“I think I took his temperature with three different thermometers just to make sure what I saw was right.” says Megan Smith when her one-week-old baby, Reid Christopher, registered a 102 degree fever.
Megan called the pediatrician, who instructed her to bring Reid to their office, located over an hour away from their family’s home in Tappahannock, Virginia. “I was told there was a chance we might have to go to the emergency room because he was so little. My mom came with me for the trip and my husband stayed back to care for our three-year-old daughter.”
Once at the pediatrician’s office, they confirmed that Reid would need additional care and he was sent to Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “Within forty five minutes of our arrival, he had a catheter, spinal tap, and they were doing blood work. I could not believe how quickly things escalated. I was totally unprepared.”
Reid’s blood work revealed that he had meningitis which can take one of two forms, bacterial or viral. Bacterial meningitis can be life-threatening, but it would take 48 hours to determine which type Reid had contracted.
“I have never been so scared. Up until this point, Reid had been in good spirits, but he started to become very lethargic and laid in the hospital crib like a starfish. We knew we would not be leaving the hospital anytime soon.”
At about 11 pm, Megan recalls a knock on the hospital room door. “A nurse handed me a sandwich and crackers and said I needed to eat. I had been so consumed with taking care of Reid, I had forgotten to eat dinner. She told me the meal was from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond. At that point the hospital cafeteria was closed, if it weren’t for that meal, I wouldn’t have eaten that night. Throughout our stay, I found free snacks and meals in the Ronald McDonald Family kitchen located near Reid’s hospital room which was so convenient and helpful.”
Megan remained by her baby boy’s side in the hospital for the next 48 hours waiting for a diagnosis. “I hadn’t packed a thing for myself and was one-week postpartum. The RMHC Happy Wheels cart came by Reid’s room and dropped of a bag of toiletries. Being able to wash my face and brush my teeth made such a difference for my mental and emotional health while I cared for Reid.”
Finally, good news came. Reid’s meningitis was viral and with the help of medicine and care from nurses, doctors, and family, his condition was improving. After three nights in the hospital, Reid’s temperature was back to normal and he was discharged. “I was so relieved to take my sweet baby home and get settled into life as a family of four. This journey started with me thinking my baby felt warm and quickly turned into a few of the scariest days of my life. I was so grateful for the small comforts provided by RMHC Richmond to help take care of me so that I could take care of baby Reid.”