Friday, March 14, 2008

This one is going to be spoiled, for sure

We have finally been able to dock into the hospital's wireless internet connection, so I thought I would update everyone on the little man laying in the crib next to me. Little Nathan has been at the Children's Hospital here in town since yesterday afternoon, and we are expected to stay here until at least Sunday. To bring everyone up to speed...

A couple of nights ago, I noticed that Nate was breathing really weird...instead of the normal chest breathing, he looked like he was breathing with his stomach. With each breath, his stomach would protrude, the top of his stomach would sink in, and we could see the outline of most of his ribs each time he took a breath...we are now aware that this is called "retracting". I chalked it up to strange newborn breathing, but it wouldn't go away the next day and I still thought it just didn't seem right. I called our pediatrician's office and asked if someone could just take a quick look at him to settle my mind.

Upon arriving at the Dr's office, they immediately knew that something was not right with the way he was breathing, with his breathing rate (it was entirely too high), with his heart rate (again, too high), and they heard a pretty strong heart murmur on him. They called the Children's Hospital who told them that we needed to come in and have a full work-up on him since he was so young, so off we went. Thankfully, Jay's parents have been in town for a few days, so they were able to stay with the girls while Jay and I took Nate to the hospital.

We were seen right away, and the tests started: a blood draw, catheter, IV put into his arm, and the one that every parent dreads hearing: a spinal tap. I knew that he was going to have to have one since he was so young, but I hated hearing it. He was showing no signs of infection except for the rapid breathing, but since I was GBS+ when I gave birth to him, they wanted to rule out that he had some sort of infection from that. It took 5 sticks before they were able to get the spinal fluid because they kept hitting a vein and getting blood instead of clear fluid. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget holding his little hand and trying to soothe him as he was curled into a ball and screaming his little head off. It broke my heart so badly seeing him have to suffer through such pain. I wanted so badly to take the pain from him and endure it myself.

A bit later, the Dr. came in and told us that his spinal fluid came back positive for infection, and it looked like he had meningitis. This was somewhat of a shock to us since he still looked so healthy, apart from the erratic breathing and increased heart rate. They gave us a room and immediately started 2 different antibiotics.

This morning, the Dr. came in and said that they thought that the spinal fluid was tainted with Nathan's blood, giving a false positive reading. They tested a second vial of his spinal fluid and it also came up positive for infection in his brain. Thankfully, a third vial of the fluid came up negative and meningitis was ruled out. They are still watching his spinal fluid to see if it grows anything over the next 48 hours, so that is why we are having to stay here until at least Sunday.

We were then informed this morning that Nate's blood showed that he was anemic, and newborns are definitely not supposed to be anemic. We heard things like "his body may be attacking his red blood cells", "his bone marrow may not be doing what it is supposed to be doing", "he may need a blood transfusion", etc. I even signed a release for them to perform a blood transfusion when needed since they were expecting to have to do that sometime today after the blood tests came back. Thankfully, a second check of his blood showed that his iron levels were normal...maybe the first test was tainted in the lab, maybe they didn't do the test right, maybe maybe maybe... Needless to say, we are indeed thankful that he is not anemic and his body doesn't seem to be fighting against itself. That was a scary thought.

Since he has a high heart rate and a pretty pronounced heart murmur, they ordered an echo cardiogram that was performed this evening (this would rule out any congenital heart defects that could be causing the heart/breathing distress). From talking to the tech who performed it, he said that Nate's heart looked okay from what he could tell, but we would have to wait until the Cardiologist took a look at the scan and consulted with our doctors. He said something about the Cardiologist wanting to perform an EKG or EEG (can't remember what he said...everything is running together at this point), but we haven't heard anything from the other doctors who have been following Nathan throughout all of this about that test yet.

So, right now we are waiting for the results of some more blood tests that they took today testing everything from blood disorders to metabolic disorders. We should receive those results sometime tomorrow morning when the residents and attending come to do their morning rounds. He still has a fairly high heart rate, increasing to 180-200 beats when he is awake and active, and staying at about 150-165 when he is sleeping. He is still retracting when he breathes and his breathing rate is still higher than normal at various times throughout the day. We are so thankful that all of the tests have been negative today, but it is still frustrating at times that they can't figure out what is going on with our little boy.

