Today Riker turned 4 months old. Today has been one of the most taxing for me.
Valentine has been missing her sister a lot and has been acting out. I want them to see as much of each other as possible but it is so hard. Like any normal 2 year old, she's a germ factory and always seems to have a runny nose and cough. Of course, she can never remember to cover that cough, either.
Since the doctors have assured us we should bring Valentine anyway, I brought her and my mother to the hospital today. At first it looked like it would be a great visit. I had Riker in my arms and we were headed out to watch Valentine play with the toys in the atrium. I had it in my head that it'd almost be like home.
Before we could even sit down, Riker started heaving and puking all over herself and me. Shockingly, the color was mustard yellow. The heaving was the scariest part. I went back to Riker's room with her and Valentine stayed with mom to play with the toys.
There was a lot of talk about calling in the doctor and finding out what was going on. At that time, I also found out that she had puked green earlier and that this was the third time she had puked within the past few hours. As usual with hospital time, it took a very long time for a doctor to come and speak with me. When one finally did they didn't really have an explaination for me. They decided they would run a test to see if there was a bowel obstruction but they did not think it was likely. It was probably just a nasty side effect of chemo.
Most of the visit, Riker was uncomfortable and crying. When she'd finally fall asleep, Valentine would act out and wake her up. Not able to express her feelings, Valentine was hyper and impossible to deal with. She would not touch her sister or sing to her or even look at her. When we went for a walk as a break, she welled up with tears and started crying. "I miss my sister - I need her. Let's go back upstairs, Mommy." The whole time my heart was breaking for both my girls.
Our visit lasted about 7 hours today and we all left emotionally and physically exhausted. As I left Riker's room, I broke down into tears. Riker was still crying in her crib and Valentine was fighting against the straps in her stroller. It breaks my heart that I cannot be in two places at once. I feel as if I am not giving either of my babies what they need and deserve. A mother shouldn't have to choose between her children - she should not have to leave either child.
From a medical perspective, I think that Riker is doing just fine for this stage of her treatment. I believe these side effects are expected and not reason for concern. However, I can't stop myself from panicking. Riker is not the same baby she was 12 days ago. She doesn't look the same or act the same and definately doesn't feel the same. She's 2 1/2 lbs bigger and I feel akward holding such a large baby covered and tubes and wires. She doesn't hold her head up well and seems uncomfortable no matter what position i put her in. The methods I used to comfort her and the ways that I used to hold her are no longer acceptable because they will cause her pain or make her throw up.
This sucks - how can this be our lives now? How can I continue to stay strong? How can this last 6-9 months? Today I do not feel strong.