Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Emry's Episode

Today my youngest daughter Emrys (5.5 months old) had an odd episode. Basically, after her bath I laid her on a towel, and turned my head to grab a nearby towel. I looked away for maybe ten seconds max. When I looked back at her she had turned blue. Her lips, gums, and tongue were so deeply colored they resembled a glass of merlot, or a ripe plum. Her hands, feet and face were light blue. It was terrifying.

I first thought she might be cold, so for about 15-20 seconds I just stared at her. She was clearly scared, almost panicky. I decided she was more than cold, and lifted her up. As soon as I did she gave me some chunky breastmilk puke. (Sorry for the fun adjectives). This is quite normal for her. I thought this might have been her issue, but she was still blue and seemed uncomfortable. I thought to myself, If she can nurse then she's probably OK. I figured nursing meant that she could breath and swallow fine. So I latched her on, and she did nurse fine for about 30 seconds. I figured she was OK after that and just held onto her. After about 10 minutes her lips, gums, tongue and hands and feet were all back to normal.

I was still scared, but not panicked. I figured I'd just write this off as scary and move on with my day. But all my facebook friends seemed to think I should call the doc and have Em checked out. Turns out the Doc agreed that she should be seen ASAP (Which in doctor hours means in 4 hours.)

4 hours later we went to the docs office. Emrys had still been acting fine. She had nursed and even napped. I was sure she was OK, but still better safe than sorry. They checked Em's blood-oxygen saturation level, her pulse, her heart and her lungs. They checked the windpipe for obstructions and had me tell the story to two nurses and the doctor, three times through just to make sure I didn't leave any details out.

At the end, the doctor told me what he suspected happened was a perfect storm of conditions that would probably never replicate. Basically, she had been just on the verge of spitting up when I moved her from the tub to the towel, and said vomit had a touch more acid in it than her system is accustomed to (blame it on my dinner or breakfast.) When that fore-acid hit her windpipe, the windpipe reacted exactly the way it is supposed to react, and the way in which it would react if you or I had acid hit it un-expectantly. It closed tight.

In you, I or even an older child (as young as 12 months) the body would recognize what it had done and instantly relax, thus keeping the acid splash out of our lungs but reopening the windpipe before we even feel short of breath. If we did notice at all, it'd feel like a gasp or having the wind knocked out of you. But in infants who have never experienced this, the initial and biological reaction is panic. The more Emrys panicked, the tighter her windpipe constricted. This is why she went so blue so fast. When I lifted her and the vomit was expelled, it cleared the windpipe. When I latched her on to nurse, the doctors suspect this is when she felt calmed and relaxed, allowing the windpipe to reopen.

The doc applauded my actions (honestly, he made me blush. It was almost uncomfortable.) He said that most times when this happens, the parents flip out and either call 911, drive the kid to the hospital on their own, or become so panicky themselves that it's impossible for the infant to calm down. He said in these cases, the vomit that had been about to come up could easily have been aspirated, creating a real problem. But my staying calm and observing her thoroughly before acting (even though that phase only lasted about 20 seconds) allowed me to get enough information for them to accurately diagnose the situation, and it allowed me to create a calm environment for Emrys.

While my self diagnosis in the moment of nursing being my indicator wasn't quite on the money, the doc said I was probably right that this action was what calmed her enough to reopen the windpipe. Though really, just holding her could have had the same effect- who knows?

The story ends with knowing that it is unlikely this will ever happen again, she had to have just enough acid in the vomit, and be ready to vomit at the exact moment I moved her and then be too panicked to release the windpipe on her own.

My baby is healthy, happy and breathing fine. Thank you all for your concern and prayers over her today.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Get This Show On The Road

I like to pretend that every one of my blog posts is deep and has an emotional lesson to be learned. But this one does not. It's mostly complaining and feeling guilty for my lack of patience.

I'm ready. Now.

It seems to me that once you've made the choice to do something as life altering as have a baby for someone else, the idea of twiddling your thumbs for nearly a year seems to be so incredibly cruel.

I know I want to do this, and I know I am ready. I know we've got support from friends and family. I know my church supports me. I know we've made our decisions on the type of family we want to find and help.I know we've decided legal preferences, residency preferences, medical preferences... I know we've made our profile of who we are and who we're seeking. I know we're ready to dig in and get going.

I also know that before I can have a baby for someone else, I need to give my baby the best shot at life possible. That means nursing her for at least 12 months. Emrys will be 6 months in two weeks, so I've got roughly six months to go until we can "officially" start our process. I know I need patience. But, I'm ready to go NOW.

Perhaps because we really made the decision to become a surrogate family in June of 2011 and had more than a year to evaluate, consider and mentally and emotionally prepare, I just feel like I'm not at all rushing and I'm ready to start the process. I know it sounds weird, but I'm ready to be pregnant again. I like being pregnant. Honestly, I'm even ready to do child birth again.

Never in a million years would I consider ending our nursing before 12 months. Not for anything, not even this surrogacy, which I feel called by God to complete. But sometimes I feel like, come on Em... lets GO!

Like I said... this blog isnt deep... no secret meaning.... just belly aching... about how I'm ready to get started. Sigh.

I hope you're thinking and praying for me, indented parents. Be patient, I'm preparing myself for you. Perhaps we both need patience.