First Trip to Children's ER

And it wasn't even Cecelia who initiated us with this milestone. It was our newborn baby boy!

In Porter's two month post, I mentioned that both Truman and myself were sick last weekend with a fever bug. It took about two days for us both to feel better and really only amounted to body aches and chills, fever, and an upset tummy.

Yesterday, Porter's two month birthday, that post went up on the blog. The night before his 'birthday', Porter slept like hell, even worse than usual. He was half asleep and half whimpering most of the night and wouldn't let me place him anywhere but my arms. We sat upright in the glider most of the night. Very restful.

The next morning, Porter was really tired but also really fussy. It was almost like he couldn't quite get himself to wake up to be really mad, so he was just crying while semi-sleeping. I couldn't decide if he felt hot or not---the thermometer I always use for the big kids goes right behind their ears, but it wasn't consistent with Porter's tiny little head. The readings ranged from 98.9-99.6 and I couldn't really trust it for accuracy. I let him snooze on me most of the morning and kind of encouraged him to nurse a few times when he would wake up angry. I figured he was just really tired from the night before, since I knew I was exhausted myself.

Once Cecelia went down for her nap and Truman began his quiet time, I really stopped to look at my sleeping baby. He just didn't seem like himself. Sleeping SO much, crying and fussing whenever awake, and just I started to panic a bit, working myself up to believe something was seriously wrong with my newborn. It was a wave of mommy intuition that I've never felt before: I just knew this was something.

So I texted Nate saying, 'I think something is really wrong with Porter and I'm scared. I might take him to the doc.' Nate texted back saying to trust my gut, asking what was going on with our buddy. I said I couldn't really pin point it---didn't seem to have a fever, was sleeping but not really, was eating but not really. I had Nate call me and I started to cry talking to him over the phone, as it really hit me how worried I was about my baby. I called the doctor's office and explained what was happening with these vague but odd symptoms. She said I could give him Tylenol if I thought he was in pain and they only worry about a fever if it's a rectal temperature over 100.4. She suggested we watch and wait, especially once she heard Truman and I were sick the previous weekend.

Porter then woke up and nursed quite well, smiling at me after that session. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. But when I went to change his diaper, I decided to take my first ever rectal temperature just out of curiosity. I was kind of shocked when it read 100.5 and immediately called the RN with this reading, and as I did this Porter started to cry really hard again.

I gave him acetaminophen and the nurse said she would talk to the doctor and call me back. Not even 2 minute later, my phone rang. I was bracing myself for her to say, 'Can you come in right now?' and I was going to be a little stressed at the idea of waking Cecelia from her nap and dealing with her wrath, on top of Porter's hatred for the van (and our doctor is a good 20+ minutes away). But the nurse said, 'Because he is so little, and because the fever is too high, the doctor wants you to go straight to the ER now.'

WHAT? Holy crap. Not at all what I was expecting. She said I could try an urgent care, but because he is so young and the temp was over their allowed limits, they would likely send me right to ER anyway. Crap. This is when I *really* started to panic.

I called Nate and he picked up, but Porter was crying so hard it was hard to even update Nate---I just said, 'They want me to take him to the ER, can you please come home?' He had a few cancellations and was already packing up, thank goodness, so I started gathering up the diaper bag.

Nate got home, Cecelia woke up and came downstairs, upset that I was leaving, but I head out the door at 3:30--not even sure where the ER entrance was for our Children's hospital. Heck, I've only been there one other time and it was with Truman earlier this year----not the ER, but their Urgent Care. Somehow I found it and somehow Porter didn't freak out in the car ride. Thank you, God.

We checked in, the nurse took his vitals, and then we waited in the waiting room for a full hour. Sort of horrifying to see and hear some of the kids around us---one little girl had the scariest cough I've ever heard. There were plenty of kids on crutches and some looking really ill. I just stood there holding my baby praying the germs away. A few moms asked me how old Porter was and, 'Oh, he is so tiny!!' Because he is! He is way too little to be sick and at the ER!!

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Finally they called us back to our room at 4:45pm. Another nurse did more vitals and by this time, his temp was down to 99 degrees with the meds. He was smiling at her and being generally adorable, looking quite healthy. The resident came in about 45 minutes later. She said she would talk to the attending. FINALLY the head MD of the ER came in right before 6pm. I had nursed Porter twice in this time, watched a bit of Bravo, and decided that Porter was probably just fine if the meds were working so well.

(Places I've nursed: mark down 'Children's ER room' on my list)
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Poor buddy did great during our stay but did have a few moments of being OVER IT.
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The doctor said that they have a '56 day rule', for any babies that are 56 days old or younger. They get directly admitted to the hospital for a full work up because of the risk of infections from the birth process. Porter's two month birthday meant he missed that cut off by four days. Also, she said that since his fever was SO low, just barely over their limits of what to consider 'serious' combined with his usual health and zero other risk factors, she wasn't too worried about him. She said she thought it's the same virus Truman and I had, which is basically a cold. If his fever gets to 103 or more, or if he continues to have a fever above 100.4 for more than two days, then she would think about a urinary tract infection and could test his urine. But she didn't believe that was warranted right now.

