Enjoy this one folks, especially you Icey
Sharon had released her hold on Dr. Richardson. She felt grateful that he was still caring for Billy. She moved back as he said “We need to get his bandage replaced. I’m going to give him a short acting sedative now, that should eliminate any pain. Then we’ll take care of getting the dressing changed. Rick, can you lay him down for me so we can get this out of the way?” he asked.
“Sure.” Rick answered. He took Billy over to the crib and laid him gently on his back. When the little boy fussed, Rick picked up Pooh Bear and started dancing him back and forth over Billy’s tummy, saying “Doo da doo da doo da doo.” and in short order Billy was giggling a young toddlers laugh.
April handed a syringe to Peter, and he reached for Billy’s left arm, examined the site to make sure that it looked OK, and injected the medicine into the vein. Within two minutes, Billy was sound asleep. It only took ten minutes to get the old bandage off and another three to put the new one on.
“The incision looks good. It’s starting the first stages of healing.” Peter told them.
“At least something is going right today.” Sharon thought.
“Alright, let him sleep. This should wear off within the hour and I know a little boy that should be very hungry by then.” He told them.
“With the MRI and everything else, I forgot he hadn’t eaten.” Sharon said blushing.
“It’s understandable.” April offered. “This isn’t exactly your average day, after all.” she added.
“You can say that again.” Rick pipe up with a sigh.
“I want to adjust his meds.” Peter told them. “I want to increase his steroid dose. It’s the medicine we’re giving him to combat the inflammation. Raising the dose may slow the regression as well as improve the other symptoms.”.
Sharon looked puzzled and replied “OK…”.
“Right now, he’s at the top of the recommended dose. I want to raise it by half again.” he explained. “There are risks, but given the situation, the risks are negligible.”.
Sharon thought about that. Turning to Rick, she nodded slightly once.
Rick trusted this man’s judgment and because of that said “OK, do it.”.
“I want to warn you, this will increase his anxiety. It’s a side effect of the meds. I can’t give him anything to counteract that, it would make it harder to see where he’s at and would cause problems of it’s own. You’re going to have a difficult day, I’m afraid, trying to comfort him.” Dr. Richardson told them.
“If it will help him, we’ll deal with a cranky baby.” Sharon told him.
Looking to April, Peter said “Get the IV back up. Give him 60mg of Solumedrol over 30 minutes. I’ll go write the order now.”.
Looking to Sharon, he said “I’ll be in to check on him later.” as he moved toward the door.
“You’re not getting away that easily.” Sharon told him, as she caught up with him and gave him a peck on the cheek. “Thank you.” she told him.
“You’re welcome.” he told her with a pat on the shoulder, turned and left the room.
April told Sharon “I’ll be right back.” and left the room.
Standing at the cribside, Sharon looked down at her sleeping little boy. “Rest Baby, rest and heal.” she silently sent her thought to him as she gently caressed his blanket covered tummy.
Rick, moving next to her, asked “Honey, do you think I should go get Becky?”.
Sharon pondered this, and answered “Yes. God forbid…” and then stopped, not wanting to voice her fears.
Giving her a hug, he said “I know, I was thinking the same thing.” not wanting to hear her finish that sentence. “I’ll go get her and be back in a bit.” he told her.
“Stop on the way and feed her. McDonalds should still be open today, she’ll like that.” she advised.
“OK. You want anything?” he asked.
Sharon considered it and said “No. I’m alright, I’ll get April to bring some crackers or something in. My stomach’s not happy with me today.”.
“It’s no wonder.” he responded with concern. Giving her a quick kiss, he said “I’ll be back.”.
Phillis added “I’ll go with you. I need to eat and hospital food just isn’t going to do it for me.” as she patted Sharon on the shoulder and then left with Rick.
Three minutes later, April brought a clear bag of fluid and some tubing in. She had the bag hanging on the pump stand and the tubing connected to Billy’s IV in short order. “He’s not gonna be a happy camper when he wakes up.” she said. “He’ll be anxious and hungry. I’ll go get something for him to eat.” She told Sharon. As she reached the doorway, she stopped , turned and asked “Do you want me to bring him a highchair?”.
