Your Carrying Story – Lisa
Content Warning: there are images of a very sick child in this video and in the photos at the bottom of the blog.
I was 28weeks pregnant when we were first aware our baby wasn’t growing as he should have been. Even though the consultant couldn’t find a reason why, I suspect my unicornate uterus (half womb) and scar tissue from a previous section with my first son was likely the cause. After close monitoring, four steroid injections and resting when I could, Sam was born by planned section at 34weeks at 3lb 15oz. He was well but had to stay in NNU to be tube fed to stabilize sugars, temperature and have UV light treatment. A completely different experience from my healthy first born who never left my side. That week was an emotional rollercoaster. Even though I knew he was well compared to some very sick babies, he wasn’t with me, I couldn’t hold him all the time and I had a strict regime to follow even though we were trying to establish breastfeeding. He was a fighter, had a brilliant latch from day one and although very sleepy we did it. After a week we finally got home to his daddy, big brother and step sister, we had him all to ourselves at a tiny 3lb 6oz. I knew once I had him I never wanted to leave his side, I hated the separation at the start and so did he. We started our carrying journey with a stretchy wrap that my sister had gave us and we loved it. It was like a second womb for him where he felt close and safe. At that time little did I know what a lifesaver it would become.
Sam was very quiet and sleepy at the start and I thought brilliant, this is easy. Then came the signs of CMPA (cow’s milk protein allergy) that his older brother has just outgrown at 4years old; Colic, screaming, spotty rash, reflux and diarrhoea. The stretchy wrap got us through that, it helped relieve his tummy pain and let me see to his brother and make dinner etc when he wouldn’t let me put him down. So now I am dairy free again so my breastmilk is safe for him but that’s ok I did it with his big brother and they’re plenty of alternatives out there now. It turned out he also had egg and soya allergy, so I had to eliminate that from my diet too.
Just when I thought things were going to get better a house call from the health visitor at 6wks ended up in a hospital admission. She thought he was jaundice again and wanted him checked over. He was breathing fast, but Drs thought it was viral and that Sam was just a pale colour from being unwell. He was kept in for observation but discharged after one night. He was admitted again the following week for the same thing, low oxygen, breathing fast, pale complexion… possible bronchiolitis. Sheer panic was how I felt, I had seen what bronchiolitis did to my first son Charlie who was full term… He was 8weeks old and ended up in resus and on oxygen in hospital for a week. I did not want this to happen Sam, I didn’t want him back in NNU. He was sent home again the next morning.
Sam was still very unsettled, I couldn’t put him down. I had a saying ‘when Sam’s a yap put him in the wrap’, our stretchy wrap was the only thing that comforted him. He loved being close to me and I loved carrying him too as it made everything easier. At this stage even, his cry was changing. He started to develop a rash just before 8weeks old and was sent to hospital again by his GP. They thought he had eczema and started him on steroid ointments. This didn’t help. Every 48hrs he got worse, the rash seemed to spread around his eyes, nose and mouth causing his skin to peel off. He ended up in hospital again and was started on IV antibiotics for infected eczema. I was on my own a lot of the time as my husband was with his mummy who was dying. She only had days left after suffering for 20years with Alzheimer’s. We got out in time for the funeral. My own mum was also suffering from cancer and had months left to live. She passed away in June.
After that treatment Sam got even worse, his face was becoming unrecognizable, he was hysterical a lot of the time, he had diarrhoea and he was feeding less. Yet again another hospital admission this time more IV antibiotics and ointments that just seem to make things worse. This time his face was starting to smell. I was worried about sepsis. This was his longest admission and a Dr finally decided what they were doing wasn’t working. He said there’s a rash associated with zinc deficiency and they took bloods. Sam’s zinc level was 1. It’s supposed to be 8-21. And he was anaemic. He commenced zinc supplements and within 5days the foul peeling skin all fell off. We thought he was going to scar because of the damage, but his skin is perfect now. He had Acrodermatitis enteropathica caused by zinc deficiency. This causes irritability, peeling skin and diarrhoea. It is very rare, and the Drs hadn’t come across it before. The wrap was a life saver and helped me get through a very tough time in our lives and I couldn’t have coped without it. Becoming a mummy to 2 children both with different needs and wants has its challenges without dealing with a premature baby with AE and the deaths of our mummy’s.
I recommend baby carrying to everyone, just try it because you never know it could turn out to be a tool you can’t live without! Now Sam is well and is still on zinc supplements and has to have regular bloods to monitor his levels. We are still awaiting blood results to determine whether the zinc deficiency is genetic. We still use our wrap but more for fun than fussy times. We even bought an Izmi carrier which he loves to explore the world in. Sam is now a happy little chappy and still loves slinging it with his mummy.
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