"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Sweet Little Patient

God is faithful. That’s just all that there is too it. We have had the craziest year to date, and we have somehow managed to come through it all. We have been in the right place at the right time. Every time. We have come through it all by the grace of God.  We were able to come out of difficult medical situations in Russia unscathed, and we were in the USA just when we needed to be!  Not only that, but we have not had to be a part nearly as much as we had originally thought we would be.  When I think of this, I can't help but be so thankful.
"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." – Jesus
Friday morning my mom was holding Gemma and said that she felt a little hot. She also seemed a little fussy to me, so I checked her temperature under her arm and it was a little high 99.8, so I gave her Pediatrician’s office a call. The NP I spoke with wasn’t too concerned, but I thought we should bring her in just to be safe. I do not think that I am an overreactor, and especially not the second time around at parenthood… just call it mother’s intuition that was perhaps slightly divinely inspired.
I took Gemma in, and at that point she seemed fine. At the Doc’s office they took her temperature rectally and it was normal. So… it seemed like I overreacted a little bit. The Doctor went over the difference between core temperature and ancillary temperature with me, and said the next time I was worried I should just take her temperature rectally (which I didn’t think I was supposed to do) to get her true core temperature, and told me that if it ever got above 100.4 to take her to the ER. On the way home, we stopped and I bought a thermometer to use only when taking core temperatures... thank goodness I did!  Its funny the things you get used to and that do not phase you at all as a mama.

Later that evening we woke up around 1:45 AM to Gemma’s screaming. That’s not how she normally wakes up so Nick and I both jumped up. She felt burning hot to the touch. I quickly ran and got the thermometer that I had bought and took her temp the correct way, which was measuring at 101.8. I fed her and then we immediately brought her to the ER at the hospital where she was born.

Honestly, I thought that they were going to tell us to take her home, cuddle her and bring her back if she seemed lethargic or was showing signs of worsening because she was fine except for the fever. She was eating normally and not fussy anymore; she just had a fever.

Instead they started to do an entire workup of tests. They told me that she needed to supply urine, blood, and that they would have to do a spinal tap to test her brain fluids. Its necessary in very small infants to rule out all possibilities. In a baby as small as Gemma, nothing is simple, not even obtaining a urine sample. Thankfully right when they went to insert the catheter to get the urine sample, she peepeed and they collected it right into the tube! I was so thankful she was spared that.
Blood was another story because those little newborn veins are so tiny. After two tries, the ER nurses called in nurses from the NICU. They were PROs. They managed to collect three vials of blood and insert an IV, all without her making a peep or seeming uncomfortable!

Up until this point, I had been holding it together pretty well. The nurses were very nice and seemed very competent, and I knew that she was in good hands. They also answered all of our questions and we had brought her in early… BUT, for the spinal tap, they needed me to sign a consent form listing death as a possible outcome. OMG – I completely lost it. There is something about signing a permission form for someone to lose all liability for killing your child that just pushes you over the edge. We decided Nick would stay in the room and I would leave for the procedure since I didn’t want to be blubbering and distract the Doctor. I know its important to be strong for your children in situations like this, but hopefully if there’s a next time, and she’s old enough to remember an epic Mommy-Fail like this, I can have it completely together.

Isn’t that the most pitiful, vulnerable thing you ever saw?

After it was done, Nick told me he was glad I wasn’t in there for the spinal tap.
Later we were admitted and told that Gemma would have to stay for a minimum of 48 hours while we awaited test results. Since we had been up for so long, we decided to take a little nap.

They also started to administer IV antibiotics as a precaution in case the test results came back for anything bacterial or an infection.

We really were not worried. We thought it was probably a virus, and by Saturday night her fever was almost gone without the need for Tylenol. She had never had any other symptoms besides the fever so I wasn’t too concerned that it was anything life threatening, although of course it remained a possibility.

Sunday we found out that she had a urinary tract infection, which the Doctor explained was not uncommon in baby girls. Her exact words were that it was caused by the bad luck of being a baby in diapers! Of course I immediately started to question myself and every time I had ever changed her diaper – did I change it fast enough? Did wipe front to back? Nick pointed out that he changes her a lot, and so does my mom, and her Doctor assured me that it could happen to anyone no matter how often they were cleaned and/or changed. So I stopped the guilt. I am a good mom.

Anyway, Gemma is doing so well other than her stomach seems a little upset from the antibiotics. Nick went and bought her flowers and a balloon and in true Nick fashion, he started her doing exercises with it. By the by, I am so, so thankful that his trip back to Russia was delayed. He was supposed to leave Friday. Gemma has to stay in the hospital for a full 7 day round of IV antibiotics, but she seems fine otherwise, so God willing, we should be going home Saturday, although Nick should have already left by then.

I am really missing Isla… I wish I could say she was missing me because she is happy being spoiled by my parents, but I am happy that I have people nearby that I trust her with. She came and spent about 3 hours at the hospital today and I loved having her. There is a playroom here and the Child Specialist came and gave her books and toys so she had a blast! I can’t wait until we will be together as a family after we return to Russia.

This has really been a tough year for our family, but what confidence we have in the Lord, our redeemer. I know at times I would like to complain that if He loved me, He would take away my troubles, but that has never been His promise – His promise is that He has already overcome them! I was so reminded of that through all of this.
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” – Psalm 27:13


  1. Oh those pictures make me cry. Thank The Lord for Dr.s and nurses. Isla asks about you all everyday but she is a happy well adjusted little angel and knows she is loved. Can't wait til you all get home.

  2. Even with an IV she is a beautiful little "gem." Can you tell how much I love that part of her naming "stori" . . . hehehe, I'm just so puny. :) Glad she is recovering well, and love your beatufiul faith in the face of a definitely difficult year so far.

  3. Melissa - you know I love a corny joke. The cornier the better :)... and puns are my favorite! And as for my faith, the crying, blubbering and God blaming don't usually make it to the blog since I usually have time to process things before I write them up. I'm thankful God loves me anyway and always gently corrects me and reminds me of his faithfulness!

  4. Mom - we can't wait to get home either!


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