Her Bad Mother

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Closer You Are To Fine

We spent most of the afternoon, yesterday, at the hospital. It is not a happy experience, taking your baby to the hospital. Even when you've mentally psyched yourself and have told yourself that it's nothing it's nothing it's nothing it's just tests they're just being cautious it's just tests there's nothing wrong, it's rough. When they tell you that you need to bring your baby to the hospital for tests, that they need to check his spine, that he has some markers for spinal problems, for serious things but maybe nothing but still maybe serious, that it might not be anything but maybe it's something so it must be checked, it must, your heart constricts and you hold your breath.

And you can manage the constricted heart and the withholding of breath until you get there, to the hospital, but once your baby - your tiny, tiny baby - has been stripped of his tiny clothes and is laying naked on the hospital bed - a vast expanse of cold sheet beneath his tiny frame - the machines looming, menacing, around him, you struggle. You crouch beside him, cradling his head and nuzzling his cheek, babbling whispers of love into his ear, willing him to not cry, to not squirm, to let this be over, fast.

And when he does begin to cry and squirm it feels as though your heart has retracted into the furthest recesses of your chest to cower and hide.

You say to the ultrasound technician, can I lay down beneath him, put him on my belly, my chest? Can we do it that way? He'll be calmer. And you think, I'll be calmer.

So you remove your shirt and lay yourself down and ease your naked, struggling baby onto your own naked belly and you cradle his head between your breasts and you breath. And you breath. And you breath. And he settles into you, letting his little body relax from the arch and flex of discomfort and fear and settle, softly, into the curves of your belly and breast and lay there, eyes fluttering, cries turning to gurgles and squawks, and he rests. Happy now, safe now.

And it occurs to you, as you lay in the dark, on the hospital bed, an ultrasound wand hovering above your body, the light from the screen of the sonograph flickering just out of sight, that this is just as it was some weeks ago, before he arrived, when he was still in your belly, tucked away safe in your belly, and you were wishing with all your heart that he'd come out soon so that you could hold him your arms and nuzzle his little head and keep him safe here, in the outside, out in the big wide world but always, always pressed close to your heart.

And he did, and you do. And you tell him, in the softest of whispers - and you tell yourself, in the loudest of internal cries - that he is safe, that you will keep him safe, and that it will all be fine, no matter what.

And he is, and you do, and it will be. It will be.

(We don't know the results of the ultrasound. We probably won't know for another week. I'm choosing to not dwell on it. I'm choosing to simply believe that it will all be fine.)

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Blogger pacalaga said...

Yes definitely. He will be fine.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I've been in your shoes...babies should never be sick. I have my fingers crossed that the doctors will confirm that he's fine.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

my fingers and toes are crossed for you! What a gorgeous baby.

12:14 PM  
Blogger divrchk said...

Good luck and why the hell does it take an entire week for a radiologist to read an ultrasound report?

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be fine, it will be fine. Thinking of you, it will be fine.

12:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Modern medicine is amazing. My son is alive now, 11 years old, because of it, after open heart surgery. Your son will be fine, too. Even if he isn't fine, he will be fine and so will you because neither of you have any choice. You love. That's enough.

Oh, and for what it's worth, my son has had so many ultrasounds, and EKGs, and CAT scans, and MRIs, that I tell you from experience: you can usually tell by the technician's demeanor when something isn't right. And generally they call you sooner. So if you find yourself waiting, that probably means there's nothing wrong.

12:32 PM  
Blogger followthatdog said...

I'm thinking about you. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I'm sending all of my "he's going to be fine" vibes your direction.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Karen Bodkin said...

I feel your heartache in your words Mama and pray that everything will be okay.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

I know so well and hate so much the hospital. With baby. With toddler. With uncaring doctors and nurses and with super sweet ones you just want to snuggle. No matter what something inside you will take over and it will be ok. It will just be ok and you'll get through this. I have seriously been praying for your little one all morning since your tweet.


