I cried both times that we found out we’d have to take Elvie to the hospital. The first time it was partly because I knew that if we had to go to the hospital, it meant she was truly very sick, but also because I just wanted to be home as a family. An unexpected hospital detour was not what I had in mind. The second time I cried partly because I was tired, but again because I just wanted to be home as a family. Those hospital days were hard, especially in the beginning of the first stay, but now that we are a week away from the last stay, I’m able to see the many good things that came from Elvie being admitted to the hospital, especially the first time.
The most obvious gift was that she was able to get the care she needed to get better all in one place. I didn’t have to visit various specialists and navigate all of that on my own. We simply hunkered down in the room, and everyone came to us. If we needed to go to a different place in the hospital, someone walked us there. I believe that one of the key components of her rapid improvement was being able to have all of her issues addressed at once and to receive treatment quickly. When they discovered an issue, the orders would be placed for whatever she needed, and it would happen.
Second, we were able to get a lot of the scans that she would need for surgical preparation done while she was there. We found out a whole lot more about what her diagnosis means for her and what further information they need to plan her big surgery. We were able to meet the surgery team and talk a little about what to expect and when Elvie would be ready for surgery. For me, this was huge. I had so many questions about what was going on with Elvie, and I thought I was going to have to wait to find out more. Because we were there anyway, we were able to get a lot more answers about Elvie’s birth defect and how it is currently impacting her as well as what it means for her future.
Third, we were able to get in some practice for what life will look like when Elvie has her big surgery. We figured out how our days would look, and what I, as the primary hospital caregiver, would need to make it through a long hospital stay. We discovered just what we needed to bring from home both for Elvie and for me. We also were able to introduce Zinashi to hospital life and help her become comfortable with it. She was given so much fun stuff to play with at home that I’m pretty sure she thinks of the hospital as part healing place, part toy store. Developing a routine that we can use next time will help all of us feel more at ease.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, we were able to forge relationships with hospital staff. Knowing that we will see some familiar faces next time around makes me feel a lot more comfortable. Our second stay, we had people stop by the room just to say hi and see Elvie. Although it will be tough to be back and see our baby in pain from her surgery, we will love seeing many of those friendly faces again.
All in all, our hospital stays, while stressful and inconvenient in many ways, ended up being a gift to us as a family. We have a happy, healthy baby, and we know that when we return, we will be welcomed with open arms, and that Elvie will receive excellent care. Truly, we couldn’t ask for better.