“February 21, 2012, I went into preterm labor and delivered a beautiful baby boy into the world at 5:46pm. He was 32 weeks gestation and weighed 3lbs 11oz and 17in long. I got to see him briefly before he was taken to the NICU and would spend his 1st 37 days of life. Because he was born to soon his lungs weren’t fully developed and was placed on oxygen to help him breathe. When he was 10 hours old I was finally able to see him. He was so tiny and fragile, the size of my husband’s hand. After 24 hours he was breathing on his own and taken off oxygen. He was a little fighter. Our goal was to gain weight and be able to drink 2-3oz from a bottle. He was doing great and was promoted after 2 weeks later to the progression room, closer to coming home.
2 days later his heart rate decreased, and he was struggling to breathe. I questioned the staff and was told it was normal. I knew it wasn’t and feared for the worse. As I went home for the night at the Ronald McDonald House we received a phone call that our little boy was rushed back into the NICU and they didn’t know what was wrong with him. The doctor needed to do a spinal tap and x-ray of his chest. He had liquid built up against his right lung causing all his discomfort. They drained it with a needle and a couple hours later it was back. They were clueless on what was happening to our baby and had to call multiple hospitals across the country to see if anyone has seen or heard of this before.
It was an agonizing time for us because no one knew what was happening to our baby and we didn’t know if he was going to make it or not. Luckily a doctor from John Hopkins had a diagnosis for us. Our little Jeremiah developed chylothorax. The fat from my breastmilk was collecting next to his lungs instead of being distributed to his cells. Jeremiah had a chest tube inserted in his rib cage to drain the fat. The doctor told us and the staff he couldn’t eat for 3 days, he would get his nutrients from the IV and as long as the tube was in his chest we couldn’t hold him. It took 3 days for them to figure out what type of formula had a low fat/no fat for him to be able to drink to not cause this again. Jeremiah was making progress and no longer had fat collecting next to his lung. The tube was removed, and we could finally hold him again.
Jeremiah was finally able to go back to the progression room and after a long hard 37 days Jeremiah was finally able to go home. I thank the NICU staff for keeping my baby safe and cared for while he was there. Today he has no problems from chylothorax and is a healthy, happy 6 year old.”