While the spell was happening, I looked at my baby’s eyes. For the first time, I saw fear and struggle reflected back. A massive knot was forming in my stomach. But she slowly started to come around, her oxygen monitor registering 100%, and her colour returning. The nurses left.
A while later, the nurse practitioner asked me to come over to her desk. She handed me an incident report and asked me to read and sign it. The words flew right in and out of my head. I can’t remember much of what was written there. Only that something (her oxygen saturation?) had dropped to 30. If I had been thinking clearly, I would have had a lot of questions. I never did see that form, or any written reference to her big spell again.
Instead, all I could think of was the nurse’s implied accusation. Had I caused this by hurrying off to pump and not burping my baby? I was terrified of the answer but I asked the nurse practitioner anyway. The answer, to my relief, was no. This was backed up by the doctor, who I asked when he came to check on Audrey a few hours later. I had not done this.
As the following hours passed and she seemed okay, I began to think about my belief that she wasn’t eating because she was full. This was a baby who had struggled for a long time with feeding intolerance. Perhaps her stomach was not equipped to handle so much food at once. I came to a realization. If she had been put on ad lib feeding, like I had been requesting, this may not have happened. I knew then, finally, what certain nurses and others had been telling me. No one knew my baby the way I, her mother, did.
For the second time at the Level II, I felt the need to take action to protect my child. I decided to ask again that she be moved to ad lib. This time, I did not intend to take no for an answer. I was ready for the expected concern that she was so small and would lose weight: she had already more than doubled her size and we could always go back if it was a problem. So I called in early the next day to speak to the LC. She wasn’t available. But, the nurse told me, a decision had been made to move her to ad lib.