I woke up Thursday morning with baby vomit on my face. I quickly picked up little Luna, who was still projectile vomiting, and held her as the contents in her belly, made their way to the floor. When there was no vomit left, I called my sweetheart (who had just left for work), and told him to turn around, that we needed to take the baby to the hospital. 5 minutes later, we were in the car heading to the hospital.
If this is the first time reading my blog, it is important to understand that we live on an island of 5,000 people.
We made our way into the emergency room “Urgencia”, sat down and waited. There were three old women, all dressed in black also waiting. Wearing all black here has a very different meaning than it does say in New York where wearing all black is stylish and sexy, No, here, it means you are a widow. The old women were obviously friends, they were giving each other a hard time, and chattering loudly nonstop.
Anyways, while we waited, a truck pulled up, and a man in his thirties, opened the truck door, and vomited all over the sidewalk, while managing to keep his cigarette safe and above his head.
When the Dr finally saw us, she was concerned about how large Luna’s belly button had become. My daughter has an umbilical hernia, and while usually harmless; very infrequently, when very large and coupled with projectile vomiting, the hernia needs to be operated on.
The Dr. called the hospital in Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, to ask advice from a pediatrician (only once a month a pediatrician comes to our island of Santa Maria, like I said, only 5,000 people).
They did an x-ray on her hernia. Luna projectile vomited again immediately after.
We waited in our private hospital room to hear the results of the x-ray. Luna vomited again. 2 hours later, the Dr. returned and said we needed to be flown to the bigger island of Sao Miguel, and that Luna would likely need surgery. I was told she could not breastfeed, her stomach needed to be empty for the surgery. Luna screamed as she was hooked up to an IV. Afterwards, we slept a little as we waited for the next flight.
At 6am, the Bombeiros (paramedics) were at our hospital door, ready to transport us to the airplane. The Bombeiros were really nice, and liked good music, so while we waited to get on the plane, I danced with the baby in the back of the ambulance .
The flight was only 15 minutes, and another ambulance was waiting to transport us to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, the Dr told us they wanted to do more tests, because it appeared Luna had a problem in her stomach; in which case, we would need to fly to Lisbon for surgery. However, If it was just a problem with the hernia, the Dr could operate there, in Ponta Delgada. Either way, it felt like a nightmare.
WE WERE SCARED. And Luna was starving.
After waiting for what felt like eternity, we were sent to do an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that Luna did not have a problem with her stomach, and she did not need to have emergency surgery. YEAH!!
After 16 hours without breastfeeding, my baby finally got to eat and my engorged breasts finally got some relief .
With that news, I thought they would send us home. BUT NO. They wanted to keep us for a few days under observation. The Dr was still undecided about the hernia, and was concerned about her vomiting.
We were sent to the Pediatric ward and were informed that only one parent could stay overnight. Visiting hours were from 1pm-8pm, and aside from that, only one person was allowed to stay. WHAT?! Since I am the one with the breasts, obviously, I am the one who stayed. (Thankfully, my sweetheart has an awesome cousin that lives on the island, so he was able to stay with them.)
But that left me alone, in a Portuguese hospital, with my 2 1/2 month old baby.
The first two and a half days, we shared a room with an attractive Portuguese couple and their daughter. We all got along, laughed,and shared stories. It was so nice that we almost forgot we were stuck in a hospital. Luna stopped vomiting. They took her off her IV.
In the mornings my sweetheart would come, and we would switch places. He stayed with the baby, and I would go out drink a ‘Cafe com Leite’ and go on a long walk. The walks felt so good.
The last day in the hospital was hard. We had to switch rooms and say goodbye to our attractive new friends. Our new room was CROWDED and very LOUD.
After adjusting to our new space, I talked to all the mothers in our new room, all of us tired and very stressed. There was a mom in the room who I really liked, we clicked, and I think we will always stay friends.
There was a little boy in our room who is very, very ill with a very severe case of Muscular Dystrophy. He was hooked to many machines, including one that helped him breathe. Seeing him broke my heart. I will be sending him and his family prayers forever.
We spent one night in that new room. It was a very long night, none of us mothers slept..
Yesterday, exhausted to the point where I was starting to feel insane, the Dr told us we were being discharged. We were told that surgery on Luna’s umbilical hernia could wait until she was 4 months old, or possibly longer.
With that, relieved (as if a mountain was taken off my back), we left the hospital, and walked to a nearby garden. The Jardim Jose Do Canto. It was beautiful. We walked slowly,barely spoke, for we could feel the power of nature dissolving all of our stress. There was a tree there that was so magical, I honestly don’t even have the proper words to describe it.
We left the Jardim, walked around, had lunch in the city, and caught a flight back to Santa Maria last night.
I slept good last night. This morning, I woke up, hugged my kids, drank some coffee, and started typing.
Relieved and grateful~Yogini Tiff