We are home. When Simon and I arrived at the hospital this morning, the doctors were finishing their exam of Clare and said she could go home. Her puffiness had gone down so much the day before that they did not give her the second dose of Lasix last night. Her lungs sounded great, and this morning she ate some breakfast, so she received the green light to be discharged. Our nurse was awesome and had us out of there by 11 am (which is incredible in hospital discharge time, especially on a Sunday). Clare did not get much sleep Friday night because of pain nor on Saturday night because of a beeping IV pump that would stop infusing constantly (more on that in a minute), so she conked out immediately in the car. This evening, she was back to her old grinning self. Her poor little body is bruised and stuck and red all over, but it's wonderful to have our Clare Bear back!
I felt so unprepared for this hospital stay. It was all a big scramble getting there, and I felt like we were novices from the moment we stepped into the hospital lobby. It had been so long! Maybe because I was not the one staying overnight, but I was not even prepared for the long hospital waits - no cards, no crossword puzzles, no snacks! And we had the added dimension of Simon to work around. He is fairly easy-going, being only one month old, but it never failed that the minute Shawn stepped out of the room, both Clare and Simon started crying. They would have both been sound asleep two seconds before, so we would think we were in the clear for Shawn to grab something to eat, but then BAM - diapers, hungry, wanting to be held, they both needed it at the same time!
The morning after Clare had her breathing tube removed, when I got to the ICU, she was on the bed with her eyes closed. I came in the room and said, "Clare, Mommy's here." Immediately, her eyes flew open and she started wailing. Agonizing sobs that made my own eyes fill with tears. Shawn told me that when they had removed her tube the night before, as soon as her mouth was clear, she cried, "Mama, Mama." It breaks my heart that I could not be there with her. I know that Shawn is totally capable of being the bedside parent, but it is so hard for me to not be there. Especially when she is in pain and needs comforting. Obviously, Shawn can comfort her as well, but when your baby is crying for you and you are not there, that hurts. Especially when she starts crying upon seeing you - as if saying, Where were you, Mommy? So the first thing I obviously did was to hold her as soon as I could. She had already been given her first dose of Lasix to flush out the extra fluid that was building up. Lasix is a diuretic that enables the body to urinate the fluid out. As Clare and I are sitting and cuddling, I felt a strange sensation. It took me a moment to realize I was soaking wet and another moment to realize why. The Lasix was working! It was an uncomfortable, bow-legged walk to the staff bathroom to change my pants. Thankfully the nurse didn't make me walk all the way through the ICU, into the hall, and the public restroom looking like I was the one who wet my pants!
Unfortunately, that was not my only mishap this hospital trip. Once Clare was transferred to the cardiac floor and slept a bit, we ordered her some dinner. Although she did not eat anything, she sat in the high chair for a while and played with her macaroni and cheese and saltines. I think she was enjoying being out of the bed for the first time. The cardiology resident came in to exam her while she was still in the high chair. I went to lift Clare from the high chair to put her back in the bed, and one of her multiple wires got stuck in the high chair straps and yanked a bit. (I forgot what a pain in the butt it is to have three cardiac leads, oxygen sensor, blood pressure cuff, and IV lines everywhere.) Clare let out a yelp, so I sat her back down and the doctor helped me disentangle Clare out of the chair and transfer her to the bed. Once she was in the bed, the doctor turned on the overhead light to examine her and that is when we saw that the yank from the chair was not simply a wire that got stuck but was me pulling Clare's IV right out of her foot. There was blood everywhere - from the chair to the bed and making an even bigger mess since it kept bleeding (being on blood thinners never helps in these instances). (We did not notice the bleeding right away because the room was fairly dark since Clare had been sleeping.) Oh, what a bad mommy! Clean-up was great fun. I was supremely grateful that Clare already had another IV line in one of her arms, so the nurse was able to easily transfer Clare's fluids over to that line without any more needle sticks. Unfortunately, that IV site was in the bend of her arm, so the IV would constantly stop infusing because of the position. Thus the constant beeping of the pump and the constant fiddling by the nurse, and Shawn and Clare getting little sleep. Sorry, guys! Maybe it was better that I didn't stay overnight after all. Look how much damage I caused just being there half the time!
But now we are home and happy. Clare is having some trouble settling down and getting to sleep tonight. As much of an adjustment as it is going into the hospital, sometimes it's an even bigger adjustment coming home. The cath is past us now, and Clare is healthier again. We'll follow up with her cardiologist here in a week or two. The doctor will most likely want an echo done to see the results of the cath (she always likes to check these things herself as well). And we'll go from there, as we always do.
Photos - 1) Clare in the ICU on the ventilator. 2) After moving to the cardiac floor, Clare is wiped. 3) Finally awake and up watching Blues Clues. 4) Enjoying watching the balls in the lobby of Children's prior to her cath.