A little under 18 months ago, we went from being in a happy little newborn bubble with Benjamin to being thrown straight into the middle of every parent’s worse nightmare. One day we were at home, snuggling up watching Christmas films and looking forward to the last, manic weekend before the big man in red came. The next, we were sitting in the children’s high dependency unit at the local hospital, with our three week old hooked up to drips and monitors. For 24 hours, we weren’t even sure if he was going to make it through the infection that had taken over his tiny little body and the sepsis that was slowly creeping into his major organs. No one knew what the matter was – meningitis and cystic fibrosis were two of the scary things that were mentioned. When he began to show signs of improvement and responded to the antibiotics that were pumped through him, we were told that the infection (which later turned out to be e-coli, contracted at birth) may have damaged his little kidneys beyond repair, and if this was the case, dialysis and kidney transplants were something that may need to happen.
Thankfully, and to the amazement of all the doctors and nurses who looked after him, he made a complete recovery and came home the day before Christmas Eve, although was on an IV drip of antibiotics for a further two weeks. We were still unsure of the damage that was caused by the infection however. His first kidney scan, which he had the ay after he was discharged didn’t show anything, but we were told it was too early to know for sure. For months, we had that uncertainty hanging over our heads. Outwardly, he was fine. You would never have guessed that he had been so poorly. But it was what was inside that mattered.
In March last year, Benjamin went in for a nuclear kidney scan, which you can read more about here. It sounds terrifying, but it was just an injection followed by a scan a few hours later. That was what was going to tell us the extent of the damage. We were absolutely over the moon when it showed absolutely no scarring or anything out of the ordinary on his kidneys.
Since then, he has gone back every three or four for check ups and urine tests to make sure that his kidneys are working as they should. We were originally told that these visits would continue until he was four or five years old.
Last week he was completely discharged and signed off from the consultants and the hospital, which was amazing news. Because there is no damage whatsoever to his kidneys, because he has had nothing worse than a cold since the infection, because he is meeting and exceeding all of his milestones, they’ve said we don’t have to go back again. We are incredibly relieved, as you can imagine. Just walking down that corridor, and past the ward where he was admitted as a little orange newborn made me feel physically sick. To not have to do that again is a huge relief.