One of the reasons I like writing about Elvie’s story and about what we are going through as a family as we pursue medical care for her is that we know that we are not the only family who is going through this or who will go through this. I hope that by sharing, other families will feel a little less alone, and that those who will go through this in the future will be able to learn from our experience. While we didn’t feel lucky when we had to check Elvie into the hospital the first time, so soon after bringing her home with us from Ethiopia, we do feel quite fortunate that our stay gave us insight into what we’d need for the stays associated with this surgery. I’ve felt so much more prepared this time, and this has helped other little difficulties more bearable.
This week I’m going to be writing a few posts about what it’s like to have a baby in the hospital. I’ll talk about what we did to prepare before the surgery, how we keep Elvie as comfortable as possible in a hospital setting, and how we take care of ourselves when our baby needs a lot of extra care. Once she’s been discharged from the hospital (we’re crossing our fingers that it happens this week), I’ll talk about what the whole surgery and recovery process in hospital was like, from checking her in to walking out those hospital doors and walking in our own front door. We can’t wait for the day we get to settle back in at home. For now, here are some photos of what Elvie’s stay has been like so far. Even in pain and under the influence of medication, we think she’s still the cutest.
Just Out of Surgery, in the PICU
It was such a relief to see Elvie after her surgery. We immediately tucked her pal Lamby in with her. She had IVs in both her hands at that point, so she couldn’t snuggle him as usual, but seemed to find some relief that he was right there by her cheek.
A Little Puffy
Swelling is very common after surgery, and we saw Elvie puff up quite a bit in her first 24 hours post surgery. It didn’t look very comfortable, but those puffy cheeks were still pretty cute.
With All Her Crib Buddies
I packed the animals that usually hang out in Elvie’s crib with her, and once she was awake, I arranged them so she could see all of them.
Pain Meds Make Babies Do Funny Things
Elvie’s surgery was pretty intense, with big incisions and both internal and external work done, so she really needed her pain medication those first few days. Shortly after meds would take effect, she would get a little loopy, and my favorite was when I’d put some lip balm on her, and she just kept rubbing her lips together, like, “Wooooow. My liiiiiiips.”
Her Crib Stuff Collection is Growing
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to bring her mobile to the hospital or not, but decided to toss it in my bag one evening when I was home to shower, just to try. She’d also received a book and a stuffed fox in the mail, plus I won her the owl playing hospital bingo. The crib is FULL, but she loves it.
Napping With All Her Toys
I was so excited when she finally was both strong enough and comfortable enough to start playing with her toys again. She played so hard that she passed out right in the middle of everything.
Reading With Zinashi
We really treasure our family time, and it’s hard to come by during hospital days. On Saturday we ate lunch together in Elvie’s hospital room, and Zinashi had brought several toys and books so she could play with Elvie. Watching them play together, even though Elvie is crib bound, is sweet.
Hospital Life is Not Her Favorite, But It’s Going Okay
There are many things about hospital life that are not ideal, but Elvie is doing beautifully nevertheless. She is often less than impressed with being poked and prodded all the time and with having so many people come in and out of her shared hospital room. I am so proud of how well she’s doing in spite of everything.