At the Hospital

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We are hunkered down at the hospital: day five. E. is healing up well, taking some breastmilk and formula. The doctors are saying that we will probably go home tomorrow.

One of the best things that’s happened since we got here is that E. got a new tooth. She has another cute little lower front tooth poking up now. Babies everywhere are jealous that she got morphine for teething. Well, not for teething specifically, since technically she had a major abdominal surgery. But it was basically a two-for-one pain relief special, and I’m happy that it happened at the hospital since we would have been up all night anyway.

Lots of things have happened while we’ve been here. Strange things. The dietician came in to our room to go over a feeding plan with us yesterday. And smack dab in the middle of our conversation she passed out. We heard a slow thud as she fell to the floor. I snapped into action, instructing Cedar to get the AED machine and directing my mom to call the emergency code listed on the wall (I was in the rocking chair holding E. at the time). They were like, “Yeah, we’re in a hospital, you don’t have to take charge.” And then my mom went out to the hall to call in the nurses and medical staff who all huddled together around her. After she came to, a resident checked her blood sugar and asked her if she had eaten lunch. I guess she hadn’t. I’m not sure if I trust a dietician who skips meals.

But what I really have been thinking about the most is this: it’s hard to get used to the idea of feeding our little girl through a tube. We will still keep trying all of the oral feeding stuff—the goal is for E. to learn to eat. But when it comes down to it my kid has a hole in her stomach and a machine to help her get the fluid down. And we don’t know how long she will need this kind of help. Could be months, could be years. Living with the unknown is really hardcore.

I also feel the need to say that I am really crazy glad that this kind of help exists for her. And while that dietician didn’t knock my socks off (pre-fainting spell), almost everyone here at the hospital has been top notch. The nurses have been kind, thoughtful and attentive. They’ve played peekaboo with E. and kept her comfortable. They’ve tiptoed around at night knowing what a light sleeper she is and cleaned her wounds gently. Some have even shared stories of their own little ones.

We are learning all about how to use the equipment, which includes a mechanized pump, a hanging IV type bag and various syringes, etc. It’s intimidating because there’s actually math involved. Lots of precision, calculating and converting volume and rate. Keeping things sterile and clean, following procedure. I’m really not that into precision. But I guess I’ll get into it. Or, more likely, I won’t be into it, but I’ll do it anyway. Did I mention I’m not a math person?

I guess that’s my official motto this week: I’m not that into it, but I’ll do it anyway.

It’s the first night of Passover tonight and we aren’t doing anything to celebrate. I’m not proud of this but I didn’t even pack so much as a piece of matzo in our suitcase. I barely packed anything except cute cozy outfits for E. that so far she has either not worn or doused with bodily fluids (throw up and pee, in that order). One is fake leopardskin. Because I guess she needs to look cute while recovering from surgery. I’m the worst packer because I usually pack for the trip that I hope that I will have, not the one I’m actually embarking on. Wherever we go, I’m always bugging Cedar, who is a meticulous packer, if I can borrow a pair of socks and a sweatshirt. And he lets me every time.

Normally we’d either be hosting a seder or at the very least attending one. This is actually one of my favorite holidays; I dig the themes of freedom and tradition. I like the songs, I like the ritual of it all. And yes, I’m also in the minority because I get pumped up about a good Passover popover. But we’re just doing our hospital thing tonight and that’s what is happening. We’ll probably cobble a little seder together tomorrow evening once we’re finally home. It’s not ideal, but that’s okay. We’ve got bigger matzo to fry this year, so I guess I’ll just open up our hospital room door to Elijah and call it a night.

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