Before heart surgery, taking Rebekah to a doctor was a very simple task. Our only real worry (other than that she would catch something from someone else) was that she would cover the office, doctor and nurses in puke.
We were beyond the point of worrying about being covered ourselves. I’m pretty sure that Chris and I had grown immune to the grossness that was Rebekah’s constant companion. In Akron Children’s NICU she had even earned the nickname “The Vominator” because of her spit-up abilities.
It was a real problem before surgery. She would spit with almost every feeding, and sometimes multiple times. She also had the especially exciting ability to spit right before she ate the next time, so there was never a “safe” time to schedule any of her appointments. Everyone was taking his or her clothing (and everything else) into the danger zone by being near her.
Since heart surgery Rebekah’s spitting has not just significantly decreased. It has basically disappeared. She has spit maybe five or six times since we’ve been home from the hospital. Before, that would have been a typical morning.
She has acquired a new trick for the doctor, however. Instead of using the seven cloth diapers I keep packed for spit, I now use them to mop up her TEARS!
Before surgery she never really had the energy to get very upset about anything. If she cried, it was usually for a very obvious reason. Now she cries when she’s hungry, sleepy, bored, hurting, angry…you know, for all the reasons a regular baby cries.
I really think that sometimes she looks at us and thinks to herself, “I’ll get them this time. I’ll just cry for fun! Try to figure it out this time you silly parents!” (Actually, she really doesn’t cry much for a baby. We were just used to a baby that went for days without fussing at all.)
At our most recent visit to Dr. VandeKappelle, Bekah was doing great. She tolerated an EKG, getting her blood pressure taken, being weighed and everything else—right up until the most important part.
When I laid her on the table for the Echocardiogram, she flipped out. She turned from a happy, cheery baby into a raving lunatic. There was nothing I could do to console her.
I tried feeding her. I tried burping her. The nurse turned on a TV to see if the colors would distract her enough to keep her still. Nothing worked. In four and a half months, this was the first time I’d ever had to deal with something like this.
It felt like she screamed forever. In reality, it was probably only 5 or 10 minutes since the entire Echo, screaming and flailing only took about half an hour. She finally fell asleep, and the Echo showed exactly what we were hoping for—a patched up heart!
I guess I’ll be keeping the burp cloths after all.
Read the rest of Sarah and Rebekah’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.