by Elise Bowerman
Is this my life-story? I’m going to be a woman who lost her infant son?! I know this happens, but I can’t believe it's happening to me…
Those were my thoughts as I sat in an ER chair as white robes swarmed my almost five-month old son. There was nothing more I could do. I let go. I sat silent; in shock.
Two days earlier my son woke up not wanting to breast or bottle feed. I knew something drastically was wrong. My instincts were to get him to our homeopath immediately, but he was out of town for two more days. So, I waited.
As I did everything holistically under the sun to get my baby feeling better I knew he needed to go to a hospital. His lethargy increased as time passed.
I feared the hospital. My mother put stories in my head of how I’ll be left in the waiting room- away from my son - while the doctors work on him without my consent. How they will give him invasive treatment. How they will give him shots without my consent. How in the dark I will be of what “actually” happened while he was being treated.
Since my mother was a mother, and my own mother – I trusted her. I had no confidence in caring for my own child; I was lost postpartum. No other “mother” figure was in the trenches with me. She’s all I had. So I listened... despite my gut screaming to go the hospital.
Finally, the day arrived when our homeopath returned to town. My mom came with me before the office even opened so the doctor would see my baby first. All it took was the assistant to see my son, call the doctor and the doctor to tell me over the phone to get to the hospital – NOW.
This is what I knew all along! Why didn’t I listen to myself?!
So, I sat in silence. White robes surrounding the table to the point I could no longer see my baby.
Then a doctor came over to me to tell me how lucky I am we chose that hospital. They had to do an IO (intraosseous infusion) where they drill into the shin bone (tibia) marrow to provide fluids since an IV could not be established. Not many hospitals in Michigan had IO’s as an option, as it was/is fairly new to hospital use. (Typically, IO’s are given to injured soldiers during combat.)
Once his blood was tested, it showed the white blood cells were attacking the red blood cells. He had lost 80% of the red blood cells. An immediate blood transfusion took place, which my husband was by his side holding the oxygen mask the entire time!
Once in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) I noticed his right leg swelling. I asked the nurses to look at it a few times before a doctor became concerned. Now, my baby has a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) as a complication from the blood transfusion!
My son was a trooper. His final diagnosis was idiopathic autoimmune hemolytic anemia with a complication diagnosis of DVT. He stayed in the hospital for five days. My husband and I took turns staying with him. He was never alone. In order to be released into my care I had to prove to the staff I could/would inject a blood thinner into his tiny thigh once a day.
Going back to our arrival at he hospital: my mother left me, and we didn’t speak for weeks. We got back to talking for one or two more months before she abandoned my son and I, again. She wouldn’t see my son, or meet my daughter for another six years.
Once home, getting life back in order I found my holistic support team not being proactive in getting my son off the medications and injections. All they said was to keep on doing what the hospital recommended, and then when it’s all over they’ll rebuild his gut and immune system. That’s when I realized they couldn’t be liable for taking him off anything. I had to make the decision to be proactive.
Six months of injections, steroids and reflux medications was the hospital recommendation.
I called my Nutrition Response Testing practitioner and chiropractor about a week after he was released. I told her she needed to see my son the next day, and every other day after that until his body stabilized as I was taking him off the medications. She needed to make sure his heart, gut, kidneys, and liver were working in full capacity.
She did. He was off all medications within ten days of being released from the hospital.
Three weeks later the hospital provided an ultrasound to check the DVT. Initially they wanted to wait six months for a recheck, but I emphatically negotiated an early recheck.
No DVT in sight!
Today my son is your typical non-medicated, healthy kid – playing with friends, reading, and loving Star Wars.
But for less than 10 days of using the steroids it took about six months to lose the extra puffiness. Seven years later and his right leg is only slightly more swollen than the left from the DVT. No one really notices, but this on-alert mother.
He also got severe eczema on his right leg after the hospitalization. It’s almost healed now. It has been an intense process of detoxing and food elimination to clean out his gut.
I share this piece of my very personal life story, because it was this experience which catapulted me to become the woman and mother I’ve always wanted to be. No longer would I allow another person’s life-journey to over power my instincts. I learned to become compassionate with myself, and to speak up - which reflects in the way I care for my children. It also ignited my passion for supporting women in their childbearing years!
Being human is complicated. We're like an onion with multiple layers unfolding to discover the reasons of why we do what. What I know to be true - and always right - is developing the ability to listen to the gut feelings and following them... even when the information we have says otherwise.