12:35 PM  
Blogger Stimey said...

It is a scary thing to have your child in the hospital for a maybe. I've been there. It worked out fine for us. Hoping that it works out the same for you. Thinking of you.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Shannon Nelson said...

I can relate to this story. Days after my firstborn came home he started throwing up all the time and dr.'s wagged their finger at me that I was overfeeding him. I begged them to do tests, but they refused. After 6 weeks my husband and I took him to the ER out of pure frustration and exhaustion. It was a scary place--a 6 week old in a place of people not well. The did an ultrasound and showed he had pyloric stenosis and was in surgery a few hours later. He's fine and 9 years old now. But still---it was scary worrying and wondering and watching him.

I don't envy you. I know how it feels. I'll be praying that your little one is alright.

12:43 PM  
Blogger polkadot said...

If the tech was worried they would have called the doctor in the room, pronto. I personally don't think they saw anything and the rest is precautionary.

You're a good momma for laying there with him, and being his advocate. I've clocked a lot of hours in hospitals and I know you have to speak up.

Well done.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

sending lots of positive thoughts and energy your way. big hugs to you, mama.

12:47 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

Sending you and your beautiful boy strength and positivity.

Hang in there, love. Thinking of you.


12:49 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Giant, overwhelming love to you and your sweet family.

We're with you.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I will keep your family in my prayers this week. Everything will be okay.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Niksmom said...

THinking of you and sending good, healthy thoughts. Try not to make the length of time or the tech's demeanor or any of that stuff "mean" something. The delay could be as simple as your pediatrician hasn't seen the results yet. Sometimes a call to nudge them is in order. We've had to do that many times.

Keep breathing and loving your beautiful boy...and his sister, too!

1:02 PM  
Blogger S said...

what a beautiful post, c.

he'll be fine, i know he will.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Candygirlflies said...

It WILL all be fine.


Love to you, HBM...

xoxo CGF

1:11 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

I agree that it will be fine, so you know it will. Hang in there, sweetheart.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Oh my goodness. What a perfect post describing how a mommy loves her little one. I cried. I mean, I am 12 weeks preggo, so not unexpected, but I think I would have cried anyway.

Hugs to you Mommy!

1:20 PM  
Blogger ScientistMother said...

gosh I do not know how you can put to words the feeling and thoughts of mothers so eloquently. thinking of you and sending good thoughts to sprout et al. it will be ok.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

ThatGirl, they did have a doctor in. But still - it will be fine.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So scary when the little ones get sick. Sending good thoughts...

1:52 PM  
Blogger Jezer said...

I echo another commenter with my own mantra: Everything will be OK. And even if it's NOT OK, it will be O. K.

Prayers and thoughts for you and sweet Jasper.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

You are such a good mom, to give him comfort like that. Hoping all the news is good news.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

You are such a wonderful mother.

When my oldest was born she had a hematoma on her head. As it started to shrink (naturally, from healing) the doctor was feeling it at an appointment and said, sort of off-handedly, "Gee, I wonder if her skull formed under here?" I couldn't breathe. Fortunately he got us in for an ultrasound right away, and it was nothing, but I know that feeling. It's so scary to think that something might be wrong, and outside of your control.

Prayers coming your way. I'm hopeful that, like my kiddo, he'll be fine.

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

3:04 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Sending lots of love and positive enegy (and kisses for that gorgeous little boy)

3:15 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Does he have a pilonidal dimple? Are they checking to be sure the spine fused?

I went through that concern with BubTar when he was just a tiny, tiny babe. I was all of 18. It was my first time inside the Children's Hospital, the one where we've logged so many hours with KayTar, the child with zero concerns at birth. And BubTar? He was and always has been just fine.

4:04 PM  
Blogger The Other Laura said...

My best thoughts are with all of you and it will be fine, really.

4:14 PM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

He will be fine, no matter what the tests show, because he has you looking out for him.

