Join Date: Jun 2006
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I can really sympathize with what you and your family are going through.
When my oldest son was born he was infected with the e-coli virus. This was the result of being in the birth canal too long and ingesting his own feces (much like the "meconium aspiration" that etyu mentioned). I will spare you all the gory details. Because the umbilical cord was still connected, my wife also contracted the virus. Before my wife left the hospital, she began having seizures. The doctors thought it was a reaction to the epedural - they were wrong. They also failed to detect the virus in my son. This lead to quite an ordeal.
We brought my son home and he was fine for about 24-hours. Then, during a routine check on him while he slept, I used an electric thermometer to check his temperature. He had a fever of 108 degrees and was totally nonresponsive. He would not wake up and felt like he was on fire. We rushed him to the hospital. In the emergency room the attending doctor said that he had acute spinal menningitis that was beyond treatment and that my son would most likely pass away withint a few hours. They put my boy in the room with the terminal patients and we waited for him to die. This was by far the worst experience of my life.
Just then, by chance, I saw the pediatrician who had taught our birthing classes a few weeks before. He just happened to be in the emergency room visiting a patient. I told him what was going on. He reexamined my son and said that he did NOT have spinal menningitis but that he likely had e-coli and that treatment could save him. They immediately took my son to the NICU and gave him a catheter directly to his aorta that pumped a super-antibiotic into his system. He had a breathing aparatus on as well, and tubes and needles sticking out of every part of his body. The memory alone nearly moves me to tears. However, from the time he began the antibiotic treatments his condition immediately improved. Within hours he woke up and began responding to us. After a few days he was alert and his color returned. The kind pediatrician that I met attended to my son the entire time. We became close friends - and he never charged me a dime for his services. Since that time, this Stanford-trained pediatrician has become nationally renown for his charitable work in the Phillipines, Africa and other underprivileged countries. He is also widely regarded as one of the finest pediactric-oncologists in the world and is one of only a handful of doctors allowed to help children in communist nations like Cuba and North Korea. It was our lucky day indeed.
All told, my son spent about a month in the hospital - 3 weeks in NICU. During that time, however, he nearly doubled in weight, developed normally and showed no after-effects of the infection. The strength of the antibiotic needed to cure him sometimes leads to kidney damage and/or deafness. But my son had neither of these. We were just happy to have him alive. But to also have him in perfect health was beyond our expectations. We felt very blessed.
My boy is 12-years old now. He loves baseball, video games and - of course - cars. We go to all of the car shows and meets together. We watch cartoons, play Halo and laugh at the world. He is a straight "A" student and has a reputation for being scrupulously honest and having a good character. Forum member etyu has met him at the Crystal Cove car meet. Etyu referred to him as my "sidekick." A fine description indeed. We are best friends. I would be lost without him. I need to tell him that more often.
I guess the point of my story that I can really appreciate what you are going through. But, more importantly, that these things have a way of working out. Newborns are tough and very resilient. I would bet that you guys come out of this and that Gabriel ends up healthy and happy. And, if not, then that was his destiny. If you have done all that you can do - which I am sure you have - then you must find solace in the fact that some force controls our fates beyond this human sphere.
At the risk of revealing too much about my private life, I have posted a picture of my son below taken during our trip to the LA Autoshow. When I look at that picture, the memories of the horrible experiences surrounding his birth seem so very far away. But, at the same time, it reminds me of how meaningless all material things would be without someone I love to share them with. Nothing matters but family and the connections it brings us. Everything I do is for them.
By looking at that picture of my son, I hope that you can have faith that this too will pass. And, that if it does, you will move on and the pain will subside. It is my sincere prayer that everything works out and that you will have many years of love and friendship with Gabriel.