Last month, me and my husband experienced one of the hardest times in our lives, it was something so strong that it challenged our faith. Today I have decided to write this story about how our newborn daughter fought for her own life and survived a toxic illness.
Last Oct 30, 2016, I gave birth to a baby girl whom we named Vermilion Kashmir. She weighed 3kg and looked pretty healthy. Before they released me from the recovery room (I had a repeat CS), I was told by the nurse that she is in perfect health.
For another 3 days, I stayed in the hospital room for recovery while my baby stayed in the nursery, because there, we were sure that she's well taken good care of. I visit her there multiple times a day to breastfeed, while I was away, babies there were given pasteurized breastmilk.
During the 3 days that we were in the hospital, my daughter did not show any signs of illness, she looked VERY HEALTHY! Even our pedia gave us the go signal that she is in perfect health.
Before we got discharged from the hospital on the night of Nov. 2, 2016, we were told that the baby was fine, so no worries. We drove home happily and worry-free.
After getting discharged, we went straight to my parents' house. I needed my mom's help to take care of my newborn while I'm still recovering from the excruciating CS operation.
This is how she looked like at her 6th day of life. She started sleeping more and more and I feel she's becoming more lethargic. Despite of my instinct that something feels quite not right, I thought it might be "normal" because newborns sleep a lot but I didn't know anything at all, given that I am not a person familiar with anything medical.
We even took her to a newborn photo shoot at her first week in life because we thought that everything was fine. She looked just fine here and in her shots, she looked so pretty and cute!
Like most normal parents, we wanted to have a beautiful newborn photos of our child for the sake of good memories. The photo below was taken by Ms. Claudine Cervantes Callanta of Larawan Mo Studio. They specialize in shooting babies, so cute!
All was well until she slowly showed signs of illness that are kinda bothering: stool with blood, vomiting brown stuff, and she was losing weight despite of me exclusively breastfeeding her all day!
We took her to the hospital right then and there when she refused to breastfeed from me nor to bottlefeed formula. She vommitted a lot but doesnt want to feed anymore. She looked so weak!
November 7, her 8th day in life, is her pediatrician's first scheduled appointment for her very first check-up. Upon weighing her, she lost a lot of weight already 2.4kg from her initial 3kg weight!
And as all parents dreaded to hear, she was diagnosed with severe late onset sepsis. She was critical and her health was deemed toxic.
It is called late onset when the illness showed up late, when it didn't appear right away after birth. After our checkup with the pedia, she was immediately brought and confined in the NICU (newborn intensive care unit) to be stabilized with medicine right away. At the time we had no idea how serious the problem was.
That day was one of the busiest and saddest times. Since I am the mother, I was being called back and forth by the nurses and several doctors for interview: where and when did I give birth, why I had a CS, did I get any infection during pregnancy, what medicine did I take, what vaccinations had been done to my baby, etc. It was all too tiring.
After a few hours, they came with the diagnosis that apart from late onset sepsis, my child's inflammation in her digestive system MIGHT need a surgery. We were told that the equipments in Marikina Valley Hospital won't be enough for her case so they recommended that she should be transferred to a tertiary hospital who can handle her severe case much better like UST Hospital. We all know how expensive it is there but all for the sake of our child's safety we agreed to have her transferred there.
I was even told by the two pediatrician doctors in the hospital,
"Mommy, ngayon pa lang sinasabi na namin sa inyo, please prepare yourself fully, hindi talaga maganda ang kalagayan ng baby nyo ngayon. Sobrang kritikal at toxic na po talaga. 50/50 po ang buhay nya ngayon. Ipagdasal nyo po ung baby nyo, it might save her life. Kapit lang."
It was so dreadful to hear that, nakakapanghina, to be told even in the most polite way possible, that your child MIGHT die. I was alone during the interviews and I was stopping myself from crying, telling myself all the time to have "grace under pressure" and to stay focused and strong!
