January 14, 2011

Crappy News

Okay, so that was a bad attempt at some humor during a pretty stressful time. Annabelle was admitted to the hospital yesterday (Thursday, January 13th) due to sever constipation, coupled with diarrhea. We have been battling this for what seems like 3-4 weeks now and I am so thankful we are finally getting some answers and finally making progress.

I have been talking with her pediatricians for several weeks about the diarrhea and what seemed like an extreme slow down in solid stool. Everyone attributed it to one thing or another - first it was a side effect of her ear infection, then it was a side effect of the antibiotic given for the infection. My heart told me different. I was noticing an increase in her belly size and a decrease in the already very little amounts of food she ate. I brought this up but after 2 exams everyone still felt that although there was some small amounts of stool in there it didn't feel hard or obstructed and to just continue as I was doing. Well this was wrong advice and sadly a wrong diagnosis.

After 3 days of being off the antibiotic and still no regular stool I called and asked for an abdominal x-ray. The Dr. had just saw her the day before so I felt nervous asking for this procedure but knew it was what needed to be done. She agreed with out hesitation. We are blessed to have pediatrician who trusts me and knows that I don't overreact. She knows that I am the primary care giver and that I know my daughter better than anyone. We were getting the x-ray performed in less than an hour.

You may (or may not) be wondering how I even knew to ask for the x-ray. Well that's the cool part. Although I never asked to part of this amazing community, I am, and honestly I couldn't be luckier. Through technology, I am surrounded and supported by wonderful mothers (and some fathers) whose children have Spina Bifida just like Annabelle. They know exactly what I am going through because they have been there. They understand and share in my deepest sorrows as well as celebrate our amazing joys. This community shares - they share their knowledge, their resources and their courage. So when I noticed (on FaceBook - yeah for FB) that anther family was having similar issues - slow weight gain, chronic diarrhea, etc... I reached out to her. She didn't just respond, she partnered with me to see how she could help Annabelle. She outlined for me in detail all that they had been going through and all the steps/tests along the way that got them to where they were now. She mailed me (good old snail mail) literature on high calorie diets. That is how I knew what to ask for - that is how I had the courage to ask for a procedure that had never crossed my mind for the several weeks leading up to where we are today. Thank you Lisa M for all of your help. I pray that Evan continues to make awesome progress and that Annabelle will follow his lead.

Okay, so we got the x-ray and low and behold our girl is packed with poop! The pediatrician and the GI. Dr. conferred and the decision was for us to up her Lactalose (poo poo medicine) from once a day to 3x a day and to perform a Fleet enema and they would call me in the morning. Well, we did those things and saw very, very little change. It was pretty discouraging since that seemed like our best bet to keep Annabelle out of the hospital for a total clean out. When Annabelle woke on Thursday morning she was in visible pain. She was bearing down trying to poop (which she never does) and she was unwilling to eat or drink. Then came the vomit - big nasty, smelly vomit. Boy do I hate vomit! Things got a little intense at this point and it because clear that more intervention was needed. The GI Dr. was able to get us in at lunch time and in light of the fullness of her belly, his and our inability to get any poop out and her newly developed fever (101.8) he felt he needed to admit her for full testing and a total clean out. Although very disappointed (yes, I cried) I knew this was the best and safest decision for Annabelle. However, when you have 3 kids and you have to be at the hospital with one of them, that means two will be left behind. This part is very hard for me. I feel bad not being there for the boys. I am their mom and I am responsible for them. This goodbye was especially hard for me. Benjamin had been such a good boy all morning. When I was attending to Annabelle's needs (poop, throw up, etc.) he just played quietly and didn't get in the way. He could have whined and tried to get the attention on him - he didn't. He was a true angel!

Check in was extremely smooth. Our Dr. actually called and pre-admitted us and the hospital called me at home when Annabelle's room was ready. I was able to go home, get packed up and get the boys situated. We avoided the whole ER scene and that was AWESOME! Once we got here it hasn't been so awesome though. Don't get me wrong, the nursing staff has been great and we are actually in a private room. They call it "isolation" but I call it PRIVATE!!! I was told that because she is being tested for a poop infection that her orders came over that she was to be isolated. No complaints here.

