Today, I wanted to write about something that I have a really hard time talking about or even thinking about. But, 1) it is good for me to get it out and 2) I write a lot about Quinn’s doctor’s appointments, etc. so you might be wondering what happened. It’s a very dense post so grab your drink…
It all started when I weaned Quinn from breastfeeding. His tummy started to get distended. We thought it might be a milk allergy so we switched him to almond milk. It seemed to help a little but his tummy was still quite big. We took him to an appointment and they found that his hemoglobin level was low. We took him to a GI specialist and a blood specialist and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him. Fast forward a year, and he had just turned 2. It was Easter Sunday, I was 5 months pregnant with Brexton, and we were over at my in-laws for Easter dinner. We were just hanging out playing and Quinn went up to my mother-in-law and said “Owie” and pointed to his throat. My mother-in-law picked him up to give his “owie” a kiss. He then lost all color, went limp and started turning blue. My in-laws live 30 minutes away from the closest hospital so we jumped in the van. I had no shoes on and Quinn was only in a diaper. I had no diaper bag or purse or phone. We left Kirby with my mother-in-law. My husband and father-in-law are both firefighters so while my husband was driving, my father-in-law was working on Quinn in the back seat. I sat in the front seat just a mess, praying out loud that my baby would be ok.
We made it to the hospital and Quinn’s color started to come back and he started to respond a little bit. All of his vitals came back ok and they were getting ready to discharge us. He then started to throw up a lot of blood. They rushed him into a different room, started the IVs and called in a helicopter. They told me that my little momma’s boy baby was going to be medflighted to Rochester, MN. They told us that we would not be able to go with him. As if I wasn’t freaking out enough, this freaked me out even more. My baby had to go on a helicopter with complete strangers by himself. Even as I write this, I get tears in my eyes. I have never prayed so hard in my life as I did at that moment. I prayed that my little boy would be comforted in the scary time. I sat on the chair in the room, while Seth stayed by Quinn and sobbed hysterically. My sweet father-in-law asked the nurse for a wet washcloth and wiped the blood off of my feet and arm. At this point, my mother-in-law showed up with Kirby and brought the diaper bag and my phone. After they took Quinn to get him on the helicopter, my mother-in-law drove Seth and I to Rochester, the longest 2 hour drive of my life.
When we got to the hospital we practically ran to the front desk where they told us that Quinn was in the pediatric ICU and told us how to get there. When we walked into the room, he was sitting on a nurses lap, screaming, while they took blood samples. We talked to a doctor until they were done and I grabbed my baby and held him close. They still didn’t know what was going on but they hooked him up to machines and were going to run tests the next day. He threw up blood two more times that night. The next day, they put him under and scoped his esophagus and found that he had esophageal varices and that one had ruptured, causing him to bleed internally. They did a couple more tests – a CT scan and an ultrasound and found that he has a blood clot in the Portal Vein that leads to his liver. This caused veins to grow throughout his body to compensate for that clot. One of the places that they grew was in his esophagus. Something happened and he knicked one of those veins causing him to bleed internally. The doctors were able to band the two biggest varices while they were scoping. While in the hospital, Quinn had to have two blood transfusions as his hemoglobin levels had dropped so low. We met with a surgeon and were told that there was a surgery that they could try where they would take a vein from somewhere else in Quinn’s body and attach it to the liver so that it would essentially bypass the portal vein and allow blood to flow into his liver. We were in the ICU for three days and then were moved to the regular pediatric floor.
When we got home, we had to have two adults with Quinn at all times in case he had another episode. That way if something did happen then someone would be able to drive to the hospital and the other person would be able to hold Quinn. He was on a strict diet of only soft foods so that the bands on his varices wouldn’t fall off. We had to stay close to our hospital as they stocked the medication that he would need if he had another episode. If was a very scary two months before his surgery. I was obviously very worried about Quinn, but I was also worried about how all the stress would affect my unborn baby (Brexton). I was also worried about how everything would affect Kirby.
Quinn had a couple more procedures done in those two months between the first hospital visit and his surgery. One was to band a couple more varices and the other was to inject die in his sides to see how the blood was flowing through his veins so that they could have a good idea of what was going on before they went in for the surgery.
On June 15, 2017, Quinn underwent a 7 hour operation. I have never been so anxious and scared in all my life. The surgery ended up being successful! He did have another blood transfusion while in surgery. We stayed in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) for 3 days while they monitored his progress. They had to take blood 3-4 times a day to monitor his hemoglobin levels. When he was in surgery, they had to catheter him. They had to leave this in for a couple of days so that they could monitor his urine levels. They took out the catheter, but Quinn was not able to pee on his own so they had to catheter him two more times during the night. After the second time that he was cathed, they came in to take blood. He cried so hard that he peed on his own. I felt so helpless and wanted to scream for them to leave my baby alone. But, I knew that this was helping him and that it was what was best for him. So, I prayed and prayed and prayed for him to be comforted through this whole ordeal. After 3 days in the PICU, we were transferred to the regular pediatric floor. They slowly started introducing fluids and foods and he was so excited to be able to eat and drink again.
After 7 total days in the hospital, we were released to go home. Quinn had to have shots (blood thinners) twice a day in the stomach. Seth was such a trooper giving these shots to him. So on top of a huge cut in his tummy, he now had bruises as well. Quinn recovered so well and only had to take Tylenol for the pain.
Today, Quinn is doing well and his shunt is open and blood is flowing well into his liver. There were and are SO many prayers offered for little Quinn and for our family during this difficult time and I absolutely know that it is because of those prayers that Quinn is doing so well and Brexton is here healthy and happy.
This was by far the hardest time in my life. To watch your baby go through something like that and not be able to help them is awful. I prayed so much during this trial and I know that Heavenly Father answered my prayers, and continues to answer our prayers. It is because of these answered prayers that we are able to make it through this trial. We have seen so many blessings and miracles during this difficult time. I am beyond grateful that I still get to hug and kiss my little boy each day. I thank my Heavenly Father every day. To play with him and sing songs with him. Being a mom is not easy, but I have never done anything in my life more worth it. To all three of my babies, I love you more than you will ever know. You are my heart and soul. Xoxo.