My husband on the other hand was fixing and dealing with the financial stuff. You see, all the banks were already closed that late afternoon and we had to pay the hospital that time in full so we can get discharged then transferred, not to mention, we had to prepare the payment for the ambulance and for the deposit in UST Hospital. In less than 24 hours, we spent almost a hundred thousand already just for the bills alone, what more for the days to come. It was indeed stressful for us and our families of course, but still, we trust and thank God for He makes a way and provides.
Our daughter has been confined in UST-NICU from Nov. 8 up to Nov. 18. She spent more than a week not being given breastmilk, only nutritional supplements being given to her through OGT (the tube inserted inside the mouth up to the stomach).
During her stay, there were lots of x-ray's and series of blood tests and all that that were done to her. Thankfully, she didn't need to undergo surgery in her digestive system anymore after a series of tests that say that there are no intestinal obstructions of any kind.
All that was needed to heal her were antibiotics, which they had to change twice because the infection was so strong. We asked the doctors what could've had been the exact cause of her sepsis but even that, they couldn't tell us, blah blah blah...
In her last few days of stay there, she was finally allowed to drink breastmilk through OGT at first, then by cupfeeding, and for her last two days there, through direct breastfeeding from me.
USTH doctors and nurses did a really good job in taking care of her and healing her severe case during her stay. If only we can afford to spend hundred thousands more for medical budget, we would have chosen to finish her medications there but since the hospital billing in UST was getting more and more expensive per day already, not to mention, too far from our house in Rizal, we decided to have her transferred in a private hospital that we can afford better and is nearer our house. All that was needed is for her antibiotics to be continued there.
After getting the go signal for transfer from the head doctor in UST who's looking out for her, we transferred her in a different hospital. On November 19 midnight, she got admitted, this time, I can share the room with her already.
There in a private room, I can finally stay with my baby 24/7 so I can take good care of her better. I started excusively breastfeeding her, as we all know, a mother's breastmilk and touch therapy help the infants in recovering faster.
See the photo above? She was finally regaining all the weight she lost. Now, she's back at her 3kg birth weight! Tumaba na ulit ung cheeks nya and looking healthier day by day! It's painful though to see her receiving injections for her swero, madalas kasing maalis since malilikot talaga ang mga babies gumalaw. Sigh..
We stayed 5 days in the new hospital to finish her antibiotic medication. I had sleepless and tiring nights too. Kashmir was breastfeeding almost every 2hours, ayaw pa nyang magpalapag at bitawan ko sya kasi iiyak.
It must had been very traumatizing for an infant to get confined in the incubator tapos mag-isa lang sya nakahiga doon at hindi naman pwede na 24/7 kaming kasama sa NICU nung nasa UST pa sya. Tapos masakit pang mainjectionan and matapang din ung mga antibiotics nya. She cried everytime na bibigyan sya ng antibiotics. I was told na mahapdi daw rin kasi yon, kaso wala eh, kailangan nya un. Kaya kahit na mahirap, nag-tiyaga rin akong bantayan at alagaan sya ngayong magkasama na kami sa kwarto. Kahit spoiled pa sa karga and yakap, basta gumaling lang sya!
This was our last night there in the hospital. I stayed with Kashmir 24/7 while her dad stayed in the room at nights. Our 2 yr old toddler Hyper, thankfully was being taken good care of by her beloved lola, my mother-in-law. Laking pasasalamat din namin na we can rely on her to take care of her grandson everytime we need someone to look after him when we are busy especially during these hard times. Hindi pa kasi siya pwede sa hospital mag-stay, napaka-likot! Haha! Terrible two's nga kung tawagin!
On the 10th day of her antibiotic, which makes her 18th day hospital confinement, they took blood sample from her for the test. Kailangan mag-normalize and test results nya, kung hindi, mapapatagal pa ang hospital stay namin.