She said that anything more serious would likely mean a higher fever, and as long as he is comfortable, nursing to stay hydrated, and doesn't have any respiratory issues we are supposed to just ride it out. I straight up asked her, 'So you aren't worried about anything serious with my baby?' and she said, 'Nope, he looks really good and will be just fine.' I know she can't say that with certainty but it did help this nervous mom relax a little to hear that.

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We packed up and headed home, spending a total of 2.5 hours at the ER. Not too shabby. I'm so glad he didn't have to be admitted and didn't need any major testing like a lumbar puncture or something invasive!

(get me out of here, lady!!)
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The kids were super excited to see Porter (and me, sort of) when we returned home. Nate seemed drained from parenting the bigger ones for a few hours (validation!!!!) and we did bedtime as a family. I cuddled and nursed my Porter extra hard. He got more meds to help him sleep and then only woke up TWICE last night, which is about 300% better than the previous week.

Today he has been resting but also has been awake and HAPPY instead of seeming so sick. This morning he had a temp of 99 but just now he had absolutely NO temperature, and he hasn't had any Tylenol since last night. Hallelujah.

The whole ER experience was obviously really jarring, and if I let myself really consider all that *could* have happened, I get extremely overwhelmed. I'm so incredibly thankful that my baby is likely healthy, that we'll get through this and move onto the next rough patch in no time, and that a trip to the ER is not the norm for us. I despise when my children are sick---there is nothing worse than feeling helpless as a mother, watching one of your children feel miserable and not being able to do much about it. As always, a little reality check like this makes my heart go out to moms who have chronically ill or seriously ill children. Life is so fragile. Children are such gifts. Even when I'm more sleep deprived than ever and feeling like a failure of a mom for allowing my baby to get this virus, I know that we are so freaking lucky.

And so I won't stop cuddling anytime soon. Can't give too many kisses, or send up too many THANK YOU GOD prayers.

Hoping this is not an indicator for how this winter will treat us. And I hope this scare is behind us! What a weird week. Here's to an uneventful weekend and my mom flying in tomorrow!


  1. There is nothing scarier than taking your newborn to the ER. My YDS was the one that sent us to the hospital first as well. When he was 7 weeks and 4 days old, he developed a fever of 103. This meant an immediate trip to the ER (from the doctors office). Had he been 3 days older, they would have sent us home. During our 6 hour stay at the ER he had to endure many blood draws, and a catheder to get a clean urine sample. My poor 11lb baby! I couldn't stay in the room for any of it. There was also talk of doing a spinal to eliminate Menegitis! What I thought was going to be a simple trip to monitor him, ended in a 3 day stay in the peds wing, with him hooked up to fluids and a monitor. Thankfully it was nothing, and he was declared the most adorable patient they ever had.

  2. i am sorry your son had to go through this but i am glad he is doing better! i am glad you all made it out ok in the end! thanks for sharing!

  3. Glad that your ER trip turned out well. My daughter is nearly 3 and we have had to go to the ER 4 times since she was born. All 4 times were due to respiratory issues (she was a preemie). Twice we got sent home and twice we actually got admitted. Its scary stuff to go through as a parent. Always trust your "mommy" intuition. Its better to be safe than sorry!
    ~ Julia

  4. Scary! Glad the little guy is alright.

  5. First and foremost, thank god little P is doing fine! My first and only trip to the ER was web my 3rd was only 4 days old so I know that sick feeling of PLEASE LET HIM BE OK PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

    I also wanted to comment and AMEN to your mention of getting validation after your husband was drained after parenting the older two. I am waiting for my own moment of validation and just thought it was so funny amidst your otherwise nerve wracking post.

    Glad to hear he's on the mend!

  6. Oh man. That is so hard! We went to the ER for the first time when Brigham was about Porter's age. That was when we were dealing with his ear infections but didn't know it yet. It's so hard as a mom to know when you should really worry. And since I deal with anxiety I just automatically have a hard time distinguishing between my fears and reality. But I'm so glad you took him. It is always best to be SAFE! Glad the little guy is recovering and smiley again :)

  7. Oh, what an experience! I'm so glad everything turned out OK.
    (And I love those moments of "validation" when the other spouse gets a peek into your daily routine with 2-3 children.)

  8. So glad that Porter is ok! Seeing your kids sick truly is one of the worst things ever. We too ended up in the ER earlier this year, and you just want your kid to be ok. You would do anything to take their pain and misery away, but it sucks when you can't do much, other than give them lots of hugs and snuggles.

  9. Aw poor little guy. So glad everything is okay.

  10. So glad he's ok. And think of all the antibodies he's getting from you from nursing. Good job, mama!

  11. Awww! Poor baby. I'm just glad that Porter had overcome his sickness. The care and love you are giving your children is undeniably priceless, and I admire you for that. In any way, I hope that Porter is faring great. Thanks for sharing that, Julia! All the best to your family!

    Paul Quinn @ Med Care Pediatric

  12. There aren't too many things that are scarier for a new parent than hearing your doctor say that you should take your baby to the ER right away. I'm so glad everything worked out for you and your little one is fine now. I also agree with you, an ER visit with a newborn is nerve wracking.

    Scott Cravey @ U.S. HealthWorks San Leandro


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