50 answers

Spinal Tap

I took my baby girl (5 weeks old) to the ER for a 101 temp. They did blood work and took urine did chest xrays and generally poked and prodded her something terrible. Her blood and urine came out fine and her chest xrays showed she might have a little of a viral infection, but the weren't positive because they said xrays at her age aren't great. Anyway they then suggested a spinal tap to check for an infection there. They said babies of her age harbor infections there and aside from a fever they don't really show more signs. I said heck no in the ER, and I supposed to go in for an appointment today so they can reevaluate. Does anyone have experience with this? The Dr the talked to me said that it doesn't hurt them any more than a shot or blood draw, but I know how bad getting an epidural felt in my back. Should I do it? Or wait it out? I have a three year-old too and well, I am completely in shambles. The Dr made it sound as if I didn't do it I was going to sign my baby up to die or something . . . but a spinal tap? That seems terrible! HELP!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone who responded to my request, I really appreciate all the support. Well we went and saw the pediatrician on Wednesday afternoon and he suggested we watch her further and monitor her fever and if it spiked high again then we would need to bring her in to have the spinal tap done because he felt it would be better to be safe than sorry later. After reading a bit online and reading all of your wonderful responses I felt a bit better about. About 4 a.m. Thursday morning her fever spiked again so we were admitted to the hospital to have the procedure done. I think it was worse dealing with the fact that they needed to get an IV started because she was dehydrated due to not eating enough. So we spent Thursday night and most of Friday in the hospital and they let us go home last night. Her fever broke and she was doing much better with some fluids in her. All of the cultures have been negative thank goodness, it was still sad that she had to have all that crap done to her at only 5 weeks old. I was a serious wreck most of the week, but I am so thankful that she is better.
Thanks to everyone who responded, I appreciate the support!

Featured Answers

Hi T.:
My 3 year old had to have a spinal tap a couple of months ago. I was really scared but I had to find out what was wrong with her and it wasn't really that big of a deal for her, but my neighbor had one she's is 36 and she said it was horrible. But the hospital said it's not as bad on kids as it is for adults she had a really bad headache and had to lay down for a couple of days. My daughter was already laying around and sick so I didn't notice any difference if she had any problems with it. It's hard to know but it was fast and she didn't freak out.

Hi, I think I would put a lot more trust in a doctor than in a bunch a people you've never met on line. I would seek a specialists opinion.

My sister had a spinal tap when she was 6.5 months old and although it was painful, it did end up saving her life because she did have spinal meningitis.

More Answers

It doesn't hurt?! Wow, I can't believe they said that. My daughter had a spinal tap when she was one year old and that was a heart wrenching experience. The child is not allowed to move during a spinal tap, for obvious reasons. It took a total of 5 adults to keep my daughter in place. It was bad enough she was scared of the situation and all of these people holding her down, but then the pain of the tap. They had to poke her twice. Afterwards, she had handprints embedded all over her body. Granted, as soon as she was in my arms she calmed down, but it was a hard thing for me to witness and even worse for her to go through. I understand the reason for the test, they wanted to make sure she did not have meningitis. Hopefully you will not have to experience this. But if you do, be positive, supportive and be prepared to give your baby lots of loving afterwards. The only positive thing I can think of is that your baby is young enough not to remember the spinal tap. Unfortunately, my daughter developed a fear of needles.

My daughter had the same experience at 6 weeks old. I did not think to question the ER when they suggested a spinal tap after the battery of test they had run because I was exhausted. It turns out she had spinal meningitis and we ended up in the hospital for a few days so they could monitor her progress and keep her on antibiotics. In the end everything turned out fine - it was viral and not bacterial which is a better prognosis. I was asked to leave the room when they performed the spinal tap, so it probably is more stressful for the mom than the baby. When I returned (about 10 minutes) my daughter wss fussy, but not out of control. She is now 11 and I am sure she doesn't remember a thing.

I worked in an emergency room for 5 years and previously worked in the NICU. It's okay if you don't have the spinal tap done in the ER. Watch your baby and check her temp, you can also give her Tylenol. Make sure you call your pediatrician, that's what they are there for. If your pediatrician agrees and says she needs the spinal tap, then go for it. It really doesn't hurt babies that much. Go with your gut instinct, mother's intuition is usually right. Good luck!

Get a second opinion !!!!!! Good luck.

my daughter was in the NICU. she had to have a spinal tap. it was pretty common and a lot of babies in their did get infections just like what he said, but if your not comfortable get a second opinion. It wouldn't hurt to ask another doctor. whatever you decide you need to be okay with whatever may happen on the end. If your daughter has maintained this high fever for a while a couple of days I would say somethings up and get it done!

Hi T.,
While the risk of meningitis might make having the test a wise option, that Er doctor is full of it. Spinal taps are very painful and can be dangerous if the little one moves around much. I know this from personal expirience on me and on my duaghter. If you decide to go ahead with it tell them you'll only do it if the give the little one a mild sedative to put her out first. I was lucky with my little one, having been through it myself I knew what it was, and the nurse agreed with me readily.

dear T.,
Hi, I have had about three spinal taps and yes they are uncomfortable, but they really dont hurt. I would say if your child still has the fever it may be worth it, but if the fever is gone i wouldnt bother, they are very exspensive.

They are probably worried that she has menengitis, which si VERY serious. It is also very contagious, so your other child (or you or your husband) could get it too. I would let them do the tap. Good luck~ I hope she feels better soon!!!

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