Friday, February 13, 2009

The Voice

On Tuesday, Braden was looking more jaundiced than before and we took him to the doctor because we were starting to get pretty concerned. He ordered blood work on him and called us with the results on Wednesday afternoon. His bilirubin (related to liver, causes jaundice) had risen to 14 and was down to 9 when he was in the NICU three weeks earlier. This was cause for concern, but his hemoglobin (level of red blood cells) was 7 and should have been between 12.5 and 16.5. This was cause for alarm. The pediatrician called a hematologist and they made a plan to recheck his blood on Friday morning. I was not comfortable with that decision at the time, but did not want to be overreactive, impatient, and not trusting of their decision. I should have been.
About six hours after the plan was relayed to us, Braden's coloring worsened and he turned very pale. His breathing was labored and rapid. That wonderful gift God gives to mothers in the form of the Holy Spirit that tells us something is wrong was screaming inside me. I knew Braden needed help and he could not wait until Friday. He needed help right this minute. Tony encouraged me to listen to the voice and call the doctor immediately. He told us to take Braden right to the emergency room. When Braden and I got there (Tony stayed home with Brock and Sydney), the room had about thirty people waiting and there were three people waiting to sign in. My heart sank. The ER was the last place I wanted to take my five week old preemie baby. We haven't even taken him out of the house yet! I just knew we were in for a very long wait. We signed in and went to the farthest corner of the room to isolate ourselves as much as possible from the scariness. Much to my relief, Braden name was called within three minutes; they had rushed him to the front of the line because he was so critical. They checked his O2 sats and they were in the mid-80s so they put on him oxygen right away. The ER doctor came in and I tried to explain to him that there was something wrong with Braden's blood and we needed to run labs immediately. He listened to me try to explain everything and then I think he finally called the pediatrician which is what I had been requesting since we walked in the door an hour ago. They started the IV to get the blood and then they ran the labs. Three hours after we walked in the door the labs came back and his bilirubin had gone down to 9 (good), but his hemoglobin had gone down to 6.1. Not good. Tony later informed me that a hemoglobin level at 5 is heart failure. Braden got admitted to the Pediatric unit. When we got to our room, there were five nurses getting all of his vitals when a doctor walked in the room. I assumed at first that he was the hospitalist, but it was actually the hematologist!!! Hooray, I thought. He explained to me that he had just been to the lab to review Braden's blood and it looked to him that he was having experiencing severe anemia due to a hemolysis of his blood caused by a reaction from being exposed to my blood during birth. Basically, my red blood cells were attacking his red blood cells and destroying them to the point that he almost didn't have any left. This caused his jaundice and then his labored breathing. The next thing it would start affecting was his heart's ability to function. In order to prevent this from happening, he explained, Braden needed a blood transfusion. The blood transfusion would give Braden's blood the boost he needed to give his body strength to fight against the incompatibility of our bloods. His body might have been able to do it on its own, but this would give him extra strength and time. I called Tony to relay to him what the doctor told me and his first response was, Thank God! Of all the scary, scary things this could have been, this was the very best one. He had considered this possibility but dismissed it because he thought Braden was too old to be having a reaction like this now. These types of things normally happen within the womb or the first week of life. This particular type is so uncommon they don't really have very much research out there about it. We still have go watch him very closely for the next week or so to make sure he doesn't relapse, but both our doctors are pretty confident this is what is was and that it is over. They discharged him yesterday afternoon because there was more danger to him staying in the hospital and being exposed to other illnesses. We went back to the doctor this morning and we will go again on Tuesday and Friday for more lab work. But hopefully, this is over.
The moral of this story is: Mothers, listen to the Voice. God gives us this gift for a reason and we have to listen to it. The Holy Spirit nudging our hearts is never something to be ignored or passed off. Please listen to this Voice whenever you hear it, because it is from Him. He loves us and is trying to protect us from whatever it is He is nudging us about. I thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit and I ask that you join me on your knees to thank Him for saving Braden. Thank you, God, for saving Braden.


Mom to 2 Angels said...

I'm so glad he is ok now. You are absolutely right about that still, small voice!

Holly said...

I am so glad he is okay! Poor guy!! Let me know if you need anything.