A pre visit to the Children’s Hospital

With a little more than two weeks to go we are trying to get a lot of our annual appointments such as vet visits, car tune ups etc done. In doing so we realized we are about 3 months late for Addison’s 24 month checkup, so hubby took her this morning. We were asked to take her to lab services at Children’s Hospital because they are worried about Addison’s height. Apparently she might not just be small, but might have a thyroid problem. I am not going to worry too much about it until the results come back though because last time the doctor was concerned that Addison was falling off the weight curve it turned out she was using an outdated chart.

Regardless today we made a pre visit to the hospital. We went and showed Addison the big fish tank before going to lab services. There was a bit of a wait at lab services and then a bit of a cry. They are pretty good at this lab services, getting Addison’s vein on the first try and being very efficient about everything. I am glad we took the advice of our doctor and went to the children’s hospital instead of just to any old lab. Since we were there already we went to visit the NICU. As expected there are no general visitors allowed at NICU. But the nurse at the reception area was very nice. She explained about the 1 minute hand washing routine at the sink, she let us peek our head behind glass at the 14 private rooms that make up the NICU. She explained how usually they will let one parent stay overnight depending on the situation that baby is in. I am glad she took us dropping in all in stride and provided us with some good information.

One thing we were not expecting was the lock down period that NICU is in right now. Before today’s visit, the NICU doctor had mentioned that siblings and visitors chaperoned by a parent are allowed to visit the NICU. However, during flu season, the NICU is in lock down. This means that only parents are allowed to visit. No siblings, no other visitors. This lock down period depends on each year’s flu season. The nurse has no idea when the NICU will be open to visitors but predicts sometime at the end of May or beginning of June. If we end up in the NICU only for the best case scenario of 6-8 weeks, our little baby will not have any visitors or even meet her sister until she comes home. At least she will have her mummy and daddy. I think this lock down will make the situation harder to handle for us. I was hoping that we would have a chance for Addison to join us on weekends for our visits at the hospital, and was hoping little baby’s extended family also got a chance to come by and meet her, and provide some support to us. But I understand and appreciate the precaution.

Of course, we may not be in NICU for the entire time. It depends on the level of care that baby will need, and also when her surgery is. If she is fairly stable after birth but still needs to be in the hospital to work on feeding or breathing, she would be transferred to a different unit. If she is older and more stable when she has her surgery, she may be at PICU for recovery instead of NICU. So the information today doesn’t really narrow down the path we will be taking and doesn’t help us plan for these next few weeks any more than we already are. But it does give us more information so we aren’t walking in blind, and for that I am grateful.

The visit also gave us an opportunity to have the first of a series of conversations with Addison about her baby sister being sick. I still think she is too young to really understand what is going on but I am glad we are now starting to discuss these things with her as I think that no matter how resilient kids are, she is still going to feel scared and sad in the first little while. Addison has a good memory – she still talks about Disney World being where Mickey Mouse lives. So I am hoping that at least when she asks where mummy and baby sister are and we tell her at the hospital she will remember it was the ok place with the big fish tank and be a bit comforted that it’s not just this big unknown.

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