Sharon didn’t even need to think about this. “Please, and a bib. He’s not going to be able to feed himself.” she answered.
“OK.” April told her with a smile before leaving Billy’s room.
Forty five minutes later, a fussy Billy sat in the highchair, a bib spattered with oatmeal around his neck, and half his face covered with the brownish gray paste. Sharon was getting frustrated. While the bowl was more than half empty, very little had made it’s way into Billy.
April, seeing this wasn’t working, told her “I’ll be back with something better.” and quickly left the room.
Sharon wiped Billy’s face clean with a wet washcloth, despite his crying. “I know Baby, I know.” was all she could offer him. She removed his bib, removed the highchair tray, and picked him up. Offering him his binky, she brought him to the rocker and sat down trying to console this upset baby boy.
April was back in a minute holding a bottle with a cream colored fluid in it. Handing it to Sharon, she said “It’s Pediasure, kind of like a formula for kids.”.
Sharon removed his binky and offered the bottle to Billy and he settled down nursing. “There you go Baby, I bet that feels better.” she told him softly as she patted his bottom as he hungrily drank.
April smiled as Billy settled down. “I think it would be better if we stuck to bottles for now, what do you think?” she asked Sharon.
“I agree, I don’t think he’s managing the food well. The medicine is just making him so anxious he can’t sit still long enough to get any in him. Also, I don’t think he wants to be anywhere but in someones lap right now.” she answered.
“By the looks of it, that someone would most definitely be you.” she said smiling.
“Yeah, I kind of expected that.” Sharon responded.
“OK, call me if you need anything, I need to chart on this little boy.”.
“I will.” Sharon told her with a grateful smile.
April had gotten Billy’s chart, gone to the video surveillance room and sat down in front of monitor 8. She was entering details of the morning’s events, making note of the changes that had taken place.
Occasionally she would look up and see Billy fussing, refusing his bottle and his binky, and then two seconds later taking one or the other. “I really feel for him.” she thought, knowing his anxiety level wouldn’t get better until the Solumedrol dose was lowered. On the fifth or sixth time she had glanced up, between charting, admiring Sharon’s resourcefulness, she saw something that hadn’t even occurred to her, thinking “Why didn’t I think of that.”. Getting another idea, she quickly left the room on her way out of the PICU.
Ten minutes after April left the room, Sharon was almost beside herself. Nothing she tried would console Billy. She had tried distracting him with Pooh Bear, rocking him in her arms, singing to him, everything she could think of. He would take his bottle for a second or two and then spit the nipple out, awkwardly pushing it away with his hand. Three seconds later, crying, he would take the nipple again and nurse.
After the third time he knocked the bottle out of her hand, she leaned forward to pick it up and he turned his head toward her chest, the second he felt her shirt brush his cheek. She sat back and wondered. Using her finger, she gently brushed his other cheek and he turned toward her finger seeking it with his mouth. “He’s trying to nurse!” she thought perplexed.
Dismissing it, she offered him the bottle again. He took it for several seconds and again spit it out, crying. The thought of nursing him at her breast crossed her mind. “I can’t do that! He’s nine for crying out loud!” she thought as the idea repulsed her and her cheeks flushed, embarrassed that the thought had even occurred to her.
After several more fruitless attempts to console him, she began to consider the idea seriously. “My God, they would think I’m demented.” she thought. The more frustrated the baby got, the less she was concerned about that though.
Finally, after a few more minutes of thinking about it as Billy started really crying, she made up her mind. Reaching over, she pulled the curtain that offered privacy from the glass wall, glanced at the camera for a second, and dismissed it. Lifting the hem of her shirt up, she lifted the bottom of her bra up over her left breast and, shifting Billy over on his side facing her, brushed her nipple against his cheek.
