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RSV at 10 days old - Miracles, Post-partum, and Hospital Life




Enoch was born on November 2 and after a 4-day stay in the hospital, we were able to take him home. We were lucky enough to have my in-laws come for a few days to help out. After that, my mom came to help me take care of the baby and prepare for Thanksgiving when the rest of my family would join us.


Between our parents' visits, we noticed that Enoch had a small cough, but nothing really seemed to be bothering him. The day my mom arrived his cough was getting a little worse. The next day his breathing was a little funny. We were concerned, but since he did not have a fever and was eating fine, we decided to wait one more day and if it was still bad or getting worse, I would call his doctor in the morning. Wednesday morning I called as soon as I could. I knew something was wrong that night.


By the middle of the day, we got him into the emergency pediatrician and she was positive it was RSV. She called CHOMP (the hospital we delivered at) but their NICU was full. She called Natividad (the next city over) and they weren't sure about space, but told us to come into the ER. We decided to stop at home and grab some extra frozen milk for Enoch and let my mom know what was going on. I was so caught up in the moment I definitely didn't prepare well for the ER. How could we not be panicking a little bit? Before we left the house, Jeremiah gave Enoch a blessing in the car. We knew he would be okay and we would get through it.


The ER

When we got to the ER they told us that only one parent could go in with him (Stupid COVID...). So I grabbed the diaper bag and Enoch and went in. I had to stop at a desk to answer all the questions and do paperwork and blah, blah, blah. The hallway was so gloomy... We finally got taken back into a little private room where the nurse wanted to do a bunch of measurements and more blah, blah, blah. I was so grateful when another nurse came in and told her that it could be done later and there was a room for us. I was annoyed that they kept asking me if he had got tested for RSV. It was pretty obvious he had it, but eventually, they tested him. It took some time to settle down into the room. They ran tests, asked me questions, and hooked up some oxygen for him. The tubes weren't working so well, so eventually, they just had me hold an oxygen mask close to his face. The monitor on his toes kept coming off and setting off alarms as well.


At one point I had realized that my phone didn't have much battery left... neither did Jeremiah's. I also had taken the keys from him. He sat outside with nowhere to go and a

nearly dead phone (he had my wallet too, so some of the paperwork got tricky. Just our luck). On top of that, Enoch wouldn't breastfeed and I didn't have a pump. I needed to take care of Enoch first. The only milk I had left was the partially frozen bag. I was alone and scared and stressed. Did I mention that this hospital is next to a prison and I watched many people in handcuffs walk by? Yeah... that didn't help. I poured what milk I could into a bottle and... HE DRANK IT. What a miracle that he didn't care if the milk was nearly freezing. I was so relieved that he was drinking it! The only problem now was that I really needed to pump. Luckily, I had my haakaa. I was able to lay Enoch down with the mask close to him long enough to use it for just a bit. Time went by, doctors came in and out, and I was really getting tired of the ER. It was getting late too. I was starving. When his test came back positive they said that we needed to be admitted. The only problem is that they only had space for one patient, but two were waiting. One of us would go to Standford.


After about 5 hours in the ER, one of the nurses came in again. I told her that my husband was stuck outside this whole time and I had the car keys. I asked if she or I could take them out to him. She said she was just going to see if she could get him inside. I was so happy to see him when he came back with here a while later. Soon enough, we got the news that we would be staying at Natividad rather than going to Stanford. I don't recall what time we finally got into a room, but I was so glad to be there. It was a nice big room with a crib for Enoch, a hospital bed, and a reclining chair. I was able to get some post-partum supplies and finally a pump!


After getting settled, Jeremiah decided to run home to get some more things for us. The nurses were so amazing and kept making sure that we were taken care of. They brought us what food they could and said they would get us some meals the next day. It was past 11pm so we were just happy to have a room. Sometime after midnight we finally got some rest. Enoch slept most of the time as well, but we fed him every few hours.


The next day came too fast. As they monitored Enoch, it seemed that he wasn't really improving. They tried more oxygen, albuterol and a few different things. His levels just weren't getting to where they needed to be. My mom came to visit and hang out with us while they continued to monitor him and make decisions. They also did an X-ray of his chest to see how bad it might be. Luckily his chest looked pretty good and he never got a fever! Eventually, they decided that he was probably going to need a CPAP and they didn't have one available there, or room in their NICU. They contacted Stanford Children's Hospital and luckily they just had one of their isolated NICU rooms open up!


While the ambulance was on its way they prepped Enoch to be transferred.

