Monday, October 27, 2008

Persistent Fetal Circulation or Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN), A Truly Frightening Thing

Here is the first picture of my baby Wyatt! Even though he is as cute as a button, I confess I still find this picture hard to look at. He was so desperately ill at the time.

I knew something was wrong moments after Wyatt was born. Almost everyone in the operating theater were laughing and commenting on how big he was. My OBGYN joked that she wished she wore her rain boots during the C-section because there was so much water. The anaesthesiologist was talking to my husband, Leonard, saying this was the biggest baby he'd ever seen born in his over 30 year career. I was only partially listening because I was trying to hear what I desperately wanted to hear for the last 39 weeks. But there was only silence.

I kept asking "What's wrong with my baby? Is he alright?" One nurse came over to me and said he was having a little trouble but not to worry. That spiked my fear, but then I heard a weak grunt and someone said, "That's your baby boy talking to you, Mom!" He made a sound so he must be fine, right? What a relief! He was darted out of the room so fast, I only got a glimpse of him. I stayed in surgery for about another hour due to a damaged ovary, but it could not be saved.

While in the recovery room, my husband, Father and Mother chatted with me. My two little girls, 5 year old Tressa and my 2 year old Lila came in as my parents stepped out. We were all so excited. Leonard, my mum and dad all stepped out to see Wyatt. Leonard's parents came in and took the girls out. Leonard came in again with my parents and said something to me. Shocked, I looked into my mother's and father's tear-filled eyes as mum pressed her Rosary into my hand. "Don't let go of this, keep it with you at all times and pray for our new little baby. This is really serious." My memory is not always the best due to my head injury from the accident I had on March 4, 2008, but I remember crying my heart out. My OBGYN, Dr. M., was crying when she came in to see me.
Much later, when I was in my room, Dr. S., one of the pediatricians came in to see me about Wyatt. He grimly told me that Wyatt had "acute persistent fetal circulation." Wyatt's little body basically still thought it was in the womb and oxygen was not circulating through his body. It was extremely serious, so serious that Wyatt could not be air lifted to Toronto Sick Kids Hospital or to the IWK for sick kids in Halifax. He would die in transit.

We waited, and waited to see him, but they were still trying to stabilize him. Around midnight, my brothers Ken and Kris arrived after a 2 hour drive, collecting Priests and Padres along the way. Ken had arranged Wyatt's baptism and we held it in the NICU. I could not thank my brothers enough.

Wyatt was so sick, I couldn't hold him, touch him or even speak to him. No loud noises were allowed around him. He had to be in a "womb" like state with no stimulus and I remember holding my breath every time a nurse would touch him because his stats would "crash." This is a picture of me touching Wyatt at his baptism. It was only for a moment and I treasured it for the days that followed.


Jon and Maria Fage said...

Hi Melissa! I saw your family's story in the Gleaner's online edition today and wanted to contact you. I remember you from elementary school and remember Leonard from my grade 12 English class (the great Mr. McFadden) I am the proud dad of a new 7 month-old baby boy, and while I can't identify with your challenges, I can identify with your love for Wyatt. My wife, Maria, and I will be in Fredericton at Christmas and would love to wish your family the best in person. We may be reached at

Cheers, Jon and Maria Fage, Guelph, Ontario

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