Monday, December 13, 2010

Wrong Answer

Ruby and I were 100 kilometers apart for what should have been our first full night together, all because I said Yes when I should have said No.

The day went from being calm and relaxed to rushed and urgent in what felt like a couple of minutes but was actually around 6 hours. The snowball started gradually, before cascading into a full-on avalanche. In a nutshell:
Me: Nurse, Ruby has brought up a bit of this weird green vomit.
Nurse: hmmm, that's odd. I'll tell the Dr to come around. Has she done a poo yet? (answer is no)
Registrar: hmmm, that's not entirely normal. I need to consult with my other important doctor person. Has she done a poo yet? (answer is no)
Pediatrician: hmmm, could be this, or that. Has she done a poo yet? No? Lets move her to special care, not feed her, shove a finger up her butt and give her her first x-ray.
I think special care was when our attitudes started to change a bit. We were no longer in a maternity ward full of families and their new babies, we were in a ward with sick babies and big scary cribs and no visitors allowed. I couldn't wait to get back on the ward when this was sorted.

After lots of idle time waiting around, and Ruby having more tests, the Dr came back to us and told us that Ruby would need to go to Westmead, and the nurses were arranging a chopper or ambulance now, whichever is available first. What??? Blah blah no poo blah blah maybe blockage blah blah might require operation...
My first question, can I go with her? Shouldn't be a problem.

I rushed back to my bed on the ward and started packing my stuff all up. As I was doing this, the NETS (newborn emergency transport service) arrived by ambulance. They were a lovely team of people but then all the red tape stuff began. I couldn't be transferred as a patient, I had to be discharged first. No problem, I had a really helpful nurse who rushed all the paperwork and gave me a crash course on expressing. She was doing her final check-up and asked me casually if my legs were sore. I said Yes.

She looked at me and said "really?". That should have been a huge sign for me to say "just kidding!" but no. I told her really. She suddenly got all concerned and started feeling my legs and explaining how I couldn't leave if I might possibly have DVT.

Umm, hello? I went on a bushwalk yesterday, I gave birth 16 hours ago and I have been on my feet in special care for the last 4 hours!

But no matter how much I downplayed it, she wouldn't budge. I wouldn't get the all clear until my legs were ultrasounded the next morning (this was about 8.30pm). Finally after much convincing, she chased up a doctor who was happy to discharge me after I was injected with something or other and promised to follow it up.
Oh the relief, my baby wouldn't be alone! But...while the dr was explaining this, Craig, Eliza and the NETS team were outside my room with Ruby all hooked up to a spaceship and listening to our conversation. I came out all ready to go only to be told by the NETS dr that I couldn't travel with them if I was a health risk.
My brain quickly tried to think of a solution but I couldn't get my thoughts straight. I kept looking at Ruby inside that thing but I didn't have time to really think of her. The NETS team were eager to get moving, with or without me. My options were:
a. Discharge myself and Craig drives us all down. Really not practical with a 3 year old to think of as well
b. Discharge myself, I stay home with Eliza, Craig drives to Westmead to be with Ruby and we head down in the morning
c. I stay in hospital alone, Craig and Eliza go home and we all go down in the morningl
Well we ended up choosing C. That way Eliza and Craig could get a good night sleep in preparation for a busy next day and I could get my legs checked out first thing in the morning. Craig promised that he would leave really early in the morning and I would meet him there once I got the all clear. So Ruby was whizzed away after I peered goodbye to her through the plastic window and the rest of my little family left also. I was all alone surrounded by other mums and their babies.

I grabbed my phone, walked to the visitors room, sat there in the dark, called my mum and finally let the tears run. I was sad for Ruby, not for myself. This is not how she should have been introduced to the world. This was not the cocoon I wanted her wrapped in.
I felt so bad that she had no family with her. But sometimes things do go your way. My parents were driving from Melbourne to Sydney and were about an hour away from the children's hospital. With no hesitation they drove straight there to be there for Ruby. They arrived just as they were settling her into NICU. Mum was able to give her a cuddle, and that is so important. I am so so grateful to my parents. Not only have they always been there for me, they were there for their youngest granddaughter when she needed them.

This is like what Ruby was transported in but hers had a metal casing over the top so you could only see her through the side window


Mel said...

Oh, dan! I remember it, too, so surreal. Well said, you have me crying here, too. Xox

Danni said...

You were our first and only real visitor for about a week! Poor Christian and Ryan lurking in the corridors..serves him right for asking me if I was sure I had the abay! And I remember I was still in my attractive PJs and slippers, didn't even get a chance to change : )

And thank-you for your donation to NETS, that was a lovely gesture : )

Kelly said...

Oh Danni, I cant imagine how u must have felt alone in the ward that night. Judging by Ruby's beautiful, joyful personality she came thru those first days knowing how loved she was & is already showing that she is just as strong as her mum. xo