The hospital stay was necessary for Atia's health, but it was exhausting for me. Since Atia was neutrapenic, having almost no immune system, we were in isolation. Per hospital regulations, no visitors were allowed.
I never left Atia's side. I was with her day and night.
Steve was there as much as he could be too. He spent the weekends with us; however during the week, he had to go to work. He barely got any sleep. He'd stay late into the night, then drive home, sleep a few hours and get up and go to work the next day. It was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting; a sheer test of willpower.
Though for me and Atia, his visits were critical and the highlight of our day. His presence broke the monotony; he was like a breath of fresh air! We were always so excited when he walked through the door. He gave Atia someone new to play and cuddle with; someone other than me.
Atia was bedridden and spent a lot of time sleeping. Since I was bored out of my mind, pregnant and highly stressed, I found myself excessively tired too. When we weren't doing flashcards, watching DVDs, playing with puzzles, etc. we were sleeping.
I shared a bed with Atia. She wasn't used to sleeping alone in a "big girl bed." Up to that point she'd never slept in anything other than a crib. Of course, the hospital had cribs, but Atia wanted to "sleep with Mommy", especially because of the nights.
They should have been a time for peace and respite from the day's events...or nonevents and boredom. Instead, the nigths were a bit frightening for Atia. Several times she was jolted from a peaceful sleep with a vision of a dark figure looming over her... just the nurse. Time to take Atia's temperature, check blood pressure, replace drip bags, unhook and hook up new IV lines, etc.
Startled and disoriented, Atia would call out and frantically reach for me in the dark. She got so scared. Once I assured her I was there and it was only the nurse, she relaxed and went back to sleep. I understood her fear; it freaked me out sometimes, too.
But I was SQUISHED, I was soooo squished!
I was 36 weeks pregnant and sharing a twin hospital bed with a 2 year old. Needless to say, it wasn't the most comfortable place I'd ever slept! The logistics, in and of themselves, were comical. Atia had to sleep on the left side of the bed because she was hooked up to IVs and monitors on the left. I had to lie on my left side because I was pregnant. I had to have at least 6 pillows supporting various parts of my body, not to mention to add padding to the bed's rails which I was pinned against.
Getting ready for bed could be likened to putting a puzzle together. Atia, the pillows, the IV lines, and I had to fit together perfectly in order for it to work!
After eight exhausting days, Atia's blood counts were back up and she was considered "strong enough" to be released. That was Sunday, October 4, 2009.
In my personal journal, I wrote about how excited and relieved we were to be released,
Atia and I were so happy to be out of the hospital that the car ride home was one of the best we'd ever had. We were totally rockin' it out to her children's songs - dancing and singing. It was hilarious. You'd think we had just been release from prison after serving a 10 year sentence. When we got home, Atia immediately requested "mac 'n cheese" (her new favorite). We ate and daddy took Atia downstairs to play. I, without delay, filled the tub and took a bath. I was so exhausted that I actually fell asleep. I've never done that before. When I awoke, I moved myself from the tub to the bed and slept for 2 hours. It was the best nap I'd ever had.
I think the stress and exhaustion surrounding Atia's illness finally caught up with me.
I couldn't believe what happened five days later...