as the waiting time was 6 hours, and the only available space for us to wait was in resus. The alarm on the monitor Esther was hooked up to kept going off as she was tachycardic, with a heartrate of up to 195 bpm. She also had a slow capillary refill and her skin was mottled, so they decided to admit her to the paediatric ward.
When we arrived on the ward we were seen by a lovely doctor who explained everything really well and told us how lucky we are to have the NHS, as healthcare for babies in his home country of Pakistan is much more limited. Esther had blood drawn, was given a cannula and immediately started on antibiotics. I spent most of the next few hours trying to catch a urine sample and cheered with the nurses when I eventually succeeded!
Her initial blood test came back with a very low white blood count. Whereas adults tend to have a high white blood count in response to infection, babies occasionally have a low one. However, neutropenia can also be a symptom of some very serious conditions and infections, so the doctors decided to do a lumbar puncture. Fortunately the spinal fluid was clear, which is a good sign, and they sent it away to the lab to grow cultures along with the blood and urine.
Meanwhile, my parents were looking after the children whilst Colin was at work and had taken Aaron to A&E, where he had some x-rays and was diagnosed with a buckle fracture.
During Saturday night her temperature kept spiking, she continued to be tachycardic and was still feeding poorly. By Sunday the doctors suspected a viral infection as she wasn’t responding to the antibiotics. Her blood, urine and spinal fluid cultures weren’t showing any sign of bacterial growth either. However, they decided to keep her on antibiotics for 5 days rather than 48 hours just to be safe as they were still concerned about the low white blood count.
My parents brought Aaron and Tabitha to visit in the afternoon after Sunday School. Aaron and Esther looked like they had matching arms! Tabitha was a little upset and asked why I couldn’t come home and leave Esther at the hospital.
Esther was inconsolable for hours during Sunday night, but by Monday afternoon she had stopped spiking high temperatures and a second blood test (which had to be done by repeated heel pricks as her veins kept spasming) showed that her white blood count was returning to normal levels. The doctors agreed that we could go on home leave and come back in each day for the antibiotics, with open access to the ward at any time if we needed it.
She cried a lot again during Monday night and developed a slight red rash, but the doctors weren’t concerned as she had been tested so extensively. While I was at the hospital with her on Tuesday, my mum took Aaron to the fracture clinic where he got a nice new red cast. As the fracture is so mild he will only have to have it on for one week instead of the three he was initially told, which is great news as he won’t have to miss his karate grading next week.
Today Esther went back for what was hopefully her last dose of antibiotics, unless the cultures show something new within the next 24 hours which is extremely unlikely. She had her cannula removed and was discharged with a diagnosis of sepsis. Obviously we are very relieved to have her home and well, and I’m hoping that the next few days will be less eventful!