This story is shared to us and written by Mommy Thessa. Be blessed with Inigo's story.
My son’s story is something I wanted to re-write since early last year when I found out that my first online essay was no longer active. I felt bad for not having a hard copy. I feel blessed to be asked to do it again. I remember a mother who tried to reach out through social media but took me almost 2 years to reply. I failed to read the message. This mom felt the same way I did, but unfortunately, her child passed away. I felt a bit of guilt for not responding back. I could have given her words of encouragement or better yet, I should have listened to her heartaches.
I thought that writing my son’s story the second time around will be easier compared to the first. Little did anyone knew that for the past 5 years I suffered in silence. I met a nice lady at church who I think may have sensed what exactly I was thinking. She saved me from the brink of self-destruction. Her intuition was tremendous. She is now good friend and confidant and I thank God for her.
I was engaged when I got pregnant. My wedding dress was almost ready for fitting when I realized it should be redesigned as I will be 5 months pregnant on our wedding day. The designer suggested to do an empire cut gown so I can still have the off shoulder- heart shaped design I always dreamed of. I am a big fan of Disney cartoons so, if you take a closer look at the gowns of most Disney princesses, you can picture what I mean.
I had urinary tract infection since my first trimester of pregnancy and gestational diabetes. On my 4th to 5th month, I was suffering from on and off abdominal cramps and was spotting. I took a leave of absence from the office to be on bed rest until I gave birth. My gynecologist prescribed medicines to keep my baby. I needed to save all the strength and energy for our wedding day. I was not supposed to stand or walk too long. For the first time in my life, I had nothing to do but to lay down and watch TV or read a book the whole day. Deep inside, I knew that if my baby dies, I will never forgive myself.
On June 14, 2012, Inigo was born at 37 weeks. I was so excited to meet this baby who did nothing inside my tummy but to turn around and kick. After 10 hours of labor, my poor baby’s heart rate went up and down. It was definitely a bad sign. The doctor explained that I needed to undergo emergency Caesarian section due to fetal distress. All I can remember next was I was signing a form without even reading it thoroughly and I quickly helped myself to the next bed ready to be wheeled in to the operating room.
I woke up from a nice dream as I felt a brush of cold air on my stomach. I was wondering where I was. I was in twilight but I could clearly hear what the people around me were talking about. The cold air suddenly turned into a cold creeping pain on my stomach. The pain was getting intense that I cried out loud and heard someone asked if I ate anything before I was in labor. I said yes, I ate a peanut butter sandwich. I heard a lady voice saying to increase the anesthesia. I went back to slumber land and continued my good dream.
Another lady voice woke me up after saying I have a baby boy and she will place him carefully on top of my chest. I was in the recovery room. I didn’t feel any emotion when I first saw Inigo, it was unlike how you see it on TV or movies, no such drama. He was just a sleeping baby on top of my chest. I took a closer look at him. I smelled his hair and looked at his eyes. He looks so peaceful and calm. A male nurse came in to say congratulations and said I was ready to be transferred to a private room. My husband was happily waiting outside the recovery room and I can feel the excitement of the first time dad.
As we arrived in the room, antibiotics were immediately given to Inigo via intravenous (IV) line to prevent sepsis. A team of pediatric residents couldn’t find a vein on his hands so they placed the needle on his foot and wrapped it with a clean disposable diaper so it won’t come off. It was an agonizing alternating IV insertion every time a vein collapses. I was quietly cursing every nurse and pediatric resident that came inside our room. They all seem to cause my baby more pain!
Despite my body pain, I was excited to breastfeed my new baby. I pictured myself in a rocking chair humming lullabies. But Inigo wouldn’t latch so my breastmilk couldn’t come out. My breasts were getting sore. I was in so much pain. The manual beast pump, didn’t work. So my husband rushed to the mall to buy an electric breast pump. While waiting, my mom put hot towels on my breast and massage them until she squeezed one and milk came out immediately. It was so painful but I was finally relieved. I tried to latch my baby Inigo again, but he still couldn’t. Since it was way past his feeding time, the pediatrician requested for breastmilk from other moms in the hospital. The nurse came back carrying it in a small cup and they let Inigo drink it from the cup. It was bizarre, but it worked!
On our 4th day in the hospital, Inigo’s skin was turning yellow. I was so terrified! His gums were yellow too. An ultraviolet light or Bili light device was placed near his bassinet. To protect his eyes, a nurse covered it with a ribbon-like piece of gauze. Like a barbecue, he had to be turned to different sides. Inigo was finally discharged after 2 weeks of confinement. I was excited to go home and sleep peacefully. But this traumatic experience was just the beginning of something even more challenging.
Despite our routine morning sun walk, Inigo’s skin still turned yellow. We went back to his pediatrician and was advised to stop breastfeeding within the next 72 hours. Inigo had hyperbilirubinemia and my breastmilk was the source. I quite argued saying that breastmilk contained antibodies, which were important for newborns. But the doctor called it ‘breastmilk jaundice’. Powdered milk was prescribed. I felt so bad knowing that my breastmilk was poisoning my poor tiny baby.
When Inigo was 3 months old, he had pneumonia. We were back in the hospital again. Antibiotics were injected to his tiny legs. My husband and I opened a small canteen with the hope that it will help us financially. I was alone with Inigo most of the time while in the hospital as my husband had to manage the canteen. I had to put warm towels on my baby’s legs after every injection to lessen his pain. It was 2 weeks of agonizing confinement. To also help save a bit on medical expenses, we decided to consult another pediatrician through our company health insurance.
The new pediatrician ordered a routine hearing test to check on his ears after asking about Inigo’s birth history. The doctor was a bit surprised to find out that it was not done immediately after birth. It was supposed to be a standard in hospitals. I had no idea that it should’ve been done earlier, so we immediately went ahead with the hearing test. To my surprise, he failed! Another hearing test was scheduled after 3 months, with the hope that he will pass. But he failed again!
When Inigo was 9 months old, two more tests were requested this time by an ear doctor (ENT). We were introduced to 2 new acronyms, the Brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER), which is a test to measure the brain wave activity that occurs in response to clicks or tones and the Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR), a test to evaluate the hearing ability among young children. But my poor baby failed both, again! It was then that Inigo was detected to have sensorineural hearing loss. The left ear was profound while the right ear was moderate to severe. My husband and I were completely devastated! It was very hard to accept. I was so mad at myself! I was holding my breath long enough so that I will not sob loudly in the clinic.
To be continued.