Saturday, October 8, 2011

Our Weekend

I sat down on Thursday and drafted a blog post (first since JUNE!) about pretty much nothing, and the deleted it because it just didn't have any substance. Boy, how things can change in a day!

I decided to blog this ordeal so that I could share it with everyone who asks exactly what happened. It's not that I don't want to tell people, I just don't want to miss any details.

McKinley got hurt on Thursday night. She had just had a bath, and I was carrying her into her bedroom to get her dressed. We had just walked into her room when she literally jumped out of my arms. She jumped over the top of my arm, and I tried to catch her by her legs, but I couldn't. She fell onto her faux hardwood/laminate floor and smacked her head hard on the floor. She started crying immediately, and I was hysterical. I ran her out to Aaron and asked him to hold her while I composed myself. By the time I went out to the living room to check on her, she was playing with Aaron, laughing and acting completely normal. I checked her pupils, felt the back of her head for a bump and found nothing. She and I slept in the living room on Thursday night so that I could monitor her incase she started vomiting. She ate and slept just like normal and got up on Friday morning at 7:30. She ate and played all morning long, and I kept feeling the back of her head for a bump and I never felt anything.

Around 1:00 pm, I sat down to nurse McKinley in hopes of getting her down for a nap. As I was playing with her hair, I noticed that her head was very soft on one side. I immediately freaked out, called her pediatrician and left a message with the nurse to have the Dr call me. In the meantime, I called Aunt Jen to come to our house and just help me stay calm. She suggested I pack my bag in case the pediatrician sent us to the hospital overnight, so I was able to get a bag for me and McKinley packed while she held McKinley, who, by the way, was still acting completely normal.

The pediatrician called and said to take McKinley straight to the ER because she wouldn't be able to tell anything without a CT Scan. We settled in at the ER and had an evaluation from the doctor, who then ordered the scan. They wanted her as still as possible without sedating her, so they wrapped her like a mummy and taped her head down to the table. I held onto her with all my might and sang as loud as I could to comfort her while they did the scan. Another one of my fabulous aunts, Heather, had come by with her kids and they were there for comfort and support and when the doctor came in with the results of the scan, I was so thrilled that they were there.

The Attending came in and said that the CT showed that McKinley had fractured her skull and had some bleeding, which is what caused the side of her head to be soft. They said they wanted to monitor her for a while to make sure things didn't get worse, but that they didn't have the facilities to do that. They then informed me that they would be transferring her to the University of Chicago, which made me nervous, but not terrified. The part where I became terrified is when they told me that they were air lifting her. At 5:00 pm on a Friday afternoon, the last place you want to be if you have a brain injury is stuck in traffic on the Skyway. Actually, I can't think of any time you'd want to be stuck in traffic on the Skyway, but hey, it's Chicago. What can you do.

So they called for the helicopter from Comer Childrens Hospital at the University of Chicago, and found that they would be there in 15 minutes. They had just enough time to get an IV started and do another CT Scan of her neck to check for any issues before they Life Flight crew arrived. During all of this, and I'm not sure of the details, my aunt contacted Aaron and my mom, and they were both on their way. I had our car, so my uncle was driving Aaron to the hospital, and my mom was on her way from Ohio. From phone call to car was 3 minutes, she threw some random things in a bag and flew out the door. She drove to my brother's house, where he jumped in and took over driving. Mimi was very shaken and it's probably best that she wasn't driving.

The Flight crew arrived and began doing their preparations. They went over her medical history and I had to sign papers allowing my 13 month old to be transported by helicopter. I know I cried, a lot, but I didn't really have time to freak out because they needed me to stay calm so that McKinley didn't get worked up. With a brain trauma, they wanted to keep her blood pressure as constant as possible, so my crying wasn't going to help at all.

Aaron arrived and came in the room to hug her, we kissed her and watched them strap her to the board to make sure her neck and head stayed stable for the flight. She was then wheeled out and placed in the ambulance, then driven to the helicopter. We gathered our things and went out to the car, watched for her to take off, and then left (note - takes 8 minutes to fly from Crown Point to UofC by helicopter. EIGHT. WHOA.). We had been advised to take our time because once she arrived, she was going to be met by a pedicatric trauma team, and they had a lot of tests to do before we would even be able to see her.

We didn't really waste any time, and it still took us over an hour to get there. When we arrived, she had just been transferred to an ER room and was waiting for us. They said that she screamed the entire time, and never calmed down until she saw us. I was so heartbroken to hear this, but it's one of those things you just have to do as a parent. Obviously, I asked if I could ride along and for liability reasons, I couldn't. I knew this, but they were taking my BABY! I had to ask. Just in case.

They gave us an update - she had no neck injury so she didn't need to wear a collar. They did a full body scan just to be sure she didn't have any other issues, and it came back clear. We waited in the ER for 2 hours before being transferred to the PICU open unit. My mom and brother showed up with my aunt and uncle and we were able to visit with them for a while before being transferred. By they time we got to our bed in the unit, visiting hours were over, so they came home. But it was so good to have someone there to comfort us. We were still so scared and unsure of what was to come.

