‘I took him to the ER. His circumcision didn’t look to be healing right. We had a gut feeling something was wrong.’: Parents perplexed after newborn’s near-death scare, ‘He’s a fighter’

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“I thought the day I found out I was pregnant would be the scariest day of my life. And it was, until April 18, 2017. My pregnancy with my son was fairly normal. He was a stubborn boy who kicked anytime his dad or the cat laid on my belly but that was okay! I would tell my husband all the time that he was a fighter!

In the last few months of my pregnancy, I was sent to a hematologist because my platelets kept getting lower as my pregnancy progressed. 150,000-450,000 is the normal range and I was around 86,000. They chalked it up to pregnancy-induced thrombocytopenia, which was dangerous if it got low enough because platelets are your blood’s clotting factor. They continued to keep an eye on it and do blood draws every time I had a regular appointment right up until the day I went into labor.

My labor was like my pregnancy, fairly normal up until I started getting a fever. They checked it often and kept an eye on it but weren’t sure what was causing it. My son was born a few hours later and he too started a fever as soon as he was born. When I finally got to really see him after being moved to my recovery room, my husband came in first to warn me he had an IV in his head feeding him antibiotics for the fever. He wasn’t really able to stay in our room too much while they were keeping an eye on him but he was doing better and that’s what I cared about. We went home a couple of days later and enjoyed Easter with our family and our new bundle of joy.

Life stopped when he was 5 days old.

My mother-in-law and I took him to the emergency room because his circumcision didn’t look to be healing right and we had a gut feeling something was wrong. Upon arriving, his temperature wouldn’t come above 95 degrees. We tried everything for almost 3 hours to get it up and finally, the doctor just assumed it was fine and was set to discharge us with a prescription for antibiotic cream. As he was printing our discharge papers, the new doctor coming on, who I can now only assume is our guardian angel, heard the issue and told us he would not be discharging us. He felt in his gut something was wrong and wanted to run more tests. After some blood draws and discussing what could be going on, he came back with test results. He looked confused and told us he was running a test again because my son’s platelet count had to have been wrong. The test said his platelet count was at 16,000.

Courtesy of Sierra King

I felt my stomach drop and the blood drained from my face but I thought maybe he was right. There’s no way it could be that low, right? He ran the test again and came back white as a sheet. He told us the test results came back with that same number again and because he didn’t think an ambulance would make it, he was life flighting us to a bigger hospital. I felt what I can only describe as shock. I looked at my mother-in-law who, bless her heart, was calling my husband to calmly tell him he needed to come home. (He was an hour away on an important job interview.) The hospital was a little over an hour’s drive away and we found out that because the helicopter was a NICU one. There probably wouldn’t be room for anyone to ride along.

Waiting for that helicopter was one of the worst tortures I could imagine. I kept thinking my son was going to die in my arms in that hospital bed or alone in that helicopter without my husband or I being there. I felt guilty that I had told my husband to go to the job interview because I assumed the hospital would be a quick trip.

I never imagined our son was literally hours, possibly minutes, from death.

By some miracle, my husband made it to the hospital minutes before our son was loaded into the helicopter and they made the room so I could ride in it as well. My husband and in-laws went back to our house and loaded up some clothes and necessities before making the drive down to the hospital to meet me. That helicopter ride was nothing short of torture. I was so grateful not to leave our son but every beep and noise that came from his little incubator sent my stomach spiraling. Sitting in the NICU helplessly praying you don’t have to say goodbye to your child is the lowest I have ever felt. My husband and I spent the longest 5 days at that hospital with our many family members, who came to support, and our little fighter pulled through after tons of tests, four transfusions, and lots of questions. We are still trying to get answers as to why what happened happened. We know that by some miracle our son was saved just in time.

We were very lucky to have the doctors, nurses, and especially family that we do. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Today we have a very healthy 3-year-old who is still a fighter, but you’ll never hear us complain about it. If you take anything from this, please follow your gut as a human and especially as a parent because it could quite literally save a life!”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sierra King. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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