Love to all of you.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Melanie D. said...

We did this very thing when my B was just two weeks old. Does your boy have a sacral dimple? Or something else. Well anyway, we ended up even having to do an MRI, then it was all fine and all of the pain and worry for not. I hope that you are able to stick to that 'not dwelling on it'. Because that's so hard! I think you are brilliant to ask to put him on your stomach, I wish I had thought of that. It must have left him much more comfortable.
Best wishes.

4:36 PM  
Blogger carrie said...

It'll be okay.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(big hug and healthy vibes) for you little one. I know how scary that testing is. I have never been so frightened as when my daughter went through the gamet of chromosome screens and every genetic test known to man.
Try to dwell on the good. Don't worry about smothering your kids with snuggles. It's the best antidote to worry.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

With a mom like you? He's going to be just fine.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

Sending you lots of love to share with the little one.

6:16 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

(((HUGS))) You want to hold them safe on the outside when they are inside and then put them back inside when they are out. He's got you as a mom - it's all good.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Chicky had something like that when she was born. I don't know what they spotted w/ Jasper but Chicky had a birth mark in just the right (wrong, actually) place on her back that alarmed the doctors. Everything turned out fine but it's not what a new mother wants to hear. I know you understand.

I'm sending good thoughts your way. And I've got my fingers and toes crossed that it's nothing.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

I don't know how much you care about style right now, but you're getting that difficult urgency across, that urgency that goes wherever those little people go. It's coming through and it's hard to do. Good luck to you & yours.

8:07 PM  
Blogger b*babbler said...

Oh HBM, I'm so sorry that you're dealing this now, instead of happily, blithely and blissfully enjoying his good health. Because despite your mantras of it's ok, it's going to be ok, and no matter what anyone tells you, the fact is that you *will* worry over the next week. That is what we do, as mothers.

Sending hugs and good thoughts.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Mayberry said...

I'm sorry you have to go through another of these dreadful waits. Much love.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Been thinking of you. Will continue to think of you. And your darling boy.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Carmen said...

Catherine, I took a three day old baby to the ER because she was struggling to breathe. I also had a one month old need an ultrasound because he had the markers for a tethered spine.

I'll be hoping and praying for you. Email if you need to chat or vent - I'm here for you.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Breathe. It will be fine. It must be fine. Our thoughts and prayers are yours.

10:53 PM  
Blogger librarychick77 said...

I just had my second child, another girl, in April. Four days after she was born my firstborn (who is almost three) had to have her tonsils and adenoids removed. I left my brand new baby home with my mother so I could go with my husband and in-laws to take my little girl to surgery. As soon as they took her back to surgery I raced home to nurse my new baby and then raced back to the hospital so that I could be there when my bigger baby woke up.

No matter how old or big they get, they are always our babies and we will always worry.

Wishing you wonderful news and soon.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Jenny, the Bloggess said...

He will be fine. You, however, will be scarred forever. Babies should never get sick. They do it on purpose to screw with us I think. I don't have any scientific data to back that up but I'm pretty sure it's true.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Praying for you.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said...

Am sitting here, hoping and wishing all will be well, which I'm sure it will be.


2:28 AM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Pumpkinpie had some hip issues to be explored with ultrasound, too, and while not nearly as potentially serious, if you're anything like me, there no way to NOT worry about future disaster. So even though the procedure is not invasive, even though you can feel pretty sure it will be okay, it's still there, and it's still not what any mom needs, but it's good that they are being cautious.

Hoping for good, good news soonest, with digits crossed for you.

4:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HUGS! I'll say a little prayer for you.

5:52 AM  
Blogger josetteplank.com said...

You've captured it all perfectly.


He will be fine.

9:45 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

oh gawd, many, many 'he's fine' thoughts coming your way. holy shit. scary. but he'll be fine.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

Oh Catherine! Of course he will be fine. I know it. HUGS.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Sending good thoughts. And I love the tribute to the Indigo Girls.


