Elvie's Unexpected Hospital Stay


Tonight I will spend the night at the children’s hospital, on a chair that turns into a bed, next to a crib with my tiny daughter in it, NG tube through her nose, antibiotics coursing through her veins. This is not what we had in mind for our first week home. This is not what we had in mind for anytime until it was time for Elvie’s big surgery to correct her birth defect. But Elvie came to us with far more medical problems than we were told she had, and it didn’t take long for it to become evident that she needed more than we could provide for her with outpatient services and our own loving arms at home. So our own loving arms brought her to the hospital, and this morning we checked in.

I have been so tired that this is hardly sinking in. The cocooning we planned will have to wait. Elvie now sees twenty faces a day, at the very least. This is a teaching hospital, and the staff comes in groups. I am not complaining; I am happy that she is getting the help she needs. I am thrilled that we are no longer trying things that work for just a little while, then fail, when it comes to getting her to eat. As much as this was a surprise and has presented some challenges when it comes to Zinashi’s care, we are so grateful to live in a city with excellent medical resources, in a country where Elvie’s emaciated body and infections aren’t simply par for the course.

We still believe that attachment and cocooning are of utmost importance. There will not be a waking moment of Elvie’s stay here at the hospital that Jarod or I are not in the room. She gets to have one of us all of the time. When it is time for her to eat, we feed her. Same goes for diaper changes. It’s all us, all the time, doing the things we intended to do from the beginning. We’re just doing them in a hospital instead of in the cozy warmth of our little home. We will get back there, and we will cocoon with Elvie, but for now, our aim is simply to get her healthy. If that means that she sees twenty faces a day, than we will work with that.

It remains to be seen just what Elvie needs. We do know that she needs a lot more calories in her body in order to start to gain weight. We know that she has a urinary tract infection that is worse than any the nurses here have ever seen. So we start with those things and work on the rest as the tests tell the doctors more. As much as it is hard to be at the hospital, I am so glad that we are figuring this out. I can’t wait to see this baby get better.


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