It was a typical Monday, but throughout the day Jordyn continued to get fussier and fussier until it turned into her crying for hours. She freaked out whenever I tried to put her down, wouldn’t nurse, barely napped and was not acting like herself.
As a mother you have this innate instinct when something isn’t right with your child. I just knew I should take Jordyn to the pediatrician that day. In the late afternoon we arrived at the doctor’s office and I explained what was going on. It’s sooo tough with babies because they can’t talk yet and tell you what is bothering them.
I had suspected it was a sore throat or ear infection and that within minutes of being at the doctor’s office they’d quickly discover it and we’d be given antibiotics (if needed) and we’d be sent home to carry on with life as normal.
However, that’s not how it turned out… at all. After checking her thoroughly they told me everything looked good (no ear infection or anything like that). They even tested for the flu and RSV – everything was negative. I almost wanted them to find something just so we could pinpoint what was bothering her and fix it.
Thankfully they decided to do a CBC test (complete blood count) which is a blood test that is used to help evaluate your overall health. We got the results within minutes that her white blood cell count was very elevated, making it clear that her little body was fighting something (either viral or bacterial).
A normal white blood cell count is 5,000 – 10,000 in children and Jordyn’s was 22,000. I tried to remain calm. Since Jordyn is only 4 months old I was so nervous knowing that babies immune systems are not nearly as strong.
The doctor suspected it could be a UTI (urinary tract infection) since they’re common in baby girls. Unfortunately the only was to get a urine sample in babies is via a catheter. Babies can’t pee in cups 🙁 They attempted to do the catheter in the pediatrician’s office, but couldn’t get it in (awful), so sent us to the ER.
At the ER they were able to get the catheter in and get a urine sample, which came back within an hour showing that there was in face bacteria in her urine. I felt relieved to know what was causing her white blood cell count to be so high and knew that this is hopefully something that antibiotics would wipe out (thank god for modern medicine).
They also needed to get blood from Jordyn to make sure no bacteria made its way into her blood. If bacteria reaches the blood it’s REALLY BAD. I was freaking out at the thought. It took about 5 different attempts to get an IV into her little veins, which broke my heart. She was looking at me and I could tell her was wondering why I wasn’t picking her up to console her while she was screaming. It was one of the worst moments.
After many attempts finally a NICU nurse was able to get the IV in and draw blood. We were told we’d have to wait at least 48 hours for the blood culture to come back, and in the meantime would need to stay in the hospital.
We were admitted into the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) around midnight and they started her antibiotics through an IV. I felt relieved knowing we were getting that first dose in and hoping it would help her feel better soon.
They did an ultrasound that night too and it showed that her left kidney appeared normal, but her right kidney was inflamed, showing she had a kidney infection. I started freaking out, as any parent would. I wondered if this could cause permanent kidney damage.
The doctor explained that kidney infections can start as a lower UTI and the bacteria eventually makes its way up to the kidneys, or it can be caused by some other issues. One potential issue could be that the valve leading to her kidney could be faulty, causing urine to reflux back up to the kidney. Another possible scenario is that there could be a minor blockage, not properly allowing all the urine to excrete from the kidney.
As of this morning we were presented with the amazing news that the bacteria did not make its way into Jordyn’s blood and I’m feeling so fortunate to be getting discharged today and sent home. However, we’re not in the clear.
Next week we’ll be meeting with a urologist (and possibly a nephrologist) to look into what caused the infection. They’ll do a VCUG test (voiding cystourethrogram x-ray) which is done while the bladder fills and empties to examine the bladder and urethra. This test would show if urine is refluxing back up to the kidney. We luckily can do this testing as outpatients in the hospital.
So for now we are heading home today and will be giving Jordan oral antibiotics from home. She had all her antibiotics via IV thus far. I will keep you guys updated after our appointment next week and just crossing my fingers that everything is okay with her kidney. It’s looking like worst case scenario would be a minor surgery to correct a faulty valve or blockage, but of course praying it does not even come to that.
Thank you for those of you who have reached out to me. It means so much…