Trusted My Instincts

| October 13, 2010 | Comments (3)

Riley-Children-HospitalIt was a late summer day in 2009. My three-year-old son, Jonah, was napping in his bed upstairs and my five-month-old baby girl, Lily, had finally fallen asleep. I had laid her down on the living room floor since she has serious separation anxiety mixed in with a tendency to not nap more than 20 minutes at a time and proceeded to tidy up the room around her. About 20 minutes went by, and I looked over and I could tell she was sweating. Even the hair on her forehead was wet. Which was odd because she was sleeping on her back and it wasn’t hot in our house at all since the air conditioning was taking care of that.

I found our temporal artery thermometer and took her temp. It was 103.5! I freaked out and called the pediatricians office right away. Luckily, Lily’s doctor called me back within a few minutes and went over a few things with me.

“No. She doesn’t have any other symptoms.”

“No. She hasn’t been acting out of the ordinary.”

The doctor concluded that any time there is an unexplained fever in a baby of Lily’s age, they like to test their urine, to rule in/out the possibility of a Urinary Tract Infection. We were to bring her in the following day for that test.

And we did.

They had to insert a catheter in order to retrieve the urine. It was the single most painful thing I have ever had to go through with my children. It took her what felt like hours but really, was around 8-10 minutes to get the catheter to work.

Lily screamed.

I cried.

The doctor  was inexperienced in these sort of tests, making it difficult to do it quickly and effectively. But in the end, it was confirmed. She had a UTI. And when baby’s have UTI’s,  it is extremely likely that there is an underlying condition, called vesicoureteral reflux. She needed more tests done. And soon, to prevent any further damage than she may and probably already had endured.

Our pediatrician recommended we go to the local hospital to get these tests done. But you see, after the tests in the pediatrician’s office, I wasn’t about to go to a local hospital, where they perform most of these tests on grown adults. My instincts kicked in, and the moment I got home, I started researching. I found that we lived only a few hours away from Riley Children’s Hospital, and they are 3rd in the nation for Pediatric Urology. I called and made the appointments. Then I called our pediatrician’s office to inform them that we would be going to Riley. They obliged and told us that we would be seeing one of the best doctors at one of the best hospital’s in the country. I told them I already knew that.

But my question was, why didn’t they tell me that originally? Why did I have to do all the research and legwork myself? Shouldn’t they have suggested that?

We went to Riley. The condition was confirmed. And we caught it early enough to prevent any kidney damage that it could have caused if it had been left untreated. And Lily is now on daily preventative antibiotics until she can be retested again (at Riley) after she turns 2. We were lucky to have caught it this early, and yes, I owe it to our pediatrician who made the call to get her tested. Yes, we probably would have gotten the same results if we went to our local hospital. Though the overall experience of taking her to a specialized children’s hospital, with nurses and  technicians who could have done these tests in their sleep (and insert catheter’s in five seconds flat!) was reassuring.

At Riley, a doctor spent lengthy amounts of time, explaining every detail and answering every question and even talking quietly enough so sleeping Lily didn’t wake up. Overall, the doctors genuinely cared and loved their job sand made us feel like a priority. I know they see things far worse than what Lily’s condition is, but never once did I feel like we were any less important.

When I looked back on Lily’s life before that scary fever, there were so many signs I should have seen as red flags. The crying. The fussiness. The crying. And more crying. My poor baby was in pain, likely from birth, and no one knew. Everyone, myself included, chalked it up to “being a baby” and since no fevers were present, no one, including myself, thought it through any further. I should have known better.

But I am glad I knew better when it came to the hospital I wanted to take Lily to. I’m glad I trusted my gut and my instincts. And I am glad that that amazing hospital is so close by.

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Category: Chicago

About Jen Matuska: Jen M is wife to Todd, who is a lover of all things Ohio State University; mother to Jonah (3.22.2007) and Lily (3.2.2009), writer, reviewer, music lover, researcher, activist, supporter, and so much more. Her day to day consists of wrangling two little kiddo's while attempting to keep up with housework, writing, and managing the family, all without losing her sanity. Jen's passions include her friends (both online and off), her kids, her husband, her cats, blogging (, writing, Twittering (, taking pictures (Sony a300), editing pictures (, a clean house, all natural health remedies (, Starbucks Peppermint Mocha's, crafts with her kids, hanging out with her mom, Chicago White Sox baseball, a phenomenal Genius playlist on iTunes that makes her think, and 2 kids napping simultaneously. Her areas of expertise include vaccine research, homeopathic remedies, & pregnancy related depression/anxiety. Jen blogs all about it; openly and honestly at Mommy Instincts. View author profile.

Comments (3)

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  1. Lisa says:

    So sorry you and your little on had to go through that. But trusting your gut is my #1 advice for parents all the time. I think as parents we are questioned so much from friends, family, doctors teachers etc that we can be led to question ourselves when we shouldn’t! Good for you for doing what was best for both of you!!

  2. Garima says:

    I am gald she is doing much better. And definitely at having her checked out right away. It really helps. Knock on wood!

  3. tracey says:

    Glad they were able to take care of her before it became worse! Also, I’m glad you had insurance that covered a special hospital. Not all families are lucky enough to have that option and must go with the local hospitals.

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