Clayton Cole

First post: May 12, 2022 Latest post: Jun 25, 2022
Hello everyone! A little background on this little Cole family journey so far. On Wednesday, May 4th at lunch Alicia went to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, WY because she was having really bad pain in her upper abdomen and shoulder blades. We went to Ivinson where they admitted her because of extremely high blood pressure and liver enzymes. After a couple hours in the hospital at Ivinson the situation turned really serious for Alicia (the baby was fine throughout). She had developed what is called HELLP syndrome, where extremely high blood pressure essentially starts breaking down red blood cells, platelets and her liver was being damaged. Ivinson simply doesn't have the capacity to handle something like that, so we were transported by ambulance to Denver around midnight Wednesday. At that time, a very premature baby was inevitable because giving birth is the only cure for HELLP. What they tried to do is keep Alicia pregnant as long as possible. Alicia was given 2 doses of steroids spread out by 24 hours allowing the baby's lungs to develop before birth. Her labs were looking