Eva is back in hospital! Although we are trying out a new hospital, the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Eva seems to have an infection. They are running tests to find out exactly the cause but she will have at least 48 hours of intravenous antibiotics.
Sunday night when Andrew went to wake Eva for a feed he rushed out to say that something was wrong. I could see that Eva was arched back, rigid and with bubbles at her mouth. I presumed she was having a fit because she had inhaled some vomit. I tried some back blows and she seemed to catch her breath within a minute or so (of course it seemed like an eternity). Andrew said it was an awful feeling knowing that Eva wasn’t right and that she wasn’t in that position voluntarily.
We called the ambulance straight away and the call centre lady talked calmly to me while we waited for the crew to arrive. They took about 25 minutes. During this time Eva settled down but we realised that she was very hot. Thus it seems she had a febrile convulsion, a common reaction that babies have to a fever. During this time Eva looked distressed and had a startled look. We tried to reassure her whilst cooling her down.
The ambulance crew came and of course thought it best to get her straight to the hospital. Within 5 minutes Eva and I were in the back of the ambulance and on the road. Eva was still pretty shocked and very subdued. Her temperature reading was low but of course it was inaccurate as they were using an adult thermometer! Her oxygen level was low also so she had an oxygen mask hovering over her face to give her a boost.
At the hospital I followed the ambulance crew through a horrendously busy waiting room and was shortly after joined by Andrew. We were taken to a room and waited for the doctor to examine Eva. The doctor examined a very calm Eva and felt that she was stable but given her prematurity she would need a full septic screen to rule out infection. This is what we presumed would happen. Eva had blood taken and a cannula inserted into her vein. The worst part was when the doctor bent back her hand to simply look for a vein to use – Eva was beside herself as she knew what was to follow! Next was the lumbar puncture, taking some fluid from around the spinal cord. Eva did well for this although it was awfully stressful for her. Lastly Eva had a chest xray.
Eva had a few drinks at the breast during this time. This seemed to calm her and satisfy her thirst although she still seemed a little dehydrated.
All of this took just under 4 hours. We then were transferred to ward 38, a general medical ward and the nicest hospital room I have ever seen. The ward is only about 15 months old and is purpose built. There is a fold out bed and ensuite bathroom. It is very civilised. Of course by this stage we were all exhausted. Andrew headed home to reassure Mum and Dad who had been left packing a bag for me and speaking to family. Also he phoned his parents.
Eva had her bottle and settled down to a fitful sleep attached to an oxygen saturation monitor that frequently alarmed throughout the night (mostly because of a poor signal reading). Of course this meant I barely slept. Luckily after an early morning feed we both caught up on some sleep. Harriet from SCBU was working overnight so it was nice to see a familiar face! The cot Eva sleeps in is massive and makes her look minute! My bed is in the corner and it is strange not having her next to me.
Today Eva has been stable with a couple of spikes in her temperature but no other signs of infection. Her test results have so far come back unremarkable. They are thinking it may be a viral infection and are waiting for the lumbar puncture sample to confirm this. Eva continues on intravenous antibiotics and we are trying to encourage her to breastfeed often to keep her fluids up. She is very restless and not sleeping well.
In this ward there is a Play Specialist (what a job title!). She came and gave Eva a mobile for her cot, which lights up and plays lullabies. This has been a pleasant distraction. Mum and Dad came to visit this afternoon relieved to see Eva looking better than when she left the flat last night. Andrew has quickly slipped back into his routine of before and after work visits for cuddles.
Today I have had visits from Vron the Chaplain and Katja the SCBU Family Support Worker. It is like a little family that continue to care for us after we have left. We are feeling relieved that Eva is improving today but look forward to her returning to herself. This confirms for us that our journey is a bumpy one and the ups and downs continue! Eva is of course strong and feisty and will come through this even more determined. We look forward to your prayers and thoughts supporting Eva’s continued improvement and our ongoing strength.