Nathan is doing fairly well...he is getting a lot of loving from his mama and daddy, and I have promised him that we will wait a few more days before we proceed with "operation get the baby out of our bed" when we get home. He has given us way too many scares in his short life, and he has every right to be a little spoiled by us. I am so glad that he will never ever remember the trauma that he has had to endure the past couple of days.

Again, the Lord has blessed us abundantly in regards to our precious son. He has intervened and answered our fervent cries in all of these frightening tests that have been ruled out for Nathan. I whole-heartily believe that God has his hand resting on Nathan right now, protecting him. We are at such a peace that the Lord is in control of these perplexing problems with Nate. And once again, I find myself singing "Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side"...this time while holding my son's head against my heart and rocking him back and forth while the tears flow.

I know I have been asking for prayers quite often over the past few months, but I ask again...please pray for Nathan. We are not concerned that what he has is life-threatening, but we are still concerned about him since everyone has told us that something isn't quite right but no one can figure out what the cause of his symptoms could be. Like I have said earlier, we will be here until at least Sunday. We are doing well...we are emotionally and physically exhausted but thankful to be able to be by Nathan's side through every bit of this. I miss the girls terribly, but I know that they are in wonderful hands and having a great time.

And as I close my eyes to sleep, I will keep remembering: "the Lord is on thy side".


Tara on March 14, 2008 at 11:14 PM said...

Amber, My heart breaks and cries out with you. Little Nathan has sure been thru some ordeals in his short little life. God has seen him thru those and I know he is seeing him thru this as well. We love you all so much. Silas and I have been praying since we heard the news last night for Nathan and that God would give you and Jay strenth and peace to know he is there. If there is anything at all you need, please call we are here for you and your family.

momof2princesses on March 14, 2008 at 11:31 PM said...

Oh Amber, my eyes filled with tears, several times, while I read this. I'm so sorry to hear this news, but thankful that you have the peace you need. Praying for you & your family! HUGS!!

StephthefutrRxDr on March 15, 2008 at 12:59 AM said...

I'll be praying for your little baby boy.

Brandy on March 15, 2008 at 5:40 AM said...

Oh Amber, I hope you can get some answers soon. *Prayers*
Gorgeous pictures of your family! nathan does look so tiny in Jay's hands.

Laura on March 15, 2008 at 6:17 AM said...

I'm so sorry. We've been thinking of your family and praying constantly for little Nathan and for you and Jay. Y'all have been through so much, and I hope and pray you'll get some answers soon. If there is anything we can do, please don't hesitate to ask.

Register family on March 15, 2008 at 8:31 AM said...

So glad you found a way to communicate. Little updates ease worry. Praying for all of you. Please call if you need us for anything!

Kim on March 15, 2008 at 10:16 AM said...

Praying over you all. It has been a rough couple of months, I'll be praying you through to the other side.

Anonymous said...

The Harris Family,
Amber and Jay, we say DIDO ON Tara's comment. Elaine and I had a blood transfusion when we were born. I kept the needle. Our precious little Nate will never remember his trauma. Thanks so much for the update. kept quit a few people informed with regular updates. Thank God for E-MAIL. LOVE YOU GUYS, DAR DAR

Kayla on March 15, 2008 at 11:32 AM said...

I have many tears for you, Jay, Nathan, and your girls. I am so sorry that you have had to endure this trial as well. Of course I will blanket your little one with prayers. Never fear asking because I will never feal you are imposing on me. You and Jay try to rest some. I will wait to hear more news and pray in the meantime.

Dana on March 15, 2008 at 1:14 PM said...

We're praying for Nathan!!

Pam on March 15, 2008 at 3:25 PM said...

My heart is heavy for your family as it endures such pain. Hits so close to home with such a little man of our own. We love you all and will continue sending up many prayers for your peace, answers, and healing.

Rachel Absher on March 17, 2008 at 7:30 PM said...

Praying for all of you, Amber.
Do you mind if I share this with our sunday school class?

shalonda on March 18, 2008 at 2:38 PM said...

oh amber i havent been to your blog in about a week so i was suprised to see all of these posts....of course i have to go in order so many prayers as i read on....

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