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Isaiah's story   — Maribel Torres, IL, USA

Pregnant with my second child I kinda knew what to expect at my visits to the doctor's. Having been positive for Group B strep with my daughter (my 1st pregnancy) I thought for sure I would be positive again and felt there was no need to check. My only concern was going through labor too quickly and not being able to receive the proper amount of antibiotis. Who would have thought that was the least of my problems? At 35 weeks I was cultured for GBS. I asked what would happen if I went through labor too quickly and did not get a chance to receive proper treatment for GBS because I was sure I had it. My doctor ensured me that as long as I went "to term" there was really nothing to worry about and that just because a woman tests positive for GBS once does not mean she will be positive at a different time. At my 36 week check up the results were in....negative! I was already 3 centimeters dialated and was told that if I go into labor to call them; if not, they would see me next week. On Thursday of that week (only four days before being considered "full-term") I went into labor. They asked all the usual questions including what my culture result was. "Negative, but I was positive for my first pregnancy," was my answer. My doctor broke my water 45 minutes later to move me right along and there was no turning back. Friday morning at 8:20am God blessed me with a beautiful baby boy (heathy from what I was told.) I found it cute how he was grunting. The nurse said it was probably because he was cold or hungry. I spent almost a hour with him before he was sent to the newborn nursery to get cleaned up and registered. A couple of hours went by and he still wasn't back. I thought nothing about it because my nurse said this sometimes takes awhile if they get busy with babies. Then a NICU doctor came by to talk to me. She said my son seemed to be having some dificulties breathing and they're going to take him upstairs to the NICU to watch him. She said he might have premature lungs due to being born at 36 1/2 weeks, but that he might have an infection. She was pretty sure though that it was premature lungs which he would get medication for and he would be fine. She let me know that I may go up to see him in about a hour and a half (that would give them time to assess him.) Well, wanting to see my son and make sure he was fine, I went up a hour and a half later, but they still weren't done. They told me to wait about another hour and they should be ready. Well, an hour turned to two and so on. Then I finally demanded to know what was going on. The doctor got on the phone and said she would be down to talk to me. "Your little boy is very sick" are the words that came out of her mouth. She came down and explained to me that he had a infection but they were unaware of what type it was. I asked if he was going to be okay and she could not promise me that. I went to see him. He was ventilated, had IV's coming out of both his arms, and was on a paralyzing medication so he was limp and apeared lifeless. So the ordeal began. He was being treated for every infection they could think of and given just about every medication an infant can receive. That night I wouldn't doubt that he had any less than 25 medications given to him including the 3 different types of blood part tranfusions you can get. That night was the WORST night of my life. Three times that night the doctor told me there was no more they could do for him. They didn't know what was making him so sick. She told me I was losing my son and couldn't tell me why. His oxygen and blood pressure kept dropping and he wasn't responding to the medications. They had maxed out on the medicine and could not do anythng else. Each time that was said Isaiah (my beautiful, strong son) did a little bit better. It was 5 am and for the second time that night I called my parents out of bed, this time to baptize Isaiah because he was not going to make it. At about 6 am Isaiah was baptized. At about 7 am the doctor said that one of the cultures was growing and we would know hopefully what it was in anywhere from a few hours to days and sometimes they are not able to identify it. About a hour later the doctor came by as they had identified it. Group B strep!!! This was a slap in the face for me. "You mean to tell me my son has beta strep, no way, I tested negative!!!" I couldn't believe it. With the power of God my son was alive. He stabilized shortly after his baptism, but he was nowhere near being out of danger yet at least 'doing a very little bit better." You know they don't EVER want to get your hopes up by giving you hope. In the days/weeks that followed they worked on slowly weaning his medication. He was extremly swollen and he was never able to be tested for meningitis (which they still treated him for) because of how unstable he was. He went for a CAT scan to look for any brain damage due to the lack of oxygen. What they found was unexpected. Hydrocephalus is the term for it-- "enlarged ventricles" in his brain more than likely due to the fact he had meningitis (which he was never able to be tested for), fluid in his cerebral space. "If the issue does not resolve on its own he will need surgery to insert shunts to help drain the fluid which he might have in for life," they told me. I was devastated. They recommended a MRI to look closer for brain damage and to get another look at his ventricles. At this point he was off all of his life support medication including the ventilator, but was on a low dose of oxygen. For the MRI he had to get reintubated because he was going to be put completely under. He came back and after a few hours he was put back on the low dose oxygen. Two days later he had a setback. He was back on the high dose oxygen, a high dose of steroids and albuterol nebulizer. His lungs were damaged even more. After a few days on the oxygen and steroids he was doing better, but still not feeding well. Today I sit writing this 5 weeks into my son's life. In three days my son will be coming home (almost six weeks old) on oxygen, monitors, Ng tube and seven differnt types of medication four of them being for his lungs. Oh, yes, I didn't mention, the MRI that damaged his lungs more was "inconclusive" so they don't know what his developmental future will be like. Only time will tell. There are numerous doctors and specialist visits in our future. And to think ALL of this could have been prevented with a IV antibiotic drip during my labor. I pray for everyone that has gone through, is going through, or will go through this that you may have the strength you need to get through this. God bless

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