Thursday, 12 January 2012

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore Toto

No mother likes to hear her baby cry. I read once, that the babies cry was 'designed' to cause discomfort to his/her parents, so that babies needs were met. When Max was born, I was totally floored by the anxiety that his crying evoked in me. Nifty little trick there 'Mr Evolution'.

Though, one time I just had to pause for a moment and take this photo

When Max had his immunizations, he cried and then I cried because he cried.

Now that he's older, I can handle the sobs, the grizzles and fake-out cry. But the one cry, that still makes me anxious as hell is the "I'm in pain mummy, makeitstop NOW" cry. Max is doing a LOT of teething lately and there's been lots of pain cries. Pain cries, that put giant chinks in mummy's armour.

There's been no shortage of pain related cries in Max's life. I could write a whole post about the things he's been through, that I'd rather forget. But, dedicating an entire post to that would be kinda depressing. Instead, I
want to, need to, talk about one particular moment.

June 2nd, 2011, Max and I arrived at the Hospital. By the time we arrived, he was unconscious, floppy and barely breathing. Yet, I was strangely calm. When the nurse, called in the 'resus' team, I totally believed her, when she said "we always do that".

Have you ever seen those cartoons where, a tiny car pulls up and a gazillion clowns tumble out? That's the best way that I can describe the scene that followed. Nurses and doctors came running from every direction. They stripped off his clothes and he didn't cry. He always cried when he was undressed. I honestly thought, 'he'll wake up soon, giggle and we'll go home'.

Nurses/Doctors kept running to me, asking various questions and then scampering off again. Then a nurse gave me a glass of water, patted my back and stood with me. She was the Unit Manager of the E.D. My initial thought was 'oh crap, this is serious. Unit Managers don't give out glasses of water, unless it's serious. That thought was quickly replaced by 'The Children's Hospital has better funding, so the Unit Managers have more time to dish out water'.

When I was told "he'll be in at least overnight", "intubated" and "intensive care". I thought 'gee, they sure do overreact around here'.

Then, they told me that they were struggling to get IV access & needed to insert an Intraosseous line. An IO is a line that goes directly into the bone marrow (Anyone interested in learning more, can read about it here

They told me that maybe I should leave the room, as it could be distressing for parents. I wanted to stay (how bad could it be? FFS, I'm a nurse). They assured me that he was sedated and wouldn't feel a thing. Meanwhile
calm,, deluded mummy thought "wow, there's so much I don't know about pediatrics".

And then, it happened. What has now become definitively, the most horrible moment of my life. A drill, (sort of like a dentists drill), went straight into his shin. The piercing, shrill cry of my baby in so much pain that I couldn't begin to understand. The shrill cries that were muffled by the oxygen mask, covering half his face.

There's not a single word in the English language to describe the pain I felt at that moment. Alone, in a room totally full of people. Powerless and afraid. The reason, I still fear the 'pain cry'. The moment I realized life was about to become a whole lot different. We weren't in Kansas anymore.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. I've only recently started reading your blog, and just wanted you to know that there are strangers to you out there who think of you and wish you and your son well. As a new mum of a 4 month old boy, I can't even imagine how you felt when your baby cried in pain, but the thought of someone going through what you and your boy have been through really makes me want to cry. I get that you would feel such a range of emotions from anger to frustration to angst to fatigue to sheer pain. Your little boy is so beautiful.
    Maz, Melbourne

  2. Thank you Marnie. It really does mean a lot to know this. I read every comment that people write and have every good intention of writing back, but more often then not, I don't. Because I'm so appreciative of everyone's support and all I can ever say is 'thank you'. And that never seems enough.
    So......'thank you' xxx

  3. I thought of you today as Rory is 10 weeks today. I can barely read your blogs, they are scary, I never want to know what happens next :(. As I'm normally on the other side, comforting the parent or assissting in the IO, it's very grounding (is that the right word?) to hear it from the parents perspective. Bloody terrifying.
    Well done and go Super Max.