I couldn't understand. She had improved. Everything in me said she was getting better - her rash was gone, the temperature spikes were getting further apart, she seemed more herself. My motherly instincts said she was starting to get better, and yet their stats said otherwise; her CRP levels were still increasing, her temperature still spiking. They agreed that the next time her temperature spiked above 38, they would do another blood culture.
I prayed and hoped that her temperature wouldn't spike. I couldn't bear the thought of any more needles being stuck into our baby girl. Her temperature sat, unwaveringly, at 37.9 all morning. I was on total tenderhooks.
After Dave and Ava left, they checked her temperature again. 38.1.
I was devastated.
She had just fallen asleep. After falling asleep and being repeatedly awoken by the pump which kept bleeping "Line occlusion" as her antibiotics were pumped around her little body, she was wrecked. I had had to work hard to get her off to sleep. She was overtired and shattered.
Not only did they want to stick more needles into Heidi. They wanted to do it now. And that meant waking her up.
When the Doctor came into the room, I broke down. Sobbing out some garble about how I didn't understand... that she had improved... that I didn't trust the tempadots (thermometers) they used... that I had just got her off to sleep and how was she supposed to get better when she couldn't rest. The Doctor was very patient with me and went through everything. I didn't like what she was saying... it went against every protective motherly instinct bone in my body. But I knew she was right.
Her bleeper bleeped and she was momentarily called out. I stood over Heidi's cot and stroked her head, crying my apology that I couldn't protect her from this, that I couldn't stop the pain, that I couldn't tell them to leave her alone. It hurt so bad.
I left the room and went down to the parent's room and sat. I called Dave in tears. I just needed someone to distract me. A few moments later my friend Kate arrived, and shortly after, my sister. It was so good just to have someone to talk to. Mercifully, the bloods were done quickly and Heidi was fairly calm.
Over the afternoon I have had a string of visitors. Exactly what I needed. Being on my own leaves me with my thoughts, and God has so used the encouragement of all of you to keep me strong. Heidi's temperature stayed down for the afternoon, but I have learned not to cling to each good thermometer reading with too much hope. It only makes the disappointment greater.
Ava and Dave arrived again around 3pm, we headed down to the playroom while the nurses watched Heidi. It was good to get out. While we were there, I heard the Doctor on the phone outside.
"That's wonderful news!" she said.
I so wished that the Doctor would say that about us. I longed for those words so much!
Within seconds she was by my side... "That was the Royal Brompton with your results..."
At long last, some good news. The CRP count was coming down at last. That meant, at long last, we had some hard and fast evidence that my motherly instinct was right. Heidi was improving. Her little body was no longer having to work hard at fighting off the illness. She told me the temperature should follow.
I asked her if I could hug her.
I have smiled for the rest of the afternoon and evening. The facts say my baby girl is getting better. I don't care how many more nights we have to stay here... as long as she's improving, I don't care. I am so very grateful. There is hope again. The bleak, confusing cloud of the last few days is showing a glimmer of sunshine through it.
As one of my favourite hymns says...
You fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds that you now dread
Are rich with mercy, and will break
With blessings on your head.
So God, we trust in you
So God, we trust in you
When fears are great, and comforts few
We hope in mercies ever new
We trust in you.