12:09 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Oh, what a mommy....in the midst of such fear, you paint such a beautiful portrait of motherhood.

Prayers headed your way that all will be okay.

2:31 PM  
Blogger GoMommy said...

I will be thinking of you and your family...

5:09 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Yes, he has the sacral dimple, among other things, and the corresponding concern about spina bifida, etc.

But we're not thinking about that. It's all fine. (REPEAT AS MANTRA)

5:13 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

There are things that you just have to get through as a mother. And then you're through them and everything is generally okay, however things work out.
Soldier on.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

Sending all my good thoughts your way. :)

9:26 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

And it is back to the damn waiting. The eternal time.

I choose. Along with you that he will be fine.

9:41 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

Are they just checking to see if the cord is tethered?
I really wish that these were reported immediately to the mothers. Nothing like doctors in a room and wavering between could be nothing or could be serious to ratchet up the stress level.
Julia also has a sacral dimple and the way people were talking about it I figured she was good as dead. It turned out to be NOTHING at all beyond a dimple.
Fortunately/unfortunately she had the ultrasound when she was still an inpatient. I was told it was fine then I come in a week later to find a team doing another ultrasound and almost had a stroke.
The staff doctor happened to be in the hall and I managed to ask why she was having another ultrasound. Turned out that another department had requested one not realising it had already been done.
Really I feel for you. Truly not enough is being done to support the mental health of the mothers.
Poor mummy, poor baby. It will all be fine.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Rachael said...

Heartbreaking. I will pray for your little one, and send good vibes your way. He will be great.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And even if it isn't fine, it's eventually fine. We have had a series of terrifying, unrelated, but increasingly complex, health issues with our little girl, beginning with the call from her pediatrician's office saying: Get her to the hospital right now, when she seemed fine to us. I thought that those hospital visits would eventually get easier for me, but they haven't.

HOWEVER, deep breath, you and your little one -- and his dad and sister -- will pull through. Wounded, perhaps, but stronger.

By the way, if I'm not mistaken, HBM, you're in the Toronto area, yes? One of our first hospital visits with our daughter was to the ER at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children following a seizure. We were travelling through Ontario (we live in Minnesota) and felt so fortunate that this happened in Toronto. She was in the hospital for 4 days and got amazing care. Not only did SHE get amazing care, so did our family. We - my husband, my 3 year old son and I - were terrified, exhausted and disoriented. But they made us feel at home and protected. They even had a sibling care area for those times when my husband and I needed some uninterrupted time with our daughter or her doctors. It was a phenomenal facility, and they told us more about our daughter's condition(s) that any of her many doctors could tell us back in Minnesota. If I could travel there every time she needed care, I would. So perhaps you are already using them -- but if not, I have nothing but praise for that place.

I hope all goes well.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be keeping you and your little ones in my prayers. I know it is a scary thing but I promise you that you will get through it. I hope it is all a big hub bub about nothing. He will be ok. He will be magnificent.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Baby in the City said...

It is simply one of the worst parts of being pregnant and having children: the numbers game. The odds are totally in your favour, just as they were with the amnio, but still. We all can all empathize with the waiting, the wondering, but really, truly, as it almost always is, it will be nothing. He is fine.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh catherine sending big hugs to you and yours...will be praying for jasper....LAVANDULA

10:25 AM  
Blogger Dette said...

You are a wonderful Mommy - I know everything will be fine simply because of how you love him.

With your entire heart and being.

Prayers for strength and goodness are coming your way.

P.S. Beautiful post. Absolutely adoring!

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope everything is fine. My little boy had many heart tests (they thought he might have Long QT, which, thankfully, he did not) and he had reflux. He was just so tiny and miserable 90% of the time that I use to cry and just wish he was back inside of me and safe and protected for a little while longer.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really hoping and praying that everything is fine.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, dear, been there, done that, got the scars.

