Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Round 1 of Theo vs. Bacteria

Theo loves the mobile his nurse tracked down for him
We had a wonderful Christmas day with Theo.  He was such a delight; he ate well, slept well, and spent enough of the day awake so that we could open one present and read him O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi (a family tradition).  Dad did a great job reading the story; Grandpa Dave would be proud!

Monday was a different story.  Theo went from being on "auto-pilot" for the nurses and doctors to being time intensive.  All warning signs pointed to infection; first, his dialysate (dialysis fluid) was cloudy after he was drained, and then he refused to take any of his bottle.  Good thing he has a really incredible nurse who caught the changes right away.  When he wouldn't eat any of his bottle, she decided to check his belly to see if it was sensitive, and noticed that he had a hernia in his belly button.  He was also very sensitive to her touching his stomach.  So, she escalated things right away to the neonatologist, and the surgery team and nephrologist were called right away to check out Theo's belly.

Sure enough, once the lab results came back from his dialysate test, it was clear that Theo had an infection in his peritoneal cavity.  (An infection in this cavity is called peritonitis.)  The nephrologist started him on antibiotics that afternoon, and since then he has been recovering.  He is still not eating as well as he had been, and he is sleeping a lot more than he was the previous few days, but that is all to be expected with an infection.  So far, it does not appear that the hernia or catheter will require additional surgery.  We hope this will not change!  After the 14-days of antibiotics, we hope that our little Theo will be back to "normal" behavior.

What does this all mean?  First, it will slow down Theo's homecoming.  More importantly, every instance of peritonitis causes the peritoneal cavity to be compromised.  (For context, peritonitis occurs on average about 1 time per year for PD patients.)  The peritoneal cavity allows for a "closed system" for the dialysis.  If the cavity no longer operates as a closed system because of infections, peritoneal dialysis (aka PD) will not work.  Right now, PD is keeping Theo alive.  We need PD to work until he is big enough for transplant, which usually occurs around 18-24 months of age.

One Tuff Cookie
I continue to be amazed at how well Theo is handling everything.  When we met with the nephrologist for a consultation several months before Theo was born, she warned us the he would do better with PD than Nick or I would.  I think she is right; it is not fun to watch Theo suffer through so much discomfort.  Despite his obvious pain, though, he has made an effort to eat his bottles, often whimpering in between sucks as he deals with a hurting belly.  It is very sad!  Yet, I know that one day all the discomfort he is experiencing, and the numerous tests, surgeries, shots and procedures we are putting him through, will be worth it.  I just hope he agrees!  :)

I hope you all have a very happy New Year!  I say it in almost every post, but it is true; we are so thankful for the outpouring of support and prayer from all of you.  Nick and I are both so calm about everything Theo is going through, and I know that is a testament to all the prayers being said.  We just love Theo and think he is perfect, and will do what we can to give him the best chance at living a "normal," machine-free life. In the meantime, I know he is developing into quite a tough little fellow.  God is good.  We know that, and are so thankful for him allowing us to be Theo's parents.


  1. Natalie and Nick-
    Thank you for taking the time to really explain all of this to us. I am glad that you can affirm that God is good even when we don't understand the big picture. There really IS a big picture.
    Theo is a blessing. Have you seen/heard the song "Blessings" by Laura Story? I was only just now introduced to it. I think you two would like it. There is a good backstory behind the song as well.
    Sending you a big hug and continuing to pray for you three.
    Julie T.

  2. Adam hasnt been sick for over a week now so we are excited to come see you guys and meet little theo. :)

  3. Praying for you three, especially Theo and looking forward to meeting him tomorrow!

  4. Hi Natalie you don't know me but your mother is a friend of mine and she sent me your blog. We are praying for you and trusting that God will use this time to show you more of Himself. We are excited to hear increasingly good news about your dear boy.