Sorry this took so long to get posted. I was really tired yesturday and spent most of the afternoon and evening in bed.
Hope you like this,
April came in the room a while later, wheeling a wheelchair. “We need to get him down for an MRI. Unfortunately, this is kind of last minute, but he needs to go now.” She told Sharon.
Sharon looked at her perplexed. “He’ll never be able to sit in that.” she said.
April laughed and replied “In your lap he will. It’s the fastest way to get him down there. If we wait for patient transport, he will end up sitting down there for half the day.”.
Sharon hadn’t noticed, but there was a pole with a bag of dark cream colored liquid hanging on a pole attached to the chair. “What’s that for?”.
“Oh, it’s Billy’s formula, Peter told you about it. He may not need it on the trip, but better to be prepared just in case.” April told her as she hung a mesh bag across the back of the wheelchair and proceeded to put two diapers, the wipes and two fresh sets of tubing for his feeding into it.
“You think of everything.” Sharon told her.
“Honey, when you’ve spent forty minutes in a stalled elevator with a patient in a really fragrant messy diaper, you tend to figure out ways to avoid that again if you can.” with a laugh as she put two plastic bags in with the rest.
Moving Billy away from her breast, she gave him his pacifier and stood up, cradling him. Gently trying to sit in the wheelchair so as not to wake him, she settled in, pulling him closer as she pat his diapered bottom when he squirmed a bit.
April went to the crib and retrieved Billy’s blanket and his Pooh Bear. Handing the bear to Sharon,she spread the blanket and laid it over the little boy. She then pulled the tubing from Billy’s arm, and took the bag down from the IV stand and threw both in the trash. “He should be easier to calm by noon, with the steroids being reduced.” she said.
“He really hasn’t been all that fussy.” Sharon offered.
With a warm smile, April told her “Most moms that come through here don’t have the option of nursing their fussy nine year olds.” with a chuckle.
Sharon laughed. Peter was right. Everything Billy had been through up until now had set the stage for where he was in life. Her thoughts moved to yesterday before she’d decided to nurse him. She thanked God then that it was an option. “I see what you mean.” she told April smiling.
"Alright, let’s get down there before they think we’re not coming and move someone into Billy’s slot."April explained as she gripped the handles on the wheelchair and rolled them out of the room.
Sharon was lost in thought as they moved out of the PICU. She had asked Rick to go call her mom and let her know what had happened, and that Billy would hopefully be coming home tomorrow. The thought of taking him home was both wonderful and scary. She wasn’t sure she was ready to be away from these folks yet. The thought of Billy having a problem and she not knowing what to do was frightening to say the least.
They had entered the elevator. As the doors closed and it dropped, Billy fussed. Sharon shifted him so she was hugging him with his legs straddling her, his head on her shoulder. “I know you don’t like the elevator Baby, it’s OK, it’ll be over soon, I promise.” she told him, rocking him gently. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a woman looking at Billy with a frown.
Turning toward the woman, she saw this must have been a visitor. Once Sharon looked at the woman, she smiled and asked “How old is he?”.
Before Sharon could respond, April answered “He’s three.” with a smile.
With a perplexed look on her face, the woman said “He’s awfully big for a three year old.”.
After catching on to April’s lead, “Yes, he’s got a growth hormone imbalance, thank God they make diapers big enough for him now.” Sharon said with a smile. “He’ll be one big boy before long.” she finished.
Billy whimpered as the elevator stopped.
“All done Baby, we’re all done.” Sharon soothed him.
As soon as they were off and the elevator doors closed, April laughed. “You’re catching on.” she said to Sharon with a smile.
“What?” Sharon asked innocently. “He does have a hormone imbalance, and I am glad they make diapers his size. I told nothing but the truth.” she added with a smile.
“You’ll do fine young lady, you’ll do just fine.” April said with a chuckle as she pushed them into the diagnostic imaging area.
April left her in the waiting area, with several other folks sitting and waiting. Billy sat with his head on Mommy’s shoulder, trying to focus his thoughts. He didn’t know where he was, but it didn’t matter because Mommy was with him. He felt that ache in his tummy again, but this time it was stronger. It wasn’t anything like hunger pangs he knew before, but the last time he was fed it went away. Not knowing any other way to let Mommy know he wanted to eat, he started to fuss.