Thinking of the whole Bad Family, my dear. J will be fine, more than fine.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

i'm sending lots, and lots of good healthy thoughts your way.

i bet the little angel will be just fine.

hang in there, mama.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

Little he is simply beautiful. He will be fine. He better be...that's me trying to f with the powers...intimidate them on your behalf.
What a beautiful family!

6:42 PM  
Blogger twelvekindsofcrazy said...

Your family is gorgeous. Your baby is so blessed to have such a loving mother. Sending you good energy.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

You're amazing Catherine. Just amazing.

White light, lots of it, headed your way.

7:42 PM  
Blogger jen said...

Thank you for the sweetness of your words and the tender way you shared such a scary experience. My heart caught as I read of your fears, thoughts, concerns, cries. Having a newborn of my own, I stopped when reading and had to look at him sleep. My heart said a little prayer that you and your sweet baby will be ok. Thinking of you...

8:15 PM  
Blogger Liz Miller said...

Thinking of you and your sweet baby and loving that you thought of lying down with him on you for this test.

1:00 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Thinking of you and Jasper.

It's excellent that they let you hold him. I wish I could have held Isaac during all the tests he had as a baby for the (benign) tumor that used to be on his skull. Instead they just put him in a baby straight-jacket and strapped him down to a cold metal table and forced horrible-tasting sedatives down his throat to keep him still. I felt awful. I would have gladly taken the extra radiation from a CT scan that wasn't for me if I could have held him instead.

Jasper is going to be okay. How could he not be, with such a great family?

11:05 AM  
Blogger Rusti said...

I'm sure he will be just fine too! My thoughts & prayers are with you as you await the results...

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will pray for you and your boy.
Whatever challenges come to our life, as long as it ends in blessings and positive note, it does not matter.
May you have the happiest ending to all these ordeal

3:00 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

I wish I was better at this, I'd say something soft and warm and fabulously comforting. Something so much better than "it will all be ok" but I'm not. So that will have to do. And I guess that's ok, too. Because I know it will be. It will. He will. You will. All of the bad family will be perfectly OK.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Best wishes to you and your family.

8:48 PM  
Blogger justmylife said...

Sending good thoughts your way! Prayers for you and him both!

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm keeping you all in my thoughts.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Christine Bilek said...

Amazing post, you were brilliant to think of putting him on your belly and chest. Great job, mama. Keeping you in my thoughts!

1:43 PM  
Blogger SM said...

You already know this - but you are a fantastic mother. Sending good vibes your way....

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW, I am in tears - moved by the soulful and amazing way you described such a terrifying event. I could just FEEL the baby calming down as he lay on your belly and FEEL the emotion of how he had just been in your belly weeks before.

Truly, truly a beautiful post (poetry). Sending all the good vibes your way possible.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you've put into words a horrible experience (taking your infant to the hospital for any kind of test) that no mom should ever have to deal with. You said it beautifully. It brought back vivid memories of taking my son for chest x-rays when he was an infant. You handled your experience so much more graciously than I did. Kudos!

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got too many comments to read this, but anyone who's had to have the tests, understands. Our baby spent a couple of days in NICU after birth. Horrible. Then upon being returned to us (I was still in - c section), we had the Bitch Nurse from Hell, who literally snatched him from my breast to do yet another blood draw. Made him scream, she was rough, I almost took her effin head RIGHT OFF HER BODY. That protective thing? It's BIG.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

winomom - I read every comment. thank you for yours.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alliclaus had to have a CT scan when she was a baby to rule out encephalitis as the cause of her very large head. I remember how scary it was to see her laying there and knowing there was nothing I could do. As always, you have put an experience into words that I could never have written myself, despite its resonance with me.

1:16 AM  
Blogger Cynthia Samuels said...

Lighting a candle, saying a prayer.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Michelle W said...

I've already seen the update and posted a comment there. Seriously though, this is the most incredibly touching blog post that I have ever read. Ever.

11:42 PM  

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