She was NPO (couldn't eat/nurse) so getting her to sleep was going to be a struggle. {She was NPO just in case something happened to her and they needed to intubate. They also gave her anti-seizure meds and the side effects are nausea and vomiting, and if she vomited, they wanted to know that it wasn't from eating too much, or something I ate that affected her.} After holding her for hours and then trying to get her to sleep without nursing, the nurse suggested I lay her in the crib to see if she would settle down. She thought that thing was a jungle gym. She loved playing in there, but we were worried she would hit her head, so we had to wrap the bars in blankets.

She finally caved around 1:30 am and after not sleeping more than 30 minutes since 7:30 am, she fell asleep. I was able to transfer her to the crib and grab an hour of sleep. She woke up and I was again able to get her back down. At 4 am, the nurse had to wake her to check her pupils, and she thankfully went right back to sleep. Again at 6 am, they had to wake her, she was NOT PLEASED and she wanted them to know! After 20 minutes of fighting it, she went back to sleep. (Note the padded crib bars - haha)

Around 7:15, the Neurosurgery team came in and assessed her, called for another CT Scan, and removed the NPO order. I was thrilled to be able to nurse her back to sleep, but WAIT. Now that she's awake, lets draw blood and do the CT Scan and order breakfast for mom and dad and check all vitals and meet the new staff after shift change. And then the Social Worker showed up. I knew that she would be coming by, but it still hurt my heart a lot. She asked her routine questions, and watched Aaron and I interact with McKinley. She explained that anytime a child under age 2 comes in with an injury, they do the evaluation. She informed us that she would meet with the Child Abuse Doctor and they would discuss our case and get back to us. Around 9, I was able to finally nurse her and she went to sleep for about an hour. I left to go brush my teeth and try to pull myself together and she stopped by while I was gone, letting Aaron know that we were cleared.

(Don't get too bored - we get to leave soon!)

My mom and Aunt Jen showed up just as she was waking up. The PICU Attending came in and said that the CT Scan showed no change from yesterday, which is the best news in this situation. They wanted her to eat regular food and keep it down, perform a final examination on her, and see her put pressure on her legs. She was too annoyed to walk, but she put weight on her legs which was good enough! She ate some spaghetti, got it all over my mom and the floor, kept it down, and was released! The nurse came in to unhook BOTH IV's and all of the monitors she had to wear, and we were OUTTA THERE. We go back in one month to meet with the Pediatric Neurosurgeon to check on the fracture, which should heal on it's own. The blood should reabsorb, and as it does, the swelling will go down.

YOU carried me, us. YOU lifted us in prayer, thought about us, wished us well. Facebooked to your friends about us, tweeted us to your followers, activated your church prayer chain, sent texts to check in. You assured us everything would be okay. We are so incredibly thankful. I wish I could thank each one of you individually, but I don't even know where to start. I can only explain that the peace we felt was an answer to prayer. There is no other explaination for why I wasn't a complete basketcase the entire weekend.

***Questions that I just didn't know where to put: Why did they air lift her? Why couldn't they observe her at the local hospital? Because of her age and head trauma, they wanted to have her monitored every 2 hours through the night, followed by a CT Scan. IF the scan would have shown things getting worse, they would've had to transfer her anyhow. As a precautionary measure, they did it early on. Also, there is not a Pedicatric Neurosurgery department at the hospital, only a Neonatal Neuorosurgeon (5 times, fast. Go.)
Any other questions, or if something doesn't make sense, please let me know. I wanted to get it all down while it was fresh in my memory.


Erin said...

I don't have any questions, I'm just so glad she's okay.

Amanda@HighImpactMom said...

OH my sweet friend. How i love you. SO many prayers for you guys! SO glad she's ok! Be easy on your self mama.

*Lissa* said...

SOOOO scary. I am glad she is okay. xo!

Anna said...

Words can't express how glad I am that she is okay! I teared up more than once reading this because my heart ached for you and your family. Kiki will continue to be in my prayers. tell her to quit being such a dare devil! ;)

Motleymommy said...

Oh how terrifying! My Z is a daredevil and this is something i fear him doing.

Glad she seems no worse for the wear. I'm sure you and your husband feel pretty beat up. Take care!

Kyley said...

I knew the outcome, but I was still crying for you and McK. You're such a rock, Natalie! I'm so happy the outcome is good and I hope your heart can go back to normal as your little toddler does what little toddlers do. Hugs to everyone!!

Sarah said...

I am still so happy that she is okay. Praying for you all as she heals.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I was so worried and praying hard. So glad all is well!


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Baby Making Mama said...

Oh my goodness Mama! I've been so behind on this and I'm so sorry I wasn't there to help life you through this. I am so glad she's ok and I'm so glad you all had to go through this. This could happen to anyone and oh man, I know I'd be feeling the exact same way you did.

I'm SO glad you're all ok!

*hugs* mama.