Infection Update

Well, quite a bit has changed (and changed some more) since my last Brantley update.  The past few days have been quite the emotional roller coaster.  I'm beginning to wonder if a healthy baby is too much to ask for.  We thought after his brain issue resolved itself, we were in the clear.  We never expected to spend days in the NICU following our sweet baby's birth.

But, like before, we're trying to stay positive.  We know we will eventually take home a healthy baby boy and we're thankful for our pediatrician and the amazing NICU nurses who care for Brantley so, so much.

Anyway, I'll try to write as much as I remember.  I have daily notes galore, but things keep changing and it's hard to keep track of it all!

As I mentioned before, Brantley was born with an infection in his lungs (pneumonia as they have referred to it, but a different kind of pneumonia than adults get).  According to our pediatrician, he must have breathed in at just the wrong moment to contract this infection.  Infection in a baby's lungs is a fairly common thing with newborns (when dealing with complications, anyway).  Typically, they start babies with infections on antibiotics and re-evaluate after 48 hours.  Many need a full seven days worth of antibiotics.  Yesterday morning marked the 48-hour-on-antibiotic point.  During our pediatrician's daily (morning) visit, she told us that, based on some blood tests, Brantley needed treatment for the full seven days.  Not a big deal.  We'd rather him get the full course of antibiotics, than risk taking home a sick baby.

Our doctor also told us yesterday morning that she wanted to perform a spinal tap on Brantley.  The spinal tap would help determine if the infection had spread to other parts of his body.  According to doc, babies have a hard time containing infections to a specific part of their body, unlike us, and the spinal tap would help show if it had spread.

A spinal tap on a baby sounds extremely scary, but it's actually safer than a spinal tap on an adult.  A babies spinal cord only extends to the part of his back that would be at my bra line.  They drew spinal fluid from his lower back; hence, it's impossible to damage the spinal cord.  Still, I had to sign a consent form prior to this procedure, which made it seem very scary!

Anyway, our doctor called us yesterday afternoon with the results.  Brantley's spinal fluid showed slight infection.  Whatever is measured in the spinal fluid (not sure what it is exactly) is typically around 30.  Anything above 30 means infection...our doctor has seen numbers ranging up to 300.  Brantley's measured 40.  Because of this, she told us he needed 10 days of antibiotics, instead of the seven she mentioned that morning.

Despite an infection in the lungs being a pretty common occurrence, the infection spreading to the spinal fluid isn't as common.  Our doctor said she sees one or two newborns (out of about 300) with this happen, per year.

This morning, during her daily visit, our doctor had some more disappointing news.  She consulted with the hospital neonatologist about Brantley's situation, and together, they decided that 14 days on antibiotics was necessary to be on the safe side.

It just keeps increasing.  First it was 48 hours, then seven days, then 10 days, and now 14 days.  Today is day 4, so it looks like he's here until at least Friday, July 20.

I am thankful for my husband who asks a million questions.  One of our biggest concerns/fears is any long-term effects this may have on Brantley's health.  Our doctor said he's developing just fine neurologically (just like a regular, healthy newborn) and she foresees no long-term complications.  We hope and pray she's right.

She keeps mentioning that Brantley's not quite as active, alert, and fussy as a normal, newborn baby and it's due to him just not feeling well.  However, she thinks that the antibiotics are working and we should see a peak in activity in the next day or so.

The good news is once he is removed from his feeding IV (i.e. once he gets the breast feeding thing down--we are making progress), he won't be confined to the NICU.  We'll be able to bring him with us to our boarding room.  We hope this is sooner than later!

Any prayers you can send our way would be much appreciated.  We witnessed a miracle with his last health concern and have no doubt he will come through this, as well.

We also thank you for all the texts, calls, emails, etc. and apologize if we don't always respond right away.  We really do appreciate all the concern, but just can't keep up between pumping, feeding, doctor visits, sleep, and snuggle time.

As for hospital visitors, we would love them, but unfortunately, the nurses prefer only mom, dad, and grandparents in the NICU.  So, if you don't mind visiting just us, feel free, but please don't feel required since it's unlikely you would get to meet Brantley.

I'll update again once we know more!

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