Updated: Apr 29
When my second daughter was only ten days old, my daughter had to be hospitalized for ten days. Her umbilical cord detached too early and she developed an infection, #omphalitis. At her wellness check up I bought it to the pediatrician's attention (he had completely skipped over it). It took him getting a second and third opinion from two different attending doctors. I was told my daughter had to be admitted to the hospital immediately. The signs of incompetency came in hard and swift. I wish we would've left then. I know now, I had the right to refuse treatment and seek it else where.
I know now even after my daughter was admitted I could have left to go to another hospital. But because of the doctor's fear tactics, we suffered, for ten days. Let me go back... Initially, the doctors told me that the severity of the infection would dictate how long my daughter would have to be hospitalized. But with every shift change, and every new doctor to enter our hospital room; my daughter's hospital stay got longer and longer... Rightfully so, surrounded by our support system, we demanded answers and inquired about having her moved to another hospital. Our concerns were met by misinformed medical students, doctors with no bed side manner, and feelings of hopelessness. I couldn't even walk my daughter around the room to comfort her because she was attached to an IV. In the process of this, my 2 year old had to stay with family, as my husband and I alternated shifts staying at the hospital. My oldest daughter had never been away from us for longer than a couple of days. In fact, we even missed out on her birthday because of all the trouble surrounding her sister. But I was too afraid to leave her alone with the incompetent staff. I didn't leave my daughter's side, not even to shower, not even when they suggested I should. Finally, on day four of my daughter's hospital stay, and after requesting the patient advocate (did you know this was a thing?), we got some accurate information about my daughter's condition and how long she would have to stay. It turns out, because my daughter was so young she could only receive antibiotics to treat the omphalitis via her IV, and that the antibiotics had to be administered over the course of 10 days. That's right, my daughter had to be hospitalized for the same amount of time she had been on this Earth. Even though we had a day, an end goal in sight it didn't make it any easier. I had to watch as medical students poked and prodded my daughter before they would bring in a specialist to find her vein and be able to attach the IV. Because these "doctors" struggled to find her veins, it disrupted her antibiotic schedule and they tried to keep us in the hospital for additional days. It took my husband losing his cool before they presented us with an alternative option: adjust the schedule. Seems so simple right? Hardly. During our stay, I was pumping to feed my daughter. I had to fight with nurses to have the excess milk frozen because the freezer was on the floor below us. This was my second time breastfeeding my child, yet the nurses argued with me over the color of the milk and it's viability Overall, I'm still traumatized by our experience. I worry more about my youngest daughter, especially now during this COVID-19 pandemic. I worry if she is immuno-compromised because of her contracting such a major infection before her immune system was even fully developed. This is why you need a postpartum doula. For fear of being an 'angry Black woman' I know, subconsciously I didn't fight as hard as I could have for my daughter. I didn't have the all facts and couldn't understand all the information the doctors were giving us once we finally had a competent one. I wished I had someone there as I was softly crying my eyes out while my daughter slept in the cage of a hospital bed. I just wish, even with my family around, I had a little more support.