While I completely understand that the ER and PICU staff were trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities… I have some issues with our visit.
We took Tau to the ER because she was most likely diabetic and needed to be evaluated for DKA. DKA is AKA ( I couldn’t resist!) diabetic ketoacidosis. In a nutshell a healthy body makes insulin. Insulin helps sugar (energy) enter cells. If there is too little insulin the body will burn fat as an alternative fuel and the process produces ketones. Ketones are toxic acids and begin to pollute the blood. NOT good! Without treatment it can be fatal. The ER needed to do blood tests to get a diagnosis and see how bad the damage was to her body. He tried the left hand and got nothing. He tried the right hand and got 5 of the 7 samples he needed before the line stopped giving blood. All this time the nurse said I cannot breastfeed her because it could harm her. Tau only nurses for comfort at this point. I tried to tell them that I had already fed Zeta on that side and she wouldn’t get much but it would provide her huge comfort and probably keep her more still. Still a no-go.
Then the phlebotomist came in. Tau without a doubt would need an IV line for fluids, meds, etc. No complaints there. So I ask him if I can nurse her while he puts it in. “No problem go right ahead!” 20 seconds later with barely more than a whine from Tau they have a central line! Score!
About 90 mins later we move up to PICU. Here come the next two problems…
1) It is against their policy to let siblings stay in the same room. Ummm…. wtf am I supposed to do with Zeta then? I explain that I can’t leave the baby because he is exclusively breastfed (ebf) and I am NOT leaving my daughter under any circumstances. Their solution? Does he take a bottle? Can’t you just send him home? #$@!&%$#@! Are you kidding me? I don’t know if he’ll take a bottle; he’s never had to and now is not the time to find out! And am I just supposed to dial up my boobs to send him home with a fresh pumped quart?! So I asked if it was “against policy” for me to sit in the waiting room with him all night? She said I could stay in the waiting room for as long as I needed. In the end, Zeta and I slept in Tau’s PICU room all night and nobody cared or at least nobody said anything more about it.
2) They explained once we *settled* the rooming in problem that they needed to put in a second IV line: one for fluids, one for blood draws. That way they wouldn’t have to keep disconnecting her fluids/meds to draw blood for labs. Unfortunate, but understandable. I tried to politely yet firmly say that while they put in the second line she needs to be on the boob for comfort. Yeah, that didn’t go over well at all. The nurses all say no way. “She could drink too much and further hurt herself. Too much risk.” I explain ( a little less politely) that she will get next to nothing out of the boob and she really really needs to soothe right now And as her parents it is our right whether or not to accept the risk for our child. They still won’t budge. But neither will I. Finally I say it’s either boob during the IV or no second IV period! Take it or leave it. At this point I am crying, our immediate family is rip shit with the nurses and Tau is so terrified she is screaming and biting me as I tried to hold her. Finally the Dr. comes back in and says that her last labs showed some improvement on the fluids and insulin drip and they will ALLOW me to nurse her this ONE time. Oh, honey you don’t know me >:-o In the end, a full 45 mins later, I nursed Tau for 15 seconds while they put the second IV in her foot. She went from hysterical to limp and relaxed and no doubt exhausted while they put it in. And I made it a point to remind them that we could have had the line in 40 mins ago and that they also need to consider their patients emotional health. The Dr. Later came in and apologized for the drama and the rest of our stay was *surprisingly* uneventful… Until we went to pediatrics.