Etienne Samuel was born on August 2, 2007 in the afternoon. His birth was a beautiful under water home birth. He was very healthy and there were no complications. During the first month of his life he continued to be a slight yellow color, his stools were fatty, a light color and an awful smell, however he was growing and developing normally. On the 3rd of September he showed signs of a cold but as the day progressed I could tell something major was happening.
He was throwing everything up and was not responsive as he was. I gave him some chlorophyll to calm his stomach. When he started seizing on his right side I took him into the emergency room. He was sent by life flight to Primary Children’s Medical Center. After a CAT scan they discovered he had three large hematomas in his skull and that his blood was very thin (he had bruises all over him). They gave him blood and platelets to stop his bleeding.
The photo above show Etienne with his color and bruising. The one below shows him with a breathing tube, three IV’s and a PICC line.
After other complications of aspiration, acid reflux and many many tests they determined he had a bad liver and his coloring was getting darker (his billirubin levels were increasing, when he got to the hospital his total billirubin was 4 and was below 15). Dr. Jackson after many other tests diagnosed him with Biliary Atresia (where a baby is born without a bile duct or gall bladder):
We scheduled a surgery to hook up his lower bowel to his liver and give him a duct that his liver could use to drain the bile into. In the surgery they found a trace of a gall bladder and no duct. The liver itself was large and hard, but not at the stage of cirrhosis. After the surgery we monitored his stools, they continued to be light colored. The photo below shows him with his brother – his color had gone down, but is still yellow. The total billirubin dropped from 15 to 10.
At the end of October they declared the operation to be a failure from his billirubin not dropping to below 4 and his stools continuing to be pale. He was also not gaining any weight. So they sent us home with a list of signs and symptoms to took for with complete liver failure. We would have to go through many series of tests and Doctors in order to get on a liver transplant list. But they assured us there was nothing else to do now except give him a new liver. Our pediatrician said there was no hope now for him to keep his liver. I remember thinking could this possibly be all? He looks and acts well. No hope? No way! There had to be a way.
I sent his blood levels to Dr. Young at the beginning of November. He informed us that his WBC were increased to fight off the platelets (dirty bacterial cells) and that his clotting factors would increase if he would get alkaline. But how do you alkalize a baby that is only breast fed? The photo below is of Etienne the middle of November just before we went to California to learn how to get him alkaline.
We learned from the lactation specialist at the hospital that it didn’t matter what the mother ate the milk would always be right for the baby. But that is not true. My breast milk pH was 7.0 and was not giving him the help he needed to fight off the acids that plagued his body. Dr. Young encouraged us to give him pHour salt every time him pH was below 8.0. We discovered that dipping his pacifier into the salts directing and giving that to him throughout the day was the best way for him. We immediately noticed his fingers and toes changing to a pink color. Below is a photo taken in December. He has gained 4 pounds, his bilirubin dropped to 7.4 and is probably a lot lower now. He is happy and continues to grow and develop normally. His physical therapist says that he is catching up to his developmental age.