My husband, W, has been encouraging me to start a blog since our baby was 2 months old, to document all of the trials and tribulations we've gone through with her, as well as those that we encounter in our daily lives. So here it is, I've finally given in. Not that I mind; I love talking about my kiddos and what's going on, in the hopes that either someone else has gone through something similar and has some words of wisdom, or that someone else can learn from what we've gone through.
Which brings me to the story of our little Princess M. She was born at the end of May, full term, after a rather non-eventful pregnancy. I will absolutely claim it was the easiest pregnancy of my 3, despite being extremely sick the first 4 months, and discovering she'd brought me into a state of hyperthyroidism during my pregnancy. However, beyond that, it was so much easier than any that I'd gone through with the boys. The delivery itself was also uneventful, and she arrived in all her glory with a strong set of lungs and a loud voice.
Several hours after she was born, it was discovered that she was COOMBS positive - meaning that my blood was in her blood. Since I'm O+ and she's B+, well, we've clashed from the start. Princess M suffered from a blood incompatibility - my blood cells were producing B antibodies, meaning they were killing all the B blood cells...which is all she had, faster than she could produce more. The side effect of that then is severe jaundice, and Princess M ended up in the NICU under triple light therapy for the first 6 days of her life. We were able to visit her whenever we wanted, but could only hold her for 10 minutes at a time, and she had to be in her bili blanket while we were holding her. Needless to say, even though it's not a huge deal, it was still traumatic for us as we watched her bili numbers rise and rise, topping out close to 14, and knowing the bad things that could happen thanks to Mr. Internet. Luckily, none of those things happened, as she only hit 14, and they tackled the problem fairly early, though it may have been even better had the hospital tested the cord blood immediately as per protocol, rather than 5 hours after she was born.
Regardless, she came home at 6 days old, with instructions for immediate doctor visits and blood draws for bili levels. Over the next 6 weeks, we went to the pediatrician's office weekly, sometimes 2 times per week, for heel sticks and blood draws to find out what her numbers were. The reason for having to go that long? Well, no one told us that one side effect to being COOMBS positive is anemia, which can be very dangerous for a newborn. Since the blood cells were breaking down so fast and her body wasn't able to produce them as fast as it was losing them, she was anemic, which meant daily iron for the first 2 months of life. We were, and continue to be, extremely lucky to have a great pediatrician, Dr. G., who watched the numbers very closely, called me every time we got the results, and consulted with doctors at Children's and shared their feedback with me. We also were able to make our own treks (2 of them) down to Children's to have blood drawn and meet with the doctors, who were fabulous. Thankfully, as Princess M hit 2 months old, her anemia resolved itself and she levelled out to where she should be for a child her age.
However, the week before she hit 2 months, she ran a high fever while we were on vacation at my parents' house. Given her age, I knew immediately we needed to head to the ER, where they ran a bunch of tests and told us she had a UTI and we needed to head to Children's up in the Valley to be admitted for antibiotic treatment and monitoring. Over the next 3 days, she was diagnosed with Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR). VUR means that urine flows back up from the bladder into the kidneys, rather than just emptying out. We had a follow-up VCUG, which is an x-ray where it was discovered that she is also lucky enough to have a duplicated ureter (tube coming out of the kidney) running to her bladder.
You see, everyone develops several sets of ureters during development inutero, and they disappear, except for one set (there is a more scientific explanation, which you can look up; I'm too lazy to type it all out). Anyway, one of hers stuck around, which is making the VUR worse. VUR has 5 grades of severity; Grades 1 - 3 are managed with daily use of antibiotics, and 4 and 5 are usually treated with surgery. Princess M is a Grade 2 on the left, and a Grade 2 and 3 on the right. What does this mean for her? Well, after meeting with the urologist, our action plan is daily antibiotics until she turns 1, with another kidney ultrasound at 6 months (December) to look for kidney damage, and another VCUG at 12 months to see if the reflux is gone, unless she has another UTI before then. if it's gone, hooray, end of story. If not, we discuss more antibiotics versus surgery, and the liklihood it'll go away on it's own is, best case scenario, 40%. So while we pray it resolves on it's own, we're trying to keep in mind the realities of the situation. It also means constant monitoring of her temp, and if she has a fever, we take her in for a urinalysis. Fun times, huh? If anyone else has gone through this, let me know what happened in y our situation. I'll share our daily trials and tribulations with a 3.5 year old, 2 year old and 4 month old...it's bound to be chaotic but fun!