Blood Rules

Update on our most recent hematology appointments.

I just got our results in today & both kids tested NORMAL for the conditions we were concerned about! YAHOO!!!!  Thank you, Jesus!

The appointment went pretty well, I think.
Though holding down my kids for blood draws is very hard, I have to say that stopping by the chemo drip room and being in the pediatric cancer clinic really helped with my perspective.  In fact, as I held my screaming children, I whispered thanks to God in my head that I don't do this weekly for cancer treatments.  Thankfully, our God can hear the whispers in my head and heart over the screams of my babies.
I am also so thankful and frankly amazed that my children seem to continue to trust me after all they go through - me holding them for blood draws, putting them through therapies and surgeries, etc.  I am thankful that somehow they still trust me to be their mommy and to do what we feel is best for them.
I am also thankful it is over for now.
Until surgery next week, I guess.

We met with two doctors, for nearly 4.5 hours, during nap time.  At one point, in the exam room, Will fell asleep on my mom and Ellie fell asleep on me.  I am thankful for kids who know when nap time is and are flexible enough to fall asleep where they are.  (Of course, they didn't get their typical 2-3 hours.... blood drawing and doctor's exams aren't conducive to long naps!)

I really liked these doctors and had some unique opportunities with them to share the miracles that are my children.  At one point, one doctor politely asked me if doctors in Boston had simply concluded that R & I are "unlucky."  I gently corrected him, as I held a sleeping girl in my arms, "no, we are not unlucky, we are blessed."  He can't get it - I guess - but that is partly why I blog - so that others might see the blessings that are ours - in part because God has graced us with two children with differences.  The blessings far outweigh the challenges.  He seemed a little confused and tried asking again but I insisted that we are not unlucky at all - we are blessed.
He also asked if I had had any abortions.  He meant miscarriages as when I said no, he specified, "spontaneous abortions."  I then said that I had experienced "one miscarriage."  He referred to our baby as a embryo, and I continued to call him our baby.  He was my first baby - teeny tiny and not fully formed and too short in my womb - but my baby.
I like the opportunity to have conversations like this with doctors - to put a human perspective - a mommy perspective - on science and medicine.  I love showing off my babies.

I am also thankful for a sweet little boy who, despite hurting during the blood draw, managed to still tell the nurse, "thank you."

The doctors had lots of interesting information for me.  They poked some significant holes in some theories of other doctors.  They made some very valid points.  They explained some issues to me and I feel like I have a better understanding of some what we have been investigating - and now that the results are in, they are non issues!!!

As requested by Lisa, here are my blood draw rules.
23 weeks suggested licodaine - that is an awesome idea!!! I so wish I had thought of that before our appointment the other day!  She says to rub it on the arm a few hours before and put a bandaid on it.  Genius!
I only allow any given individual three tries to find a vein.  After 3 attempts, I politely insist on someone else.  So far, I've only had to do this once or twice and I don't think the person minded letting another tech try.  As Will (& Ellie) get older, it's important to me that they understand they can trust me and they can trust my word - that although we have to get this done, I will do my best to protect them from unnecessary sticks and that means no more than three tries/person.   I have found that NICU or nursery nurses are the best.  I once left a huge blood lab after a horrible experience with Will and, after giving us both a break, headed to the hospital to get a nursery nurse to do the draw.... they are used to tiny veins.
Once, R's veins collapsed after he had had multiple surgeries.  The nurses brought in the LifeFlight guys - they were awesome!  They are used to finding veins while in a helicopter so are pretty talented.  I haven't had to play that card yet with my kids but I'm not afraid to!
If, after 1 stick they don't have the vein, I ask if I can put a warm, wet towel on the vein to get it to raise up.  I have also given Will popsicles and juice (not diluted to encourage him to drink lots, fast) or pedialyte.  Hydrated veins are more plump.  Even if that means we just sit there while I pump fluids into my boy, if it means an easier vein to stick than I don't care.
I always hold my child.  This enables me to help hold them still and also to comfort as best I can.
So far, I haven't used bribery.  I'm not saying I'm against bribery for extreme medical circumstances - just that so far, I haven't had to go there.  Ideally, I would prefer not too.  Because my children face frequent medical situations, I would prefer that they learn how to behave appropriately without the use of bribery. (Appropriately means they may not kick the tech or nurse... not that they can't cry!)  I do use rewards such as a sticker or a piece of candy or a movie afterwards.  
I try to validate Will's feelings.  When he screams that he doesn't like something or says he is scared or cries, that is okay.  I would never tell my child they can't cry in a situation that is scary and painful and in which they have no control.  I try to affirm his feelings and acknowledge that I am sorry he is going through the experience and am proud of him for enduring.  (Endurance is a quality I praise in both my kiddos.)  I tell him I am proud of him for thanking the tech, for not throwing a fit, for being brave and sitting in mommy's lap for the "sting."  I do not tell him he can't cry or that he is not brave if he does so.
Hmmm.  As I read this I realize I don't have as many rules as I thought!  I guess just 2 big ones- no more than 3 tries/person & asking for time to hydrate.
Anybody else have any good blood draw rules/suggestions?

2 thoughts:

Lisa Johnson said...

THANK YOU! Those are great rules. I like asking for a break after the first try if it didn't work. We had a tech draw blood for Field after his surgery a few weeks ago and I am not kidding, it took FOREVER! It was torture for all of us. In hindsight, I should have asked him to stop and get someone to help him because it was just taking way too long to get the blood he needed. Field was going nuts and I felt so helpless and frustrated. By the way, you are SO blessed with 2 beautiful children. Will's smile is the best and that sweet Ellie is adorable. You are NOT unlucky, and I know your life with them will continue to bring you so much joy and happiness. You are a wonderful mother, Katie.

Miles said...

Great rules Mommy! I had a terrible iv

iV experience as a child and I remember it (I was 4). I'm still terrified of IVs. I guess because of my own experience, I am pretty protective of my kiddos too.

Our 8 month old spent his first Christmas in the hospital this year. This was the first time one of my kids needed an IV. I asked for a second nurse after the first one had three tries. The second nurse did something I've never seen. She turned out all of the lights in the room and had me hold a flash light on the underside of Mason's arm (touching his skin) in the dark, his little veins lit up like a Christmas tree. She got a great stick on the first try.

I second the lidocaine in advance. Great idea!


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