Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Time Asher Grace had RSV

In February Asher got a cold. It started as any other illness with her just not feeling well and wanting to sleep a lot and eat very little for a couple of days, but then I noticed her breathing was a bit labored.  Instead of letting it pass I took her in to the doctor.  He said she had an ear and nose infection (babies don't have sinuses, so it's just a "nose" infection), put her on amoxicillin and said just to give it time to run it's course.  I asked about RSV or bronchiolitis, he said RSV usually presents as a TON of mucous, and Ash didn't even have a very runny nose.  The next day she was worse.  She was so lethargic, still wouldn't eat, and her breathing was quicker and shallower.  I felt strongly that we should take her back into the pediatrician.  I felt so silly doing so, but I knew something wasn't right.  I left Jack and the older girls waiting in the car, went in and asked the nurse to take her blood oxygen because her breathing was worrying me.  It was so low that they checked it three times and then tried a breathing treatment to see if it came up, then tested it again.  No change.  The doctor and NP then came in and told me they had called an ambulance for her.  I was shocked.  I thought they couldn't be serious.  They said she needed to be treated right away with equipment they didn't have there. I told them if she needed to go to the hospital we could just drive her there.  The NP said she had worked in an ER for 8 years and had seen babies with this low of blood oxygen go from Asher's state to cardiac arrest in a matter of a couple of minutes.  I texted Jack during this and said they were getting an ambulance; he was confused too.  Once they told me the severity of the situation and that the ambulance was almost there to get her, I called him and said, "you need to come inside right now."  On our way out of the office we saw a sweet lady in our ward who was sitting in the office and I'm sure I look completely shell-shocked.  When they hooked our tiny girl up to oxygen and strapped her (in her car seat) onto a gurney, she barely even responded. I got in the ambulance and we went to the Riverton hospital where they put her on a c-pap (which helps force air and oxygen in to her lungs when she inhales).  This didn't help her enough so they then switched to a bi-pap (forces air and oxygen in and out of her lungs to help with all of her breathing).  When her O2 levels still didn't come up enough, there was talk of intubating her.  At this point they called the life flight team from Primary Children's because she was in a serious enough state that she needed the equipment and team there to stabilize and treat her. Intubation would involve sedating her and forcing a tube down her throat to get air into her lungs.   While they were preparing for this and waiting for the attending doctor the life flight team arrived.  The EMT was so great and caring and Jack asked him if he was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.  He said he was and that he would be happy to help Jack give our girl a priesthood blessing.  It was pretty amazing.  The doctors said it would be a little traumatic to watch them intubate Ash and that we should leave the room and they would call the attending doctor to come in and do it.  Instead of going to the waiting room I was sitting outside the door crying on Jack when the attending doctor got to the room.  She asked that Asher be tested one more time before they put her out and they found that her numbers had improved a bit with the bi-pap and that they wouldn't need to intubate her before going to Primary Children's.  I know this was an answer to prayers and the blessing.  I was so thankful.  They strapped her in again and I got on the helicopter with her.  The life flight team was so great and made me feel completely at ease in such a stressful situation.  Also, I admit it was pretty cool to fly over the valley in a helicopter.  I joked with the team that it was the most expensive plane ride I'd ever taken (we found out 6 weeks later when we got the bills that this was true, times infinity) :)

Asher was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Primary Children's and they had a crib and team waiting for her.  She had the same two nurses there the entire time (during the day shifts) and they were so fantastic.  They hooked her up to all of her monitors and their bi-pap and the doctors went over things with me while I filled out paperwork.  Once they had been informed of her situation and had run a bunch of tests they concluded that she had RSV and bronchiolitis.  Because babies can't blow their noses or cough up mucous like older kids can, all of the liquid had just been collecting in her lungs, filling up their capacity and making it more and more difficult to breath.  By the time I had taken her into the doctor the second time her body had been working so hard for so long that she would have tired out soon and shut down.  The doctor said that if I had put her to bed that night at home, she probably would not have woken up again.  Her lungs were too full and she was too tired.

We spent 5 days in the hospital.  It was terrifying, exhausting, and really really wonderful.  I had never seen life as fragile before that experience and it made me that much grateful for the health of my family that I had taken for granted.  Our ward members, family members, neighbors, and friends were so amazing and supportive.  Texts and calls started pouring almost from the second we arrived at the hospital from people expressing love and support and offering service.  Jack was the true rockstar, being at the hospital with me most of the time then driving back and forth from the hospital to home when needed so I could stay up there all week, taking care of the girls (when they weren't with his awesome mom and sister), he got a hotel room right next to the hospital and would sit up late with Asher so I could go to the room and sleep after being in the hospital all day, he cleaned our whole house spotless while I was gone, and was so supportive and calm.  Everyone who has had a child at Primary Children's knows how wonderful they are there.  Asher's team just loved her so much and were so capable and considerate.  We had a chance to attend a service at the hospital that our church gives and several parents stood up and told about their children who have various illnesses and how they had been living there for months or off and on for years.  One mother told about her two-year-old son who had brain cancer and probably wouldn't make it another month.  It was so heartbreaking and humbling.

RSV is a virus, which means it can't be treated with antibiotics.  Basically, the doctors and nurses just had to keep Asher alive and breathing long enough for her body to fight it off and clear out her lungs.  She was almost comatose for three days in the hospital, but then slowly she began to wake up and respond.  She started coughing more and more, which was great because it helped loosen and get rid of the mucous and liquid in her lungs.  The whole time she had a feeding tube in, and I was able to pump there and put breastmilk into her feeding tube, which was a blessing because then she could get the antibodies I could provide to her as well as the nutrition.  We knew she was out of the woods when, on the fourth day, she was fighting to get her bi-pap mask off. They put her on a c-pap and her oxygen levels held enough that they knew she was fine with less help breathing.  When they put her just on oxygen (in a nasal cannula) she dropped a bit again so they kept her on the c-pap longer, but were able to get her to oxygen by that evening and then we were able to be transferred up to our own room where she wouldn't need so much assistance.  I slept the night on the futon up in that room with her while the nurses checked her every 4 hours and the next day she started eating solids again.  We came home on that sixth night with instructions to keep her home for the next couple of days and to follow up with her pediatrician.  Driving home with her was a wonderful feeling.  She held her balloons that friends had sent and I could tell she was so happy to be able to go out.  Jack had the whole house spotless and he and the girls had more balloons for Asher waiting at home.  The next few nights I'd wake up in the night just to go check on her. I'd check her respiratory rate and put my hand on her back and feel the air go in and out of her lungs.  It was a beautiful sound.  Every day I am more grateful for her, Olivia, and Berlin.  My prayers of thanks have numbered in the hundreds since that day.  I'm so thankful for promptings, for priesthood blessings, for prayer, for an amazing husband, and for our friends and family.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...