Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wearing a Hospitalized Child

I do not have very much experience babywearing in the hospital, and to be honest, I hope I don't have an opportunity for more.

But I think this might be a helpful topic to discuss, like thinking through what your preferences would be if you needed to have a c-section, or thinking about what your course of action would be if you have trouble breastfeeding, and who you'd contact.

I don't like thinking about kids in the hospital, having a c-section, or having breastfeeding difficulties, but I do think it can be a good idea to think through some scenarios and discuss options.  Plus, I'm looking forward to hearing YOUR experiences, if any, with babywearing in the hospital!

 My son Nathan was hospitalized for 10 days (story here, update #1, update #2) due to Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome.  For most of the time, he had an IV in his arm, and for part of the time he was on dialysis (peritoneal dialysis, so through a tube inserted in his stomach).  He also had lots of monitors, on his toe, on his chest, all over, for much of the time.

We started out at a small local ER, and I wore him in my ring sling into the ER, in the waiting room, and for some of the initial things, like having his temperature taken.  Once we settled into a room, he hung out on the bed and calmly watched tv... a testament both to how little tv he watches, and to how sick and lethargic he was.

The photo above is of the only time I wore him during the whole hospitalization.  He was feeling very lethargic and disoriented, and out of the blue said "mei tai?"  At that point he only had an IV, so it wasn't hard to put him on.  I did a front carry both because it gave more face time and snuggliness, and also because his platelets were dangerously low.  I have never dropped a baby or child while putting them in a back carry, and he is generally very good about cooperating when being put on, but I still opted for the easier front carry.  He snuggled in the mei tai for at least ten minutes, and it was a wonderful connection for both of us.

The night that this photo was taken, we were waiting to be transported three hours away to a PICU at a hospital that could do pediatric dialysis.  Once we got to the PICU he was on far too many monitors for holding him to be easy, far less wearing, and he was also much more lethargic and did not ask to be held or worn, although he did want me to lie next to him on the bed and snuggle.

Wearing also made the hospital experience easier in that Micah was able to pop Miriam into either the ring sling or our HugaMonkey and still have hands for diaper bags and water bottles.  I'm sad I didn't get any pictures of him wearing her while there... it was good for me to see that she was doing fine and getting snuggles, even if she was getting less mama than usual.

So... do you have any babywearing in the hospital experiences or stories to share? 


Anonymous said...

One of my twins is being worn at the hospital as I type. Nothing very scary wrong with her, but a sing for a trip to the ER is *magic*. So convenient, so calming (for mama and baby!). Interesting post!

natalie said...

Goodness, how did I forget wearing him in the ring sling in the ER?! Must be still missing some of my brain from the stress.

Hope your little one is better soon and home... and yay for being able to give our little ones that familiar comfort no matter where they are! :)

Anonymous said...

And of course I meant SLING. Though no doubt singing has its uses as well!

Lisa said...

My husband was recently hospitalized for 2 months. I wore our youngest (now 17mths) a lot. For a few weeks, I was wearing him on the bus/train there, the entire 8-12 hours I was there & then on transit home. Then I got worn out & started using a stroller for transit and part of the time there. I still wore him to nurse/to sleep & whenever he wanted out of the stroller but I couldn't let him run around. It was a huge life saver and made the long hospitalization easier than it might have been otherwise. And breastfeeding made it even easier, especially the day I got there to find out my husband was having surgery & I wound up with an unplanned over night visit.

natalie said...

Wow, Lisa! That must have been totally exhausting. I know that our 15 month old wanted so badly to get down and run around and touch things... we had a playpen for her, but she wanted nothing to do with it if she was awake... unless we bribed her with crackers. ;)

Thanks for sharing your story... and I hope that your husband is recovering well!

Desiree Fawn said...

Gretchen's only ever been to the hospital once -- was vomiting everything, even breastmilk, for HOURS so I gave in and took her for fear she'd be dehydrated. Turned out to be nothing but a little tummy bug, and she was fine by the time we left though nothing was really done, haha. I wore her in the ring sling for HOURS and HOURS. She just whimpered and slept on me and nursed when she could. I couldn't have imagined doing it without my sling!