What we actually found waiting for us, however, was norovirus, ear infections, RSV and pink eye - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. We've literally been here for less than 8 months and we've had head colds, chest colds, pink eye, followed by the stomach flu, followed by more chest colds, another round of the flu, ear infections, caused or followed by RSV (not totally sure), and to really knock it out of the park, norovirus (you know that bug that took down an entire cruise ship?) ripped it's way through our family resulting in two hospitalizations and one birth. Just so we're clear that's a total of 15+ colds, 6 pink eyes, 16 rounds of the stomach flu, 2 ear infections and 4 cases of RSV - in 3 months. Great stuff. We <3 Iowa.
Now, I understand this is not totally Iowa's fault. The flu thing is probably my own fault - you know for breathing or spending time with other human beings this winter. Has anyone else noticed the especially resilient and militarized nature of germs this season? Maybe it's just my family. Perhaps our frail Louisiana immune systems were not ready for a big boy winter. Looking back now I see that I should have dipped my children in some kind of clorox and hand-sanitizing solution at the beginning of the season - or just put them in a bubble. Whatever the case, we've had the aforementioned stomach flu four and a half times so far this winter - all of us....at the same time....every time. I'll spare you the visual details. My precious, sweet baby Lily arrived during round three of our epic bout with the flu.
Here's how it went.
DAY 1 - 5 days before my due date
6pm - I start having contractions. Not very strong, about 5-7 minutes apart. I'm pretty sure it's false labor since I'm dehydrated from being sick all day - what's up norovirus?!
6:45pm - Contractions are now 3-4 minutes apart but not getting any stronger. I'm still very confident it's false labor.
7pm - John pokes his head into our room and asks how I'm doing. I've been having regular contractions for an hour, NBD. I tell him I'm fine. John is smart and calls labor and delivery. They want me to come in and get fluids "just in case." I'm annoyed.
8pm - The three babies, John and I load up in the car and drive to the hospital. We discuss what we'll do with the kids if I'm actually in labor (which I'm not). It's good to have a plan just in case, though. I call my mom and dad and let them know what's going on. They're two and a half hours away and won't be able to come until my dad gets off work at 11. I'm sure we'll be fine!
8:05pm - John apologizes for the bumps in the road. He's concerned they are making my contractions more painful. I'm concerned because I feel like death, contractions mean nothing to me right now.
9:30pm - I've been hooked up to an IV for about an hour. The contractions are still coming and apparently getting stronger. The doctor asks if I can feel them (seriously?). "Do you think they're getting stronger?" she wants to know. I say no......it's false labor, I'm just dehydrated. I have the stomach flu, I'm not having a baby today. All three of my kids are in the waiting room with their dad, I have no overnight bag, we have no carseat, my dad is working overtime so my parents won't be here until well after midnight. No baby is coming tonight! Also, I think I need to throw up.
10pm - Doc informs me that I will be hooked up to an IV for two more hours - we may want to find something to do with the kids. Sweeeet.
10:15pm - I call John who's amazing and has been entertaining the kids in the waiting room. We decide he will take them all back home, put them to bed, and then load them back up at midnight to pick me up from the hospital. It's not worth waking people up to watch our kids for an hour and a half, since I'm not having a baby tonight.
10:16pm - My water breaks. John is now frantically calling people to take our children.
10:25pm - No one has answered their phone - John brings all the kids back to the delivery room. We are having a baby...all of us....together.....right now.
10:45pm - Lily is coming crazy fast. We're just moments away from holding her. All I can think is, "Can someone please take my children??!" I would like them not to be scarred for life.
10:50pm - A really sweet nurse's aid takes the kids to the waiting room so John can stay with me. She is my favorite person whose name I don't know. Baby-having adrenaline has made me forget about throwing up. This will later be revisited.
11:02pm - Baby Lily is born a whopping two hours after arriving at the hospital! She's our biggest baby at 9lbs. I'm glad she came five days early. :)
11:10pm - Babies one, two and three are back in the delivery room wanting to climb in bed with me and baby number four. I don't mind as much as you would expect. Aside from shielding Lily from well-intended love mauls, I actually really loved having our family together for all of this. The kids were angels by the grace of God (and the iPad).
11:30pm - John decides he will take the kids home and then come back when my parents arrive. He makes it back around 3 in the morning.
The plague of death forces Lily to spend a lot of time in the nursery, because I am weak and contagious. I'm sad because I can't just enjoy her. I'm still hooked up to an IV because I can't keep food down and I'm dragging it to the bathroom about every 15 minutes. A high fever causes me to go into involuntary convulsions. The nurses and John cover me in cold wash rags so that I won't have an asthma attack. My muscles burn from the spasms and I hear a nurse say they're worried about my heart.
Eventually my temperature goes down and I stop shaking. My husband is a saint, feeding me ice chips and keeping cold rags on me. They bring Lily to me to nurse. All I want to do is sleep. I pray a lot.
John wakes up with the plague of death. We are now officially a worthless pair. My parents decide they will keep the kids home from the hospital, Emma has been running a fever. The doctor decides I should stay an extra day since I'm still sick. I eat some jello and celebrate my small victory.
I decide I'm feeling better just in time for John's involuntary convulsions to start. By now we know the drill and have it under control within a few minutes. The sweet nurses offer to hook him up to an IV. I think they feel sorry for us.
We are going home!! John and I are both feeling better, or at least functional, although we're still making frequent trips to the bathroom. Things are looking up and I'm looking forward to just enjoying our new daughter for a bit.
My mom calls at 8am. Emma is fine, but Rowan has been throwing up about every 15-20 minutes since 9pm. My dad brings him to the hospital. They admit him to the pediatric unit down the hall from me and hook him up to an IV. He's severely dehydrated and will end up being in the hospital for three days.
I make a fool of myself and cry about all the craziness to my nurse during her discharge speech. Like ugly cry. She is very sweet and doesn't make me feel like a crazy person.
John transfers to Rowan's room down the hall (where they also offer to hook him up to an IV haha) and my dad takes Lily and me home.
To make a long story short(er)....
The rest of the week was spent recovering, waiting for Rowan and John to get home, and praying that my parents didn't get sick (which by the sheer grace of God they didn't).
Once Rowan got to come home, John was able to hold his daughter for the second time since she was born the previous week, and I was able to finally start enjoying our new family dynamic.
Lily never did get sick thank goodness, although she's been hospitalized with RSV since then (lovingly passed to her by the older siblings). Through it all she's been such an angel. And it doesn't hurt that she's a cuddler. :)
As I write this our three oldest are attempting to sleep off the effects of the current stomach virus making its way around our house (this would be cases 14, 15 and 16). I'm so looking forward to moving on from the winter of the death plague et al. We are seeing the beginnings of Iowa in the Spring - which has been beautiful so far - and I'm anxious for the day when we are all healthy and back outside again. Until then I can confidently say that this winter, more than any other in my life, has taught me that the Lord truly does sustain, without fail. He provides all that we need for whatever task He assigns, no matter how daunting.
Oh and also, if you come to visit us in Iowa in the winter, don't forget your hand sanitizer. :)
|Everybody safely home from the hospital, building the world's ugliest snow man :)|
LILY JEANEANNE DELUCA
Born January 24, 2015