If you follow Ailana J. on Instagram, you probably saw that my 22-month old son, Mason, was in the hospital most of last week. He was having some major breathing issues, which the hospital called acute respiratory failure – if that doesn’t scare the you-know-what out of any mama or parent, I don’t know what does.
The good news is we live down the street from an amazing children’s hospital and he’s been doing well at home the last couple of days. But, last night over dinner, my husband asked me what my biggest learnings were from our week in the hospital with Mason. And, while I sincerely hope none of you ever have to experience what we experienced, I realized that my biggest takeaways from the week actually apply to quite a lot of mom life things. So I want to share with you the top 3 things I learned from my sweet babe’s hospital stay:
- NO ONE KNOWS YOUR BABY BETTER THAN YOU. If you think something isn’t right, it probably isn’t. Message your pediatrician. Call the nurse line. Take them to urgent care or the ER. And, when it comes to your baby’s care, be their advocate and go against the grain if that is what you feel is right. Now, I am NOT saying to go against medical advice. My medical education only comes from Grey’s Anatomy and Google. BUT ask the questions! Do research and get educated as best you can. Tell the doctors and nurses what your concerns are. Some things ARE up to you! And not everything is necessarily medically related. Even something as small as us asking if my husband could carry Mason up to his hospital room from the ER instead of the nurse pushing him in a wheelchair made a huge difference. We knew that it would help keep him more calm if he was held – he was already so furious after every poke, prod, and treatment given to him in the ER. And, when we got to his room, they wanted to put him in a metal crib that reminded me of an animal cage. Even though it was against “protocol” because of his age, we asked if he could have a big kid bed. He needed all the cuddles and snuggles from mom and dad that he could get. We also wanted him to feel as comfortable as possible in this uncomfortable, scary environment. This also made a world of difference in our overall experience.
- IT IS OKAY TO ACCEPT HELP. I pretty much already knew this about myself, but it really became glaringly apparent during this week in the hospital that I am bad at asking for help. Thankfully, I have some wonderful people in my life who made offers to help with specific things or just spontaneously sent some form of help without waiting for me to ask them. And every gesture of wanting to help meant the WORLD to us and was so amazing, but I did find it SO hard to ask for it myself. I never want to inconvenience anyone or be a burden to anyone. I am very independent and always try to figure things out for myself before relying on anyone else. But sometimes it is OKAY to rely on your village –that is what they are there for. It also made me realize that I want to personally do more spontaneous, unsolicited forms of assistance whenever my friends or family may be in a time of need!
- CHILDREN ARE RESILIENT. Kiddos heal at a totally different pace than adults, and it totally caught my husband and I off guard. They get sicker, but they also get better faster. And the road the recovery can be quite the roller coaster – very often, kids will get a little better before they get much worse and then recover. There were a lot of ups and downs during Mason’s hospital stay, all of which the doctors and nurses told us was super common and totally normal. It can be pretty scary and alarming if you aren’t prepared for that roller coaster ride which we were not.