Throughout this whole experience, I was constantly comforted and knew he was going to be okay and taken care of. I'm surprised I didn't cry as they poked him and hooked him up to machines. I'm surprised I didn't cry as I tried to handle everything while still recovering from birth. Maybe it was the shock. Maybe it was the "Super-Mom Mode" we go into when something is wrong. But the tears came. In preparation for Enoch to be transferred, they needed to get a small feeding tube down his throat. Each time they tried, he spit it out. They said it usually goes smoothly with newborns, but he was just a little older. They tried again and again with some breaks between. They tried getting him to take a pacifier to help him swallow it down... but he has never taken a pacifier up to this point and he wasn't about to. And that's when the tears came. As I sat on a hospital bed listening to my newborn cry and scream for help when there was nothing I could do. I could pray that everything would be okay and that he be comforted. Jeremiah stood by in case he could do anything and my mom hugged me as I let the tears out. I still knew he would be okay... but hearing your little baby cry like that feels like someone is suffocating your heart.


















Once the Stanford team arrived they took over. They were finally able to get the feeding tube in and secure. A very nice lady on the transport team let us know what was going to happen. She told us we could follow the ambulance or take care of anything we needed to before we went and met them there. We got all the contact info and everything we needed. They put Enoch in a cute little bed with everything he needed to be transported to the ambulance. As we said goodbye he was looking so cute using his hand to hold in the pacifier. (Remember how I mentioned that he has never taken a pacifier haha).


We gathered our things and went home. On our way out of the parking lot, we saw his cute little ambulance leave. We took our time to get clothes, snacks, pumping supplies, post-partum supplies, and anything else we thought we might need. They told us there would probably be a place for us to stay. (We felt so bad leaving Runi again after the way we left him when we went to the hospital to have Enoch. But at least my mom would be there with him.)


Standford

Much of our stay at Standford is a blur now, but I know that we wouldn't have rather been anywhere else. Enoch had his own little private NICU room and his nurses were so amazing. I was so impressed with each doctor, student, resident, and everyone. The family private rooms were full when we got there, but there were two couches in the bigger family room that turned into beds for us. Unfortunately, the room was very drafty and we started to get a little sick. They had a NICU cam set up so friends and family at home could see him. I was able to get a $30 voucher for food each day since I was breastfeeding too. We had access to a social worker, lactation consultant, chaplain, and many other helpers. The hospital is also so adorable. We liked walking around the cute gardens, the artwork, and they had a neat religious, quiet space.



When we arrived we went straight to see Enoch and met some of his care team. Twice a day they switch off who cares for him and at that time they have a meeting all together to discuss his care - we were always invited to join of course. I was also impressed with that so everyone was always on the same page with what was going on and on the decisions. We were free to visit Enoch at any time. I, of course, was still pumping every few hours so we would be in and out to drop off the milk for him. He couldn't eat for a day or two, but soon enough he was getting well enough to eat. The gave him a little milk at a time, but you could tell he just wanted to eat it all! Once he could eat as much as he wanted I couldn't even keep up with pumping! We had to use a little bit of donor milk.


My mom visited every other day. The other days she would stay in Monterey and explore. Luckily, she was able to come in even though some regulations with COVID were still strict. We tried to get out of the hospital a little bit each day. We went to Ikea, ate out with my cousin Emily (who was working at Stanford), tried some new restaurants, and went exploring around Palo Alto.


I seriously couldn't believe how great the nurses were. One of our favorites was Tony. He worked the night shift and walked around like a jolly Santa. He made of all the babies a little "nest" out of blankets. He told us that he was going to seminary to become a Priest, but decided to become a NICU nurse instead. He was one of the only ones that said Enoch's name right from the start. Another nurse realized a time when Enoch just wanted to be held, so when we went to eat lunch he sat in the recliner and just held Enoch for an hour or so.


We kept thinking we would be going home soon, but the date kept getting pushed. Eventually, we just prayed we would go home before Thanksgiving. Each day, Enoch improved more and more though. It took a while to get his oxygen to where it needed to be though. Here is the funny part of the story though. After a few days of him getting off of the CPAP and other things, the doctors started to notice the way his tongue curled to the side and his mouth wasn't totally symmetric. They asked us about it as well, but we were always more worried about his RSV up to this point. When Enoch was born they told us it was something he would probably grow out of, but they weren't 100% sure what it was or what caused it. They asked if they could run some tests to try to see why he was born with this defect and to rule out any potential bigger problems.



So while Enoch recovered the doctors also did many tests including an MRI, Ultrasound, labs, and more. Each day they discussed everything with us, and every test was coming back normal. At least we could go home knowing that almost everything about him was in good shape! When we left the hospital we had an appointment with an ENT to do some further testing to make sure his swallowing, eating, and hearing, would not be affected in the future.


Going Home

Well, we were finally told that we would most likely be going home the day before Thanksgiving! That last night, one of the private rooms opened up so we were able to stay in there and take naps and pump! That day we also woke up to a cute little turkey made from Enoch's foot hanging on his NICU wall!

That morning my Dad was flying in as well. He was able to come visit Enoch as they were doing all of our discharge work. We left together and later that night, the rest of the family came to enjoy Thanksgiving.


Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, and other staff that helped us through this journey and served our family.





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