Billy, feeling the nipple, turned his head while opening his mouth. Sharon leaned forward just as he turned, filling his open mouth. He instantly started nursing. Thinking she had been foolish and that he would pull away and start crying again, she was surprised when a minute later, he was still quietly nursing, his little hand balled up and resting on her bare breast inches from his mouth. She felt his tension lower more and more, the longer he spent nursing at her breast. It was still there, but not near as much.
Dejavu struck her. She had been here before with this little boy. He had gotten sick when he was a year old. He was inconsolable then, like he had been a moment ago. The only way she could comfort him was by nursing him, and it was helping now.
She had no idea what she would tell Rick, or anyone else for that matter. At that moment though, she didn’t care. Her baby was not crying fitfully, looking for comfort. He’d inadvertently shown her how to comfort him.
She wasn’t sure if it was the fact that he was finally calming down, or the oneness that came with his being so close to her, suckling, that made her feel less stressed.
Memories of breastfeeding this little boy flashed back to her. She had been thankful that she was able to breastfeed him until he was a year old. He had never had infant formula. She had been sad when she had to wean him, as she missed the wonderful closeness she felt when he was nursing. The thought of being able to give him what he needed from her body was wonderful.
She was brought back from her memories as he shifted a little to get more comfortable. She felt herself daring to wish she could give him milk now. “Don’t be ridiculous Sharon!” she chastised herself silently, “That’s not possible.” she told herself.
Sharon’s musing was interrupted by Phillis coming around the curtain. The look of surprise on her mom’s face was the straw that broke the camel’s back. After all the stress of everything that had happened in the last day and a half, Sharon broke.
Her face turned bright red, and tears filled her eyes as she began to try to explain. “I…I didn’t know what else to do…He was crying and kept refusing the bottle…” she told her mom as she cried quietly, trying not to disturb Billy. “I couldn’t figure out how to comfort him…” moving to break Billy’s seal on her nipple, showing a guilty expression.
Phillis regretted letting her surprise show the moment she saw her daughter’s reaction. Moving quickly to keep her from disturbing Billy’s nursing by taking Sharon’s hand in hers, she said “Hey, hey, it’s OK. I’m proud of you. You found a way to comfort him that I would never have thought of.”.
“Nor would I, and don’t you dare stop nursing him.” April said as she moved into the room. She came toward Sharon with a bag of what looked to be the same as what was in his bottle, a length of tubing, and a piece of white tape.
“Lean forward for me.” April said as she reached out with what looked like a cloth strap.
Sharon leaned forward and April dropped the strap over her head and proceeded to attach the bag to it so it hung just above her exposed breast, and told Sharon “take your nipple from him for a sec.”.
Reaching down, Sharon pressed on her breast just outside Billy’s mouth and the seal broke, allowing her to pull her nipple from his mouth by sitting back a bit. April then held the tubing so that the end was right at the end of her nipple, taped it down to her breast just above the nipple, and attached the other end of the tube to the bag hanging from her neck.
“OK, let him nurse now.” April instructed.
Sharon, not sure what this was all about, seeing Billy turning his head, looking for her breast, leaned forward and put her nipple in his mouth. Billy instantly began nursing, completely oblivious to the narrow tube. She looked at April with a puzzled expression.
“We use this setup to allow adoptive mothers to feed their newborn babies at the breast. They provide the breast, the tube provides the nutrition.” April explained.
Sharon was blushing. She had no idea how to explain why she chose to nurse her nine year old son. All she knew is it worked.
“You listen to me, no, he’s just a baby.” reading her thoughts. “If I was sitting where you are, holding my child, not certain of the future, I would not give a damn about what anyone thought about how I chose to comfort him. Sharon, you nurse that baby, you hold him close, and cherish that bond. We only get one shot at this life, follow your heart, and you’ll do fine.” she finished.
Sharon reached out and gripped Aprils hand saying tearfully “Thank you.”
She smiled, as she looked down at her baby boy, still nursing at her breast. Gently rubbing his back with one hand, patting his diaper with the other, she leaned her head down, and kissed him gently on his cheek, whispering “I love you Baby, Mommy loves you so much.”