Finally, at last, at the 10th day of her new antibiotic, her blood tests revealed that her C-reactive protein and White Blood Cells level are now normal, meaning, wala na siyang inflammation and sepsis infection. In short, magaling na sya! Yeheyyyyyy! How happy we were na madidischarge na kami at makakauwi na rin ng bahay sa wakas!
Sabi ng mga doctors, it is healthy for infants na mapaarawan every morning para makakuha sila ng Vitamin D. Hindi kasi ako mahilig magpaaraw kaya daddy nya ang gumagawa ng pagbibilad with her. Syempre dapat kasali si Hyper, hindi siya magpapaiwan sa loob ng bahay, hehe! He loves his baby sister so much!
These two kids are the reason for my busy-ness. Hehe! For now, Full-time stay-at-home-mom muna ang peg ko. Di bale, makakabawi din naman tayo sa career kapag medyo malaki na sila. :)
Here she is now, growing healthy on her way to recovery! Ang hobby nya ngayon is "Ëat, Sleep, and Repeat" halos buong araw magkasama kami sa room, hindi pwedeng mawala ng more than 30minutes si mommy sa tabi nya, talagang magigising, hehe!
Naisasama na rin namin siya sa labas ngayon, basta sobrang minsan lang naman lalabas, sa hindi mausok at hindi marumi na lugar, yung sandali lang dapat kami, at walang taong may sakit na lalapit sa kanya or hahawakan sya. Must have na lagi siyang may protective cover.
So far, we brought her out of the house 3x already, during the two 1st birthday parties of our friends' babies and one at the beauty event that I had to attend to. Sandali lang naman ung mga lakad namin na un and we made sure that nobody sick comes near her kasi bawal. Okay na si baby Kash ngayon, she is growing healthier and more adorable day by day.
Me and my husband learned a lot from this experience.
First, to let go and let God handle everything in our lives, to always pray when we seek for His grace and to thank Him for everything. He is the one who provided us with our daily neccessities and all the blessings given to us so He has the right to take away whatever He has given.
Since I was a kid, I have always believed at the existence of God and His powers and that there is a purpose for everything BUT I have never ever prayed that hard in my life before. When my daughter got confined, I was begging God to spare our daughter's life, that He heal her, na wag muna siyang kunin sa amin. I prayed that she gets to enjoy childhood with us her parents, that she gets to grow old and have a family of her own here on Earth, na dapat anak ang naglilibing sa magulang and not the other way around. I understand how painful it must be for a loving parent to lose a child, much more an innocent baby.
Second, to be grateful of all the blessings which includes our parents, families/relatives, our friends and everyone else who prayed with us for Kashmir's healing. We also thank those who gave us moral support and of course, those who reached out to us to share some contribution for Kash's hospital expenses. One day, we will be able to give back to all of them and to share God's love and blessings to others who are in need.
We would like to share this Bible verse from Psalms 116:
1 I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I beseech thee, save my life!”
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
9 I walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
10 I kept my faith, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted”;
11 I said in my consternation,
“Men are all a vain hope.”
12 What shall I render to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
16 O Lord, I am thy servant;
I am thy servant, the son of thy handmaid.
Thou hast loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord.
18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
PRAISE THE LORD!
Now, my baby is already 1 month and 1 week old. She is getting heavier and a bit chubbier na rin. We are so happy because she looks like na parang hindi nagkasakit!
This experience taught me to be more patient, more loving, more grateful, and more considerate to other people., It taught me to fully embrace the role of being a mom and to be thankful of being blessed with my family - a husband who is a good father and adorable kids who are loving.
So to everyone else who is struggling right now, whatever that might be, just trust in God and believe in the power, the skills and talents that He gave you, that with Him, you can conquer everything. God bless us all!
I am so thankful that God saved and healed our daughter! Now she's developing just like any other healthy 1 month old babies! We can't wait to spend Christmas with her! It is going to be her first one!
So, my dear readers, what else are you thankful for that happened this year? Any inspiring stories you care to share with me?