Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saving Babies

Dear Readers,
I don't often post things like this, but this is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. After Stevie died, one of the first places I stumbled upon as I was scouring the internet looking for support, was Cora's Story. Over the last (almost) two years, I have gotten to know baby Cora and her amazing mother, Kristine. Cora passed away when she was just five days old because of an undetected congenital heart defect (CHD). Since her daughter's death, Kristine has worked tirelessly to prevent the same tragedy from happening to other babies, other families, by advocating that a simple life-saving screening procedure--pulse oximetry--be given to all newborns before they leave the hospital.

I'll admit it. I had no clue what pulse oximetry was before meeting Kristine. I also had no idea that there were other newborn screenings that I could choose to have performed on Elliot after he was born. I was so hyper-vigilant about making sure he was monitored for every possible complication during my pregnancy, yet I was completely clueless about how to make sure he was checked for potential life-threatening complications after birth.

Thankfully, I learned more about what newborn screenings to make sure to ask for through my relationship with Kristine, and through the Savebabies website, in the weeks before Elliot was born.

Our first night in the hospital after Elliot was born, I asked the night nurse if we could have the pulse oximetry screening done (in addition to the other screenings they had already performed). She gave me a funny look and said they normally didn't do that unless there were signs of a problem. I told her all about Cora. How there were no 'signs of a problem' for her either, and that I would sleep better that night (I didn't realize yet that I wouldn't really be sleeping at all for the next few weeks anyway, ha!) knowing my son had been screened. The test took all of two minutes, and as you can see from the picture below, Elliot clearly wasn't too bothered by it :)

Not all states require all the newborn screenings your baby should receive (like I said, Minnesota, for example, doesn't do the pulse oximetry unless requested), so its really important to be aware of suplemental screenings before your child is born. It's also important to know how to follow up and get the results. Savebabies is a nonprofit organization that provides this crucial information. I want to encourage you to learn more and stay informed by following Savebabies on Twitter, Facebook, and by signing up for their Save Babies Newsletter

Also, if you're a fellow blogger and would like to help get this important information out to more people, please check out Blogging for Babies. Together, we can make sure that all parents and parents-to-be are armed with the tools and information they need to be the best advocates possible for their babies.

Lastly, please watch and consider sharing the video below. Thanks for your time and support, friends! More pictures of E's second week coming soon! :)


**I am a paid Save Babies Through Blogging Ambassador but everything I've written above is sincere and the opinions are my own**


Holly said...

I def plan on asking for the pulse ox

Kristine Brite McCormick said...

Thanks Kristin for talking about pulse ox, and all of the other vitally important screenings. xoxo

SG said...

Thank you so much for posting this! Doing research into newborn screening was on my third trimester to-do list, and you have made it so much easier :)

Sarah said...

Thanks so much for that information, Kristin. I live in New Zealand, but if I'm lucky enough to end up with a live baby, I will now definitely look into what newborn screening tests are available here. I never even heard of these. -Sarah

CourtneyAnna said...

My son's life was saved by this procedure. When he was born, his had low O2 that was attributed to him being 3 weeks early. We then found out he had a life threatening heart condition called Tetrology of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia.
He was life flighted to Children's Minneapolis and had open heart surgery at 3 days old. He now has a shunt in his heart and we will be back in Minneapolis on May 17th where he will have a second open heart surgery to receive an artifical pulmonary valve. He is such a little miracle and I am so glad they have this test. It saved my son's life.
Thank you for sharing this story. It is important that mothers and fathers know all the testing that can be done.

Cathy said...

Hi Kristin,
I recently did some research into this subject. Please pass along that this test needs to be done after 24 hours of age, and detects only certain kinds of heart disease-not all. Any parent still needs to look for rapid breathing, bluish coloring and changes in behavior like poor feedings as signs of illness. I always advice parents to follow their instincts about their baby. Even if your pediatrician says to wait, either insist on being seen or go to the ER.
I'm so glad your little boy is doing fine. I'm on vacation with my own rainbow- now 17. Enjoy!

Crystal said...

Thank you for sharing!!

SG said...

Our little girl has arrived safely and I wanted to come back again and say thanks. We were confident in our requests in the hospital for additional screening and explained why to the nurses and doctors.

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