Saturday, May 2, 2009

One year ago today…another one

One year ago today I dialed 911 for the first time in my life. And reported to the operator that my then 6 week old baby, who had just been discharged from Children’s Hospital 18 hours ago, and was at home for the first time in his short life, was blue, covered in blood, and unresponsive. Yes, I’m serious.

Let me back track a little. If you read my post yesterday you saw that May 1st, 2008, M2 came home from the hospital from the NICU for first time, he was six weeks old. He was discharged at about 7pm. We were ecstatic. It was so exciting to finally be home, together, as a family. Looking back on the previous 6 weeks I don’t think we stopped long enough to realize that he was missing at home. We ran back in forth between the NICU and home, and my parent’s house (where M1 was staying) without even thinking about it. So on May 2nd, when we all woke up for the morning under one roof, and all sat down together for breakfast it was like Heaven on Earth.

M2 had a Dr appt that morning. My Mom was coming over to watch M1 while we took M2 to the Dr. When we came home from the Dr, my Mom graciously volunteered to sit with both M’s, and told Hubby and I to go out to lunch and enjoy ourselves. We took her up on her offer, went to lunch and to the grocery store. We hadn’t been home in 6 weeks; there was no food, no formula and no diapers. When we got back from lunch M1 was already laying down for a nap and Mom had said that M2 had just fallen asleep in his bouncy seat. As much as I wanted to hold him and kiss him, I had learned the hard way with M1, you never wake a sleeping baby.

Mom left to run some errands with the promise to return in a couple hours, and Hubby and I put the groceries away while the M’s napped, one upstairs in his bed, and one in the kitchen, not more than five steps away, in his bouncy seat.

It was such a nice, spring day, and we had been cooped up in the dark NICU for weeks, so I decided to go to the front porch and plant some flowers. And since I was going to be outside, Hubby was going to stay inside, b/c babies with trach's can’t cry, and we would not be able to tell when M2 woke up. Our hall bath, just around the corner from our kitchen had needed some work and little by little Hubby had been dry wall-ing, and since he was inside he decided to sand the dry wall down to get it ready for a new paint job.

We had both been peeking around the corner to check on M2, sleeping soundly, and went on with our work. At one point Hubby poked his head out the door and said he was going to run upstairs, but M2 was still asleep. I planted a few more flowers and went in to check on him again.

When I walked in the kitchen M2 was blue. (Man this is a hard post to write.) And as I ran to him, screaming for Hubby, I realized his sleeper was covered in blood. I immediately pulled him out of his chair and laid him on the floor on his back, and grabbed his suction machine to suction out his trach. Hubby handed me the phone to call 911. And he continued to suction out M2’s trach. My hands were filthy from planting, and trach care and suction is supposed to be a sterile procedure, I didn’t even wash my hands before grabbing him. Hubby performed CPR, (mouth to trach of course) and we started giving M2 breaths with the Ambu bag. I ran outside to meet the squad.

The first EMT raced in the house while I was telling him everything. After he saw M2 laying on the floor, he turned his head back to the other EMT’s who were making there way into the house with equipment and told them we were going, they didn’t even bring the equipment in. The EMT looked at me and said ‘Mom, get your shoes on, we’re going’.

As I write this post, I realize I have on the exact same shirt and jeans I had on that day.

I will never forget seeing the EMT carry my blue and bloody baby to the awaiting squad. And just as he jumped over the flowers I had just planted, carrying my baby, my mom pulled up. ‘What happened?’, she asked in a panic ‘I don’t know’ I said back to her, as I was climbing into the squad. I will never forget looking out of the squad window and seeing Hubby and my Mom standing on the front porch.

Once we were in the squad, and they started giving M2 ‘blow bys’ he stared to breathe again and started turning from blue, to gray. He was struggling to breathe, his pulse ox was very low, and his breathing rate was very high, but he was breathing. I wish I could have put the window of the squad down and yell to Hubby and Mom that he was breathing, but it was too late by then. And I realized I didn’t have my phone, my camera, or my purse. After all the EMT had only told me to get my shoes.

I remember as we were driving to the main road to get to the interstate that it was taking forever. I even said to one of the EMT’s that I thought we would be going faster, and would have made it further than what we had.

Hubby got to Children’s just as they were transferring M2 from the stretcher to the warming bed in the ER, I still can’t believe how fast Hubby got there; I guess it pays to have a sports car. Most of the time in the ER is a blur, I know my favorite ENT resident from the NICU came in; it was great to see her face. I know the ER Dr we had was amazing, and very calm and caring to both M2 and us. I know they showed us chest x-rays, M2’s lungs were cloudy. And they told us they had no idea what had happened, but they did get him stabilized in the ER. I know I called my Mom on the ER phone and asked her to come to Children’s Hospital with us. I know one of the ER nurses handed my a bag that had M2's sleeper in it. It wasn't until the next day that I looked at the sleeper and realized it was covered in blood. I couldn't keep it, I had to throw it away. I think we were more scared that day than when he was transported from the birth hospital

We have no idea how long M2 was not breathing, we had no concept of time that afternoon. M1 usually lays down for his nap at around 1pm; my Mom had said that M2 had fallen asleep shortly after that. My Mom also said she pulled on to our street at 3:42 and the squad was already there. That’s all we know. We don’t know if it had been 5 minutes from the time Hubby went upstairs to when I found him or if it had been 25 minutes. We just can’t piece it together.

My Dad took M1 to their house, and my Mom got to Children’s with some clothes for M2, my purse, cell, camera and a sweatshirt for me, just as they were moving us up to the PICU. The PICU Dr started a central line is M2’s thigh as soon as we got there. You see at first the Dr’s that M2’s lungs were cloudy b/c he had pneumonia, it wasn’t until the next day they realized it wasn’t pneumonia, it was blood in his lungs. Several tests were run on him, and we were told that he was going to need a blood transfusion. We refused.

We had been in the NICU with a couple who had refused a blood transfusion b/c of their religious beliefs; we knew they and their baby were still in the NICU so we went in search of them. They told us of a couple different medicines that can make blood cells grow faster to avoid a transfusion. We told the doctors that’s what we wanted for M2 and they obliged.

M2 was in the PICU for another full week before coming home, for the second time. He still had a very low blood count when he was discharged, and was still very pale, but his Pediatrician kept an eye on him and he eventually got his blood counts up on his own without the transfusion.

The Drs never did figure out exactly what happened. Although they think that there could have been a scab from his trach surgery that popped off causing the bleeding. They think since he was asleep his actual trach could have been sitting on the scab and made the bleeding worse. Since he was just a baby his lungs filled with blood quickly making him asphyxiate on his own blood. They think this is what happened; none of the doctors at Children’s had ever had anything like this happen before.


Caitlin said...

How incredibly terrifying! I don't even know what to say! So, so horrible. I had to look at the side bar at his happy, chubby face for a while to make myself calm down. Glad you are on the other side now- thanks for sharing.

T Rex Mom said...

I cannot even imagine what that must have been like. I feel so scared just reading this.

It must be so nice to look at M2 now and see a thriving and happy little guy!

Carin said...

I'm with the other commenters, so glad he has come so far and you can see is a happy, thriving boy. And I can just imagine how strong you have become through all of this. Glad you have family to help as well.