Does that little face even look sick?
Absolutely not! Which makes this post even sadder to write…
After our holiday last year November, MC and I returned home and little EN started feeling sick – she was showing typical flu symptoms (flushed cheeks, glazed eyes, slight cough, pouring nose and general discomfort). A trip to our GP doctor confirmed that she had tonsillitis – her throat was very red and inflamed and covered in sores. She was prescribed an antibiotic. Over the next few days, she seemed to be better.
In December, we went to London as a family and on Day 4 of our 14 day holiday, EN got sick again – she started with a pouring nose and congestion and she struggled to sleep with her heavy breathing and she struggled to drink from her bottle as she couldn’t breathe through her nose. I also got sick on this trip and we put it down to the freezing cold weather – poor little EN had to stay indoors for the whole holiday!
On our return home in January, she started coughing and wheezing again. Another trip to the GP doctor confirmed she had tonsilitis again. She prescribed another antibiotic and we hoped for the best. A few weeks later, I had to rush her to our local hospital as she was having hour long coughing episodes and it sounded like whooping cough or croup. The paediatrician confirmed that her chest was surprisingly ok but she still had tonsilitis and she was given another antibiotic.
|First trip to hospital… And still all smiles|
|So calm on the nebuliser|
Now a maybe a good time to remind you that little EN was only 8 months old and a 35 week premature baby so she was realistically only 6,5 months old!
After five courses of antibiotics, three months of tonsillitis and then a chest infection, an evening ritual of nebulising her so she could breathe a little easier, I arrived at our paediatrician in tears and begging for answers. He requested blood tests for allergies, blood cell counts and her immunity. I am normally a tough cookie but these blood tests were one of the worst experiences of my life… Little EN is chunky for her age (which is a good thing for a sick baby to have this reserve fat!) but not a good thing when searching for a vein to draw blood. After trying both her hands, and the inside of both her arms, they eventually found a vein in her foot! Her blood was flowing well either so they had to drip the blood out – and fill five vials! My little EN’s screams were heartbreaking!
Last week, our paediatrician (who is the best in the country and the nicest and most caring man in the world!) called to say he needed to discuss EN’s blood results. The good news was that she has no allergies or baby asthma and her blood cell count is normal but her immunity is extremely low.
To try and explain it in the simplest possible way:
Our immune system is made up of three layers of immunoglobulins: the first layer is your IgA which is found in mucous membranes like respiratory tract and gut, your second layer is your IgM which is found in the blood and lymph fluid and is made by the body to fight infection and finally, your IgG which is found in all body fluids and protects against viral and bacterial infections as well as stores your immune memory after having your vaccinations as a child.
Unfortunately, EN is 1 in 3000 babies that has little to no IgA and IgG immunity. Her levels are extremely and as a result, her body hasn’t fought off any of the infections she has had and it won’t until these levels have increased. On top of this, her IgG immunoglobulins show that none of her previous vaccinations have been successful.
As sad as it is that our little tot has a long road of recovery and medical shots and medication ahead of her, we are glad that we have found the reason she hasn’t been getting any better and we are so grateful that we can fix the problem. We can also count our lucky starts that she only developed a tonsil and chest infection that she has managed to keep at bay rather than something more fatal like German measles or meningitis.
Our paediatrician has recommended a dose of immune boosting shots, as well as the flu vaccination and all her previous vaccinations again which we will probably do next week. She is also on a low dose of a mild antibiotic, twice a day, indefinitely. We also have to be very careful not to expose her to any other infections so she has been confined to staying at home as the outside world is full of nasty and unknown germs.
Please pray for our little EN, and I will be sure to update you on her progress soon.