As Edry turned seven days old, we went to the pediatrician for our scheduled follow-up and to have his blood drawn for karyotype testing, in order to confirm his Trisomy 21 diagnosis. I did my best to report everything I could remember about Edry’s goings-on, including the seizures that Edry experienced, and how he wasn’t feeding enough.
Let’s backtrack a bit to Edry’s seizures and feeding issues. The days before Edry’s scheduled check-up, he had at least three episodes of what I could only best describe as seizures. With what little brainpower I had (due to sleep-deprivation), I did more reading from the Internet and suspected that they were caused by two things:
- Not leaving him upright long enough for his milk to settle. Even after he burped, the 10 minutes of holding Edry upright wasn’t enough; milk would pour out of his mouth and nose (was so worried that may even come out of his ears, yikes!). My quack scientific hypothesis is that hypotonia contributed to the inability of his intestines to process his milk well (the intestines are muscle after all). Being a little bit of a preemie may have also contributed to it. He was born at 36 weeks, or 4 weeks earlier than anticipated, so his gastro-intestinal functions may not be developed well enough for him to digest effectively.
- He may have reflux / GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). His symptoms did correspond to it. He was shaking violently and regurtitating instead of just spitting his milk out, and I suspected that it must have been obviously painful for Edry, as he would cry his heart out after every episode. It was equally painful and heartbreaking for me to watch, too.
The way I dealt with this was to leave Edry upright for at least 30 minutes in order for his milk to settle in his stomach. I was struggling with this, because it meant that I was losing more sleep. One hour to feed him, half an hour to hold him upright, then only another half an hour of rest for me before the whole ordeal began. But it wasn’t like I had any choice, did I? My better half was doing his best with the rest of the house chores (as well as any man could, I guess, and you know how most guys are like when it comes to chores… clueless… but at least he can cook, thank God!).
Being a believer of nutrients and supplements as a way of improving and maintaining good health, I started feeding Edry some enzyme catalyst (Elken’s Dr. Xeniji) to help metabolize his milk better and improve nutrition absorption. Since the enzyme protects the gut area, I was hoping that it could help prevent reflux, which I’ve seen to be pretty common among children with Down syndrome.
So, back at our doctor’s appointment. I reported to the doc about everything I could think of, as he examined Edry’s jaundice. Remember the dehydration worry I had? A couple of days before the aforementioned appointment, I actually called the pediatrician of my concern that Edry wasn’t drinking enough.
“I think he’s dehydrated,” I told him over the phone.
“How do you know he’s dehydrated?” he questioned.
“He looks a bit dry,” I answered. He brushed off my concern, telling me that as long as his diaper looked full and that I frequently had to change him (can’t remember whether he said I should need four diaper changes a day, or something), then he was fine. “He only poos a little.” As long as it’s not hard, he would be fine. Well, OK, doc.
But it wasn’t OK. Not only was the doctor unable to draw enough blood for the karyotype test due to his dehydration which causes his blood vessels seemed less visible, but his jaundice got worse. The doc was only able to take enough blood sample for bilirubin testing to check Edry’s jaundice level. The jaundice was so bad, that Edry had to be admitted for double photo therapy that same day.
More drama ensued, which I will post later. Phew, just thinking back on those times makes me so exhausted.