When Ellie was almost two and a half she was poorly, just a normal run of the mill, kid-like illness, runny nose, temperature etc. She had been ill for a few days, when for 24 hours she didn't pass any urine. We took her to the emergency doctors (as it was late at night on Easter weekend) and he told us not to worry and that as she had a temperature she would be less likely to urinate and she was ok. I asked him how long should we leave her like this, he shrugged his shoulders and told us that it didn't matter.
I was extremely unhappy with this advice and rang NHS Direct (a freephone help and information line manned by nurses) about the information I had been given. They agreed with me and told me that I could not leave her for an indefinite period without having gone to the toilet and that I had to make another appointment at the emergency doctors, so I scheduled this for the next morning.
However, during the night her stomach started to swell, it seemed only a bit at first but it kept gradually getting worse. We decided that we were not going to wait for the appointment and took her to the Casualty Department instead. They admitted her and said that they were going to have to run some tests. They told us that the cause of her stomach swelling could be due to a blockage in her intestine/bowel. I remember feeling helpless and sick with worry at what they might find when they gave her an x-ray, certain that it would reveal something nasty. We were very fortunate, nothing at all showed up on the x-ray. It still was a very unpleasant experience for her, they had to insert a tube into her bowels to get rid of the gas build up that was there, which must have been a horrific experience for a two year old. I especially feel bad about this because even though her dad was with her when she had this done, I was not, I had left to go home and breastfeed Lydia, as she was only 10 weeks old. After she had been in the hospital for about 24 hours she had still not passed any urine so they had to try and catheterise her, it took four of us to hold her down whilst she was screaming at them to stop and begging us to make them. It is one of the most horrible things I have ever had to do and it still brings tears to my eyes 10 years later.
Ellie after she had been discharged from the hospital
To cut a long story a bit shorter, she was discharged after a couple of days but still suffered from the same stomach swelling and other related problems for years. She had numerous blood tests for allergies and disorders and gave samples but everything came back negative. The Paediatrician who we saw said he could give her an exploratory operation to see if they could find anything but he didn't really want to, especially as her problem never got quite as bad as when she had been first admitted. No reason has ever been found for why this happens and she still does suffer from the problem but only very, very occasionally.
What made me write this post was a mention of a little girl called Layla Grace who MckMama mentioned on her blog today. Her story is heartbreaking and I thank God that Ellie's x-ray did not contain anything sinister and that we are blessed to have four such beautiful and wonderful children. I hugged them all a little tighter tonight after reading this.