April came back just as Billy was starting to really cry. Sharon lifted the blanket out of the way and pulled the back of Billy’s diaper out to see if he’d gone poopy. When she saw he hadn’t, she felt the front to see how wet he was. “That’s not the problem.” she thought. Then it occurred to her that it had been a little while since he ate. The problem was, they didn’t bring a bottle with them. “Would it be possible to feed him? I think that’s the problem.” she asked April.
Surprising Sharon, April took Billy’s blanket off of him and told her to lay him down. “She wants me to breastfeed him right here!” she thought.
April leaned in next to Sharon’s ear and said “If we leave here now, he will be down here for hours. It’s up to you, but if I were you, I would just feed him here. That’s the main reason I brought the blanket.” she said as she laid the blanket so it draped over Sharon’s shoulder and covered Billy’s head.
Sharon nodded, still not sure she was ready to do this now. Taking the offered tube from April’s hand, she reached under the blanket, pulled her shirt up and purely by feel, taped the tube to her breast. She moved Billy into position and felt him latch on to her nipple and start nursing. The folks in the waiting area just ignored her or smiled at her and the lump under the blanket with the diaper butt sticking out.
“The Pediasure wasn’t heavy enough for him. This is one of the reasons he’s been hungry so often. This formula will make him feel more full, and therefore satisfy his hunger better.” April said. "It may give him more gas though, so you may have to burp him and then let him feed some more in order to make sure he’s full. We don’t want his stomach shrinking, it would cause problems later.
Sharon hadn’t thought about any of this. “Would it be better if I tried to feed him baby food?” she asked not wanting to cause problems. She loved it when he nursed, but she didn’t want to hurt him.
“Honey, if you tried to feed him oatmeal right now, he’d probably choke on it. Stick to breast feeding him for a while. Trust me, you’ll know when he’s ready. Just think of him like you would any one to two month old child. You wouldn’t feed them oatmeal, would you?” April asked.
“No, I wouldn’t.” Sharon answered with fear in her eyes. “How in the world are we going to figure this all out?” she asked.
April looked at her with an understanding smile. “Sharon, you’ll do fine, trust me. Just remember that he’s functionally a month old or so, and you will be fine.” she said reassuringly. “You bathe him, feed him, dress him and cuddle him just like you would an infant. You’ve got one benefit a lot of parents don’t though.” she added.
“What?” Sharon asked felling thoroughly inadequate at the moment.
“You’ve done this before with this very child. You know what he likes and doesn’t like. You have an idea of what comforts him, or you would never have thought to nurse him. This isn’t a strange new child you’re nursing now, you know that baby probably better than anyone.” April explained.
“She’s right. I somehow knew that nursing him would be the only way to comfort him.” Sharon thought. She’d been down this road before with this little boy. She felt much better with that thought. “You’re right.” She told April.
“This has been a big change, I’m sure. Some for the worse, some for the better. I know you would have preferred he not have to have had surgery, but those were the cards you were dealt. And much to your credit, you’ve done a great job of finding ways to help him get through this. Trust me, you’ll do fine, I know it.” April offered.
“Thank you.” Sharon said with a grateful smile. “I guess I got really scared when I thought about going home with him. I wasn’t sure I was gonna be able to figure this all out.” she added.
April gave her a dismissive wave and said “Fortunately, there isn’t a lot you have to figure out actually. He’s an infant for now. Just care for him as one and you and he will be fine. Besides, I won’t let you leave this hospital until you know how to care for him. It wouldn’t be right to you or to him. For example, later , I’m going to talk you through bathing him. Being that he’s bigger than an infant, he’s gonna need special consideration when it comes to a bath.”.
“Thank you so much.” Sharon said blinking back tears. She was feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of caring for Billy. It just seemed like a huge undertaking. She would never leave him to anyone else’s care, but the thought of getting it wrong and hurting him was causing her to doubt herself and her ability to do this.
Meanwhile, she felt Billy stop nursing. Breaking his seal on her breast, she let her gown fall, pulled his blanket away, and picked him up. Shifting him so he sat facing her, she held his head against her chest as she rubbed his back up and down firmly. Ten seconds later he let out a large burp that made her laugh. Two burps later, she laid him down again to finish nursing him. Within three minutes, as she was patting his bottom, she heard and then felt him fill his diaper.
“Well,” April told her, “That’s the consequence of filling his tummy nice and full.” She said with a smile.
Sharon laughed. She didn’t care. She’d change his poopy diapers ten times a day as long as he was getting what he needed.