Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just Breathe

Monday did not turn out the way I thought it would. I thought we'd go to the pediatrician in the afternoon, and do our grocery shopping on the way home. Instead, we ended up in an ambulance on our way to a local hospital. Talk about a change of plans.

The reason for all that was that Michaela has had a few episodes of apnea lately. It all started on the Fourth of July. It was a very hot day, and I remember that we fed Michaela a bottle before changing her diaper. When my mom picked her up, she told me that Michaela had gone to sleep very quickly and that she was very limp. I put my ear up to her face and I couldn't hear any breath sounds. I told my mom to put her back on the bed, and I jostled her a bit and said her name in a loud voice. She woke up and started breathing again. We all watched her carefully for the rest of the day, and thankfully she did not do that again.

I thought about calling the doctor, but the days went by and nothing like it happened again. However, I did keep thinking about it, and after reading some things online, I decided to purchase a monitor called the Snuza Go! This is a very small monitor that Michaela wears on the waist of her diaper. If the baby doesn't move at least eight times in an hour, the alarm goes off. If the baby doesn't take a breath in 15 or 20 seconds the alarm goes off. The first two nights she wore it, it went off at least once. I simply woke Michaela up and she seemed fine.

When we went to the doctor on Monday, I mentioned three things that I was concerned about:
  1. Michaela's belly button seems to be herniated.
  2. Michaela spits up a lot, and I've got her on a special formula for that.
  3. Michaela seemingly has some sort of apnea.
As for the first concern, Dr. C says that it should correct itself in her first year of life. If not, we'll consider surgery to repair it. And the doctor agreed with my decision to put Michaela on a formula designed for babies with spit up or acid reflux. But, the third concern I mentioned really got her attention. She told me that we'd have to got to the hospital for testing that afternoon.

But, before we left, Michaela needed some vaccinations. By this time she had fallen asleep and we couldn't wake her up. She woke up quickly with the first injection and howled. Poor thing! The last vaccination was administered orally, and she seemed to choke on it. Then she went limp again like she had on the Fourth of July. She came to quickly, but that was enough for the doctor to order us an ambulance to transport us to the hospital.

Over the next two days, Michaela was tested for any abnormalities of the brain, heart, and digestive system. Fortunately, her brain and her heart are normal, but an upper GI showed some reflux. Further testing with a pH probe over a twenty-four hour period confirmed that she has acid reflux. That explains all the spit up.

Michaela snoozing away during her EEG

So, the apnea episodes are caused by her acid reflux. The doctors believe that it is a condition that she will outgrow in the coming months. In the meantime, she is taking a liquid version of Zantac.

It was so heartbreaking and stressful to watch her endure some of the tests. She was inconsolable when they inserted an IV line in her little hand - a line that was never needed, but it was there just in case. Then she was forced to fast for several hours prior to her upper GI, and that was so hard for her. She cried and cried. I was so thankful when that was over! Inserting the pH probe was also very upsetting to her, but once it was in she got used to it fairly quickly. All in all, she had a total of six tubes and/or wires attached to her, and that made it hard to hold her and feed her.

 Michaela with the pH probe

She was a little trooper - flashing gummy smiles at everyone who came in to see her. The doctors and nurses were fantastic, and she won them all over very quickly. I always believed that we'd have a diagnosis that was easily treatable, and I'm so thankful that has turned out to be the case.


  1. Oh Joannah, What a frightening time for you and Michaela! So happy they've been able to figure out what is causing her apnea and are able to treat it. Praying for you...

  2. Oh my how scary! I am glad you were able to get some answers. She is a little trooper!

  3. What a scary day that turned out to be! Oh gosh, I welled up with tears reading this Joannah. I'm SO glad for you that the testing (and grief!) seems to be at an end and that it's easily treatable. THAT right there is a huge key factor. Praying for both of you and hoping that there is more peace in the days to come. Hugs to you and Michaela. :)

  4. Oh, Joannah, what a lot for such a wee one and her mom to endure. Good for you for following your instincts in getting the monitor and for her pedi in requesting the tests STAT!

  5. This would have scared me to death. I'm so glad the doc sent you to the hospital immediately. She looks absolutely precious in that second pic - happy as can be, despite the wires! Thankful they figured out what was causing the apnea and praying she feels better soon.


  6. Oh Joannah!! What a scare!!!! So glad you followed your instincts, and so happy Michaela's issues are treatable!!! She's such a happy little trooper!!! Loving her smiles!!! What a cutie!!!
    Love, prayers and ((Hugs))!!!!
    Jan, John & Jillian Rose

  7. Oh no!!! Testing on babies is never fun. Ever. I am thankful Michaela is going to be fine. I hope you are okay. That is a lot to go through, even with Jesus' help:)

    Acid reflux isn't fun but Zantac worked wonders for my daughter when she had it. I'll be praying that it works for Michaela!

  8. Sounds exactly like what happened to my nephew. He would stop breathing, sometimes turning blue. Had a head to toe in Boston. Ruled out cardiac and seizures. Dx.- Acid Reflux. Very scary. He is now 2 1/2 yo and has outgrown it.
    Believing that Michaela will do the same.


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