Friday, 8 May 2015

Levi's Story.....

Adin shares her story about the birth and death of her precious son, Levi.

"Just recently I read an excerpt contributed by Deborah L. Davis PhD from 
the book "Never Forgotten".  She wrote "it may help you to remember
that you were in the impossible position of having to 
choose between terrible and horrible.” I have a profound connection 
with this statement, and it provides me with bittersweet comfort."

I was always afraid of becoming a mother because I was scared my baby might die.
There wasn't one thing that particularly scared me. I was scared of the “what if’s?” In my head I resolved to the fact that every prospective parent must worry at some point about these things. It comforted me to know that over one hundred billion people have ever been born, and of the seven billion on the planet right now, the average life expectancy was about 70 years of age. Millions, no, billions of people do this parenting thing every day. So surely I could?
So, I did.

And guess what? My baby died.

Actually, that’s a selfish thing to say.

Our baby died.

My husband lost his baby too.

Our first child, a son, Levi Duxbury Hewat was born on at 4.58pm on Saturday 8 November 2014 at 38 weeks exactly, and was 2.92kg and 49cm of perfection.
Levi died six days later.
Surprisingly, when I fell pregnant the fears I had weren’t really bothering me and we had 38 weeks of joy, excitement and anticipation. I was fortunate to be one of those enviable women with a ‘breezy’ pregnancy (thank you, Levi).  
I was due to finish work on 7 November. Levi had other plans. My membranes ruptured on Thursday 6 November.
We went to the hospital for a check-up that afternoon. It seemed my membranes hadn't ruptured completely, and all was looking OK, so I was given the option to join the queue for an induction or go home to await the natural onset of labour. We chose to wait and get one last good night’s sleep in (Ha! We didn't sleep a wink). We were advised to return to the hospital the following morning if nothing was happening. Apparently the vast majority of women will go into labour naturally, and are likely to give birth within 24 hours of a rupture. I’m one of the minority.

We returned to the hospital on the Friday morning. Again we had the option to join the queue for an induction that day or go home to await the natural onset of labour. This time we chose the induction.

The labour was long and difficult: medical staff struggled to insert the cannula; nine hours after contractions commenced I requested pain relief and it made me vomit (hard to do ‘nicely’ when you’re contracting); several hours later I opted for an epidural. The first attempt resulted in a dural tap, so the anesthetist gave it a second go. A short while after the epidural kicked in there was a prolonged fall in Levi’s heart rate and I was being prepped for an emergency caesarean. Levi’s heart rate recovered, and labour continued as before. Late into afternoon I was able to start pushing. Over an hour later the doctor was called to perform a vacuum assisted delivery. Around fifteen minutes later, our Levi was born.

After the birth, Levi was administered oxygen. Eventually, he was placed on my chest for a few minutes. He had big, dark eyes, my lips, and his Dad’s dimple. He is the cutest baby I have ever seen. Because Levi was administered oxygen, he was going to the special care nursery for observation and I was going into the theatre room to receive a blood patch following the dural puncture.

While Levi was in the SCN staff saw him have a seizure so he was moved to the Neonatal Critical Care Unit and was being monitored by an EEG machine. The second time I saw my son he was covered in wires. He was in an open crib so whilst we were unable to cuddle him we could gently cup his feet or hold his hand. He was to be given an MRI and a lumbar puncture to determine or rule out possible causes of the seizures. Throughout the next 48 hours, my husband and I along with our family members would sit with Levi and wait for updates on his condition. The seizures seemed to have subsided, initial blood tests came back clear, the EEG and the majority of the wires were removed. The lumbar puncture however wasn’t successful and he was still waiting for his MRI.

By the Monday evening, and throughout Tuesday, Levi’s condition was stable, or at least hadn't regressed. In fact on the Tuesday evening, the clinical nurse was going to arrange for us to have a cuddle. The nurse told us to go and have dinner and by the time we finished, she would get him ready for to nurse. In the time it took to have dinner Levi’s condition deteriorated. I can’t recall exactly what happened, but we weren't able to get our cuddle with him that night. They tried another lumbar puncture, but again it was unsuccessful.

The following day was tense, and they were hoping that the MRI would go ahead. The doctors felt that Levi was battling an infection and more seizures were visible. They suspected Levi had E.coli which more than likely meant he would also have meningitis. As such, they began treating him for E.coli and meningitis. That afternoon they took more blood cultures and put Levi back on the EEG machine for some testing before he was finally taken for his MRI.

It was later confirmed that Levi had E.coli and the strand of E.coli he had was resistant to the usual E.coli medication that is prescribed. He would still be treated for meningitis, however they were unable to confirm or rule this out due to the unsuccessful lumbar punctures. A neurologist also confirmed that the lesion on Levi’s brain was the result of a stroke, but they were unable to confirm if it occurred in utero (causing my membranes to rupture), during labour, or was exacerbated by his vacuum delivery.

I was hoping the first time I had to write out Levi’s name was on his birth registration. Instead I was  days into motherhood and filling out his details so he could receive blood, platelet transfusions, further brain testing, and various other interventions. As it would happen, we would sign and pay for his funeral before we would lodge his record of birth.

It was apparent that Levi’s infection was taking over his body. His blood wasn’t clotting properly and the platelet transfusions weren't working. The E.coli, which was septic, was compromising Levi’s organs, and as such he was put on further support. He was being administered a number of medications to combat the infection and seizures, and as a result his body was becoming swollen. The seizures became more apparent, but no one was sure if that was a result of the stroke, or the infection taking over his body, or both.
Just recently I read an excerpt contributed by Deborah L. Davis PhD from the book “Never Forgotten.” She wrote “it may help you to remember that you were in the impossible position of having to choose between terrible and horrible.” I have a profound connection with this statement, and it provides me with bittersweet comfort.

The doctors conceded that Levi was receiving the maximum dosage of medication that his body could handle. His seizures were occurring almost every minute and were distressing to witness, and we was becoming unresponsive to stimuli.

The afternoon of Friday 14 November 2014 my husband and I made the decision to withdraw Levi’s life support.

We had time to notify our immediate families, enabling those who were able, the opportunity to say goodbye (and hello in some cases). The hospital arranged a blessing and we were fortunate to have a volunteer from Heartfelt come and take some photographs.

When the machines were turned off I got to hold Levi for the second time, but my husband got to hold his son for the very first time. We held Levi; kissed Levi; talked to Levi; bathed and dressed Levi (we were terrible at it); and held him some more. We had the opportunity to say good bye and tell him how much we loved him. We are very thankful for that.

Levi had been born, lived, died, and farewelled all before his estimate due date arrived. It’s been almost six months since then. My husband and I have our daily memorial rituals that keep him alive in our hearts and our home. We’ve had help and love from family and friends, and sought help from organisations such as SANDS and SIDS and Kids. We just want to live a life that honours Levi and makes him proud of us.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be running in the 2015 Mother’s Day Classic. When I was pregnant the 8km fun run was my personal ‘benchmark’ event to aim for in my post-natal fitness quest. I was going to push Levi around the course. Exercise has been a big part of my therapy, and as it turns out, Levi’s going to be the one pushing me.  
By Adin  – Levi’s Mum
27 April 2015.

If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Adin Hewat

Adin loves camping, the beach, travelling, quizzes, puns, (bad) dancing, (really bad) karaoke, and shamelessly laughing at her own jokes.  She hates clutter, is scared of dogs, won’t eat fruits touching and struggles to swallow tablets.  Adin is a wife to Adrian and a Mum to Levi who passed away in November 2014 at six days’ of age. She currently lives in Brisbane but supports NSW in the State of Origin

No comments:

Post a Comment