At just a few weeks old, our sweet Ruby spiked a fever. I called Kaiser and they sent us to the ER. I was super less than thrilled but figured we'd likely end up in the hospital for 24 hours for observation. When we got to the ER, the nurses and doctor were fantastic. They were so kind and were pretty amazed at how calm I was. Once I told them that Ruby is baby number 7 for me, they understood. They put in an IV, took some blood, and took a urine sample through a catheter. Ruby was pretty upset during the catheter and they had a hard time getting it. I said a little prayer and immediately Ruby relaxed and held perfectly still and quiet while they finished. The nurse was a little weirded out by Ruby's extremely calm state but I was thankful that little silent prayers are answered. The urine sample was really cloudy smelly so they were pretty sure it was a UTI. Finally, before transferring us via ambulance to another hospital that has inpatient pediatrics, two doctors attempted a spinal tap. Neither could get it so we headed to Modesto to be admitted. I had to follow the ambulance in my car so that I wasn't left without transportation. I didn't like that part. It was the first time Ruby had been separated from me and it felt kind of weird, but we made it and the ambulance guys said she slept the whole way.
We were admitted to the hospital at 3:00 in the morning and they did another spinal tap once Ruby was more hydrated. It had been a rough night and I was super tired. The doctor who was on that night said that we should plan to stay for at least a week. That about sent me over the edge. A week?! I was figuring that we just needed some antibiotics and then could be on our way but as it turned out, waiting on the cultures to grow takes quite some time. I called Ben with the news and was a sobbing mess worried about my other 6 kiddos who also needed me. The four oldest were starting school in a few days and we weren't ready. As it turned out we only had to stay in the hospital for four days, thankfully. Ruby and I had lots of snuggle and sleep time while Ben, his dad, and my mom took turns watching the other kids. Ben's mom even took my girls shopping for school clothes which I appreciated greatly. Ben came to visit most evenings and brought me food that was edible. One night he stayed with Ruby a while so that I could run to Target to get school supplies for the kids' to take on their first day. Meilani was quite distraught thinking that she'd have to go to the first day of school without all the optional supplies. Because Ben works right in town now he was able to go in late so that he could get the kids off on the first day, which was so nice. He's never been able to do that before. In the end it was a UTI and they sent us home on antibiotics for a week. Coming home was a little rough. The little boys were really acting up, sort of punishing me for being gone I think. We'd pretty well adjusted to a new baby but going back to the hospital for several days put us back at square one.
Several weeks after our hospital stay our doctor ordered an ultrasound where they found that Ruby has an extra ureter which is the tube that connects your kidney to your bladder. He told us she'd likely need surgery. We then were referred to a pediatric urologist who ordered some additional tests to check kidney and bladder function. During one of those tests the nurse who put in a catheter noticed that her urine was really cloudy again so we also got to do an additional urine culture which showed she had another UTI. This time though we got to treat her with antibiotics at home since there was no fever. The extra tests reveled that Ruby actually has what's called a duplex kidney system which means she kind of has 4 kidneys and 4 ureters. The urologist said none of that really mattered except that one of her ureters is really thick and not draining properly. On her bladder she has this extra balloon looking thing where the ureter is connected and they want to go in and puncture a bigger hole in that balloon thing which will hopefully result in better urine drainage. Time will tell. In the meantime, Ruby gets to take a really yucky antibiotic for the next two years, and it's 70% likely that we're looking at another surgery when she's two, depending on whether her urine drainage improves after the first surgery.
Lots of friends keep asking if I'm okay and I really am. The hospital stay was not terribly convenient but I'm so thankful for modern medicine that allows us to detect problems like this. I asked the urologist if this was a normal problem for him, if he sees this type of defect often. He said he totally did and that while it was really out of the norm for me, it was totally a typical problem for him. That was reassuring so we keep on keeping on, so thankful for our sweet Ruby, her happy disposition, and her chubby cheeks, glad we get to kiss on them for many more days to come.
At the ER
In the hospital
We had lots of lap napping going on while I watched obscene amounts of TLC. If you want to know how to buy an income property, I'm your girl!
It looks like a cast but it's actually a board they have wrapped to her arm to keep her IV in place.
Thankfully the loud disruptive hospital environment didn't ruin our good sleep schedule.