She has had the following procedures performed in the first 5 hours here:

vital signs taken
catheterized for a urine sample
blood drawn
nose swabbed for infection
poop tested for infection
IV started - receiving fluids and medicine
NG tube put down her nose to start the medicine that will "clean her out"

And through all of this she is unable to eat or nurse. It is so difficult to see her so uncomfortable and not be able to do anything for her. I just continue to focus on the fact that relief should be on the way soon.

Here she is getting a surprise visit from Emi, her physical therapist. Although Annabelle wasn't feeling well she was very happy to see Emi. She showed Emi her happiness with a smile, kiss and a wave. She is such a sweetie!

This girl LOVES her daddy!

Unsuccessfully trying to get comfortable.

She wasn't interested in sleeping in her bed so we both slept in the chair bed for the majority of the night. I think I need a neck massage to say the least!

There is no question the medicine is working because A LOT for poop is coming out. This is truly the grossest thing I have ever experienced. We are hopeful to have more answers by midday on Friday. I will update as time permits.

As always, thank you for your continued prayers for our family. Specifically, If I may ask that you please pray for comfort and healing for Annabelle, love and understanding for the boys and strength for Branden and I. Thank you to all of those that already expressed your love and support on Facebook.

*this was a super long post and I am exhausted so no proof reading is happening this morning :-). Thanks for understanding!


  1. I am so sorry to hear Annabelle is stuck in the hospital (along with you). I hope they get things cleared up soon, so you can go home to your boys!

  2. Oh Nicole! I don't know if you remember me from St. Cyprian's (Carolyn Neary) but Mingie and I got reconnected on FB. So now I get to follow your story too. First off, Annabelle is PRECIOUS!! And you are such an awesome Mom...I can so tell just from your postings. I am so glad to hear that progress is being made although it is hard to watch your baby go through such pain (and stinky poop!). I am a RN myself and that Lactulose creates SUCH A MESS...I totally understand your gross out. I always try to get my patients out of the ER and to their room before the Lactulose takes effect!
    Anyway, know that you have a world of support behind you and even though I live in Texas, I will be thinking about you and your beautiful family. Hang in there mama!

  3. Thank goodness for diapers when that poop starts a coming!!! Praying for you guys!

  4. Oh poor Belle...I am so sorry Nicole. Thank God you trusted your insticts! I know this must be so hard on all of you. You guys have spent way too much time in hospitals, and I'm praying that this year will be different. hugs and continued prayers...

  5. Nicole,
    You are a awsome mom and Brandon a Amazing Father . We keep you all in our hearts and prayers. We are not close but were always theirin spirit! If you need anything we are always here. The boys are great kids from what I hear and your family is the best family when it comes to love and support so I know you and the boys are all in the Best hands! Your mom is great and so is your Father! The Lord has blessed you and keeps you all safe !

  6. May God bless you mommy, and may your sweet girl be comfortable, get clean, and back to healthy. God bless dad and the boys at home. Be there with each one and walk with them, covering every detail and lifting every burden. (from a sister you've never met...but someone who cares.)

  7. am sooo sorry you guys are going through this, hope you are both home soooo soon!!!!

  8. I am popping over from Lilly and the Brothers and I just wanted to know that we will be thinking of you guys and your stuggles.

  9. Aww I'm so sorry to hear about your precious Annabelle! Hoping she is doing better today and you got the answers you are looking for. Lots of prayers and hope you both come home soon!

  10. Just caught up...so sorry about all of this, glad you have good mommy instincts though!
    Miss you tomorrow!

  11. Oh, bless her little heart! I'm so sorry and will be praying.

  12. Glad you guys are where you need to be - even if it is the hospital :( Hopefully things will 'work their way out' very, very soon!
    You have great instincts!
    Thinking of you and that you'll all be home and feeling better soon!