Last Friday, we took Mabel in for an MRI. Her original diagnoses from China were brain related, but we had no real documentation or test results for the doctors to refer to here so an MRI was ordered for her.
Headed into the MRI. Babies in hospital gowns are adorable.
As per our instructions from the hospital, Mabel went into the MRI appointment fasting. In fact, she hadn't eaten anything since about 7pm the night before, something we didn't think much of during the appointment. The MRI went well and she came out of the anesthesia normally, crying and a little angry. She had something to drink and we strapped her into the baby carrier, checked out, and left.
I'm not the kind of mom that sits in the back of the car next to the car seat. I don't even do that on the way home from the hospital with my newborn. Mabel was still acting a bit fussy, so, out of character, I decided to sit in the back with her. And then I changed my mind because with two car seats in the back of our Accord, it's a big snug. Still listening to her cry, I shoved the car seats over to make room and sat down. Zak even asked several times if I was sure (knowing my aversion to sitting in the back).
Because none of us had eaten for several hours, we headed from the hospital to a nearby Chick-fil-a. Being lunchtime, the drive through was quite crowded. As we got up to the speaker to take our order, I noticed that Mabel had become quite quiet and her face and lips were turning white. Starting to panic, I felt and watched her chest, but it wasn't moving. I started yelling at Zak that she wasn't breathing and then she collapsed like a rag doll. Her eyes were still open but she was completely unresponsive. At that point, no one was in front of us, so Zak sped out of the parking lot and headed back to the hospital. I was pinching her cheeks, yelling her name, trying to listen to see if she still had a heart beat, and began doing compressions because I couldn't tell. I didn't want to take her out of the carseat for fear we'd end up in an accident. It was literally the scariest moments of my life. I honestly could not tell if she was still alive or not.
We pulled up to the ER (thank goodness we hadn't gone far) and I rushed in with Mabel. I threw my ID at the front desk and followed the nurse into a room where a doctor began working on her right away. As we walked out of the waiting room, the nurse asked me if the twitching was normal behavior. Because I was holding Mabel close to my chest, I couldn't see exactly what was going on, but the nurse said it looked like a seizure. As the doctor rushed to get Mabel stabilized, I could see that she was continuing to seize. They put an oxygen mask on her as well as hooked her up to monitors and then five more emergency personnel rushed in. Then ten. I stood near her head, watching them work, whispering to my unresponsive baby, and feeling completely helpless. I couldn't even understand half of the things that they were yelling to each other.
Cutting a shirt off in the ER....not something they just do on TV dramas.
Finally she began breathing on her own, but was still unconscious. We texted our parents to let them know what we knew (which wasn't much), and Mandy to ask her to get the kids off the bus. Mabel was still continuing to have seizures. The doctor had ordered several labs and discovered that her glucose level was 12. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but now I understand that it was the cause for the seizures, breathing troubles, and unconsciousness. Basically her body was shutting down.
After discovering this major problem, they gave her a couple doses of Glucagone (like a sugar epi pen) through an IV to try and get her sugar levels up, though it was still quite touch and go for a couple of hours. It was so so scary. In fact, even after the three hours in the ER and moving us to the ICU, her sugar levels were still dangerously low for about 7 more hours. They would give her a shot of Glucagone, which should shoot your levels quite high, but it would go up to 100 and then fifteen minutes later would drop back down to 40. A neurologist came in and talked to us about the long term effects an episode like this could have and that was also very daunting.
Zak was able to have our friend Ammon come and give Mabel a blessing in the ER and we are so grateful to him. As another miracle, he randomly decided to drive his wife's large SUV to the hospital. Right before reaching the hospital, Ammon was stopped at a flooded road (it had been raining and there had been flash flood warnings all morning). He said that in his car, he would have had to turn around and find another way or worse yet, would have gotten stuck, but in the SUV, the flooded road wasn't a problem and he was able to get to us in the hospital. The Lord is in the details.
Mabel was unconscious until about 6pm and then finally woke up. We were so relieved, but still a little worried about whether or not there would be long term effects. The neurologist, endocrinologist, and ICU doctors met with us, but no one really had any answers. The reason for her ER visit had been dubbed a hypoglycemic episode, but none of the doctors could explain the underlying reasons. Children normally have no problems with fasting for an MRI and her blood sugar dropping so low was extremely abnormal.
Groggy baby in the ICU
After 2.5 days in the ICU, when Mabel was acting pretty normally, had consistently stable blood sugar levels, and was eating solid food again, we were discharged with glucose monitors, lots of doctors appointments, and the instructions to never let her fast for any reason. In fact, we aren't supposed to let her go more than 12 hours (night time) without eating. They aren't sure if the sedation that was used acted as a factor in the problems or not, so we are also supposed to avoid that particular medication. We still don't have many answers, but some of the tests that have been done are coming back with clues that may all connect together. And, interestingly, they are all medical issues we would not have discovered without a stay in the ICU. Silver linings.
Our family is blessed to have the most amazing support system around us. I don't know how we deserve the incredible people in our life. Meals, watching the older kids, visits in the hospital, Priesthood blessings, phone calls, texts, prayers, rides for the older kids...they basically ran our life for us so we could focus on Mabel. I'm overwhelmed with love for friends that go above and beyond.
We are very very grateful for the miracles that we witnessed this weekend. It is a testament that Mabel is indeed supposed to be a part of our family. Her life was spared and we feel extremely blessed. Zak and I have played through the "what ifs" in the days since. The biggest one: what if I would not have sat in the back? The answer is, our little girl would have died. It was that close. Too close. We are so grateful for that prompting from a loving Heavenly Father. If we would have lost her, I don't think I would have ever recovered.
At home. Back to being silly and smiley.
Now that we are home, Mabel is back to her normal hungry caterpillar, peek-a-boo obsessed ways. We are so relieved and feel amazingly blessed to have our sweet Miss Mabel.