Thursday, September 16, 2010

Echo-echo-cho-cho-o

I've talked a little about Elijah's breathing issues on FB, but since I rarely get too personal there, not too many people know what's going on. I admit, I get a little defensive when talking to people about this issue...

Elijah has stopped breathing 7? 8? times now.  I've forgotten how many for sure.  The first time happened when he was maybe 10 months old.  (I'm to lazy to get his baby book).  He was throwing a fit in his crib and I swatted his leg.  He inhaled sharply as all children do when beginning to cry.  I waited, expecting his full fledged cry.  He didn't cry so I patted him on the back... encouraging him to go ahead and cry.  As I patted him, he rolled over into a very un-natural position.  It was at that point I realized something was very wrong.  Keep in mind, he's still not uttered a cry.  I picked him up and realized he was stiff, curled in the fetal position.  Of course, I went balistic, screaming like a maniac for Chris.  I thought Elijah was dead.  By the time Chris realized there was something deadly wrong, I was nearly beside myself and could hardly stand up, much less talk.  Elijah suddenly began to breath and cry.  His complexion was the most horrible color of grey.  His lips were blue, and his eyes were rolled back in his head.  Any wonder why I thought he was dead?

We got passed that episode and the next one didn't occur for quite some time later.  He was at Nanny's playing, fell and hit his head.  Nanny immediately told her friend to call 911 and started praying for him.  He came to without the assitance of 911.  I believe Jesus stepped in on the scene.

I think the third time was one day when he was sitting on the floor, he toppled over and hit his head.  Again, he stopped breathing with the same symptoms.

There was at least one other episode, maybe two, but I can't remember all the details.  I'd done some research online and found something called a pallid breath holding spell.  It is listed as harmless, no treatment, and something the child will have to outgrow.  A friend had told us to breathe in Elijah's face to help - it kind of surprises them and causes a reaction that would "kick start" the breathing again.  We tried this and had good results.  Fast forward to September 4, 2010. 

Elijah was walking out the front door and started down the steps.  He fell, hit his head a bit, but not very hard.  I was right behind him and saw the whole thing happen.  Although I expected his face to be scratched up quite a bit, I didn't expect him to stop breathing.  But he did... and it seemed quite a while before he breathed again.  I tried breathing in his face, but no reaction.  I was headed to the phone to call 911 when he started breathing again.  This was on Saturday...

The following Friday, we were at a relative's home and Elijah was misbehaving.  Daddy swatted his leg as he was picking up Elijah.  Elijah again, inhaled as if to cry, but never cried.  For the longest 30 seconds of my life Elijah stopped breathing again.  We tried breathing in his face, but it didn't work.  I finally ran for a wet washcloth and by the time I got back he was coming around. 

The following Monday, it happened again at Nanny's house.  He hit his head and stopped breathing.  Nanny says the episode didn't last as long as it has in the past, but knowing that it had happened for the third time in 9 days was too much for me.  Each episode has been pretty much the same... stiffness, grey color, eventually going limp before beginning to breathe.  Each time it leaves him wiped out and mellow.  His color is terrible for a while afterwards too.  Each time it's as he's inhaling, as if to cry, but his breath becomes "stuck".  There have been times when he didn't cry after the episode as it seems to wipe out his short term memory. 

We had prayer for him at church this past weekend, but decided to let the doctor check into it too.  Doctor Self wanted to do an echocardiogram today.  I also asked him to check Elijah's iron levels as pallid breathing spells can be tied to anemia (and Elijah has seemed to stay tired recently).  The iron test came back fine... and now we have to wait 7-10 days for the echo results.  The echocardiogram was quite tramatizing for Elijah, especially since he'd just had his finger pricked (whew, that was awful!!!).  I eventually realized holding him down by force wasn't going to work for this 45 minute test and asked if I could try putting him to sleep.  The radiologist agreed... and it worked!  He slept through the bulk of the test.  When he did wake up we were able to distract him enough to finish the test.

The reason I get defensive about this topic is due to the fact there are people who immediatly assume he's throwing a tantrum by holding his breath.  Trust me when I say, these are two very different things.  I have seen a child cry until they lost their breath.  With Elijah, he stops breathing before he ever gets the cry out.  It happens in an instant... not in something he's worked up.  So when someone suggests it's a fit... I naturally want to correct them.

Tonight, he is sleeping peacefully.  Of course, after the day he had, who wouldn't sleep peacefully?  Crying and fighting off three adults is hard work!

I appreciate anyone and everyone's prayers for my little man.  I believe God has healed him, and am believing the doctor will confirm this for me.
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