So we took him home….not knowing that after less than 12 hours home with us, he would have gone into cardiac arrest caused by dehydration. And the best advice I was given by one of his NICU doctors while he was on life support is sure breast is best, but follow with the bottle.
This way you know your baby has eaten enough….if only I could go back in time.
Landon continued to continuously breastfeed at home and was found unresponsive, pulseless and blue after eventually falling asleep from cluster-feeding. His parents called 911. Per EMS, he was asystolic (no heart rate) and he received CPR en route to the local ER. By the time they arrived to the ER, he was found to have pulseless electrical activity (heart rate with no blood pressure). There, he was intubated and received several rounds of epinephrine. He was hypothermic with a temperature of 93.1 F. After 30 minutes of CPR, no cardiac activity was found on ultrasound. With parental consent, CPR was stopped and he was left on the ventilator while continuing to receive IV saline. 20 minutes later, with IV fluids, he regained his pulse. He was transferred to a level II NICU to get the head cooling protocol for babies that experience brain injury. He was diagnosed with hypernatremic dehydration and cardiac arrest from hypovolemic shock.
I still have many, many days of guilt and questions – what if I would’ve just given him a bottle? And anger because how would I have known. I remember when Stella was born, and she was always quiet. I kept asking the nurses what was wrong with her. They said nothing. She’s doing what she’s supposed to. Sleeping. Eating. And it was then that I realized that it wasn’t normal for a newborn to cry as much as Landon did. He was just crying out from his hunger. But I didn’t know. I should’ve known. I still struggle daily feeling as though I failed him.