Since we adopted Elvie and brought her home nearly three months ago, we have either been in the hospital with her or have taken her every two weeks to have her weight monitored and follow up on any additional concerns. Yesterday, we went to our usual check-in appointment to have Elvie weighed and to continue getting her caught up on vaccinations, and our pediatrician gave us the good news that she really doesn’t feel that she needs to see Elvie aside from normal well child visits and anything out of the ordinary that comes up. We are thrilled!
Elvie weighed in at just over fifteen pounds and looks marvelous, so we are in the clear for the moment. That doesn’t mean, of course, that it will be smooth sailing from here – just that we get a little break from extra appointments before her surgery. What we still need to maintain is nothing to sneeze at, but after hospitalizations and all sorts of follow-up visits, this part will be a piece of cake. After the jump, find out what we still need to do to keep Elvie as healthy as possible until we get word about her surgery.
Multiple Nighttime Feedings – As much as I’d love to work on getting Elvie to sleep through the night, the reality that she is supporting a lot of extra body tissue with a normal-sized baby stomach. She simply can’t get enough calories during the day to sleep through the night. We’ve moved from wakings every hour to every two hours most nights, which is still exhausting, but way better than the nights she’d wake every 45 minutes.
Multiple Medications – On a daily basis, Elvie has one antibiotic, a probiotic, and vitamins to take. That’s not too tough, but sometimes I think I’ve given her all of them and later realize I’m remembering the dose from the day before. Surprisingly enough, it’s actually easier on the three days a week that I have to give her an additional medication; the second antibiotic must be administered twice daily, so there is a medication to go with each of her daytime bottles, and if I do them in the same order each time, I’m less likely to forget one.
Diaper Rash Management – Even with probiotic use, being on more than one antibiotic has left Elvie with a diaper rash that we simply can’t eliminate. Our goal is to manage it and keep her as comfortable as possible. Diapers get changed as soon as they are dirtied, and we alternate out yeast rash medication with zinc oxide and beeswax creams. In the beginning, her little bottom would bleed every time she dirtied her diaper; this rarely happens anymore, so we will keep using our current treatments and diapering system.
Keeping an Eye on Warning Signs for Infection – Because Elvie is more susceptible to urinary tract infections than most kids, and because the original infection was a multiple organism infection with two antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, it is extremely important that we keep a close eye on her urine output and color/odor. One thing I noticed when she had her worst infection was that I could tell she had a wet diaper by smell alone. If I catch even a small whiff of that telltale odor or notice a change in color, it’s time to take her in for urinalysis.
Waiting Somewhat Impatiently to Hear From the Surgeon – This isn’t necessarily something we have to maintain for Elvie; she is oblivious to the fact that we are waiting on a very important phone call to find out when her big surgery will be. As her parents, however, there will be a lot of things that we need to get in place for her time of surgery, and I am feeling a little bit anxious to know something – anything, really – about the possible time frame for her surgery. I dread my baby being in pain and trying to keep our family functioning during another hospital stay, but I also look forward to getting past this huge obstacle to Elvie’s development. My task right now is to keep my cool and avoid sending additional emails when one email to follow up will do just fine.
For now, I am going to enjoy this time of greater simplicity when it comes to Elvie’s care. She is such a bubbly, happy baby, and it is a treat to enjoy her every day without having to think about getting her to yet another medical appointment. Whether we have one week or one month before we start planning for life during her big surgery, I intend to savor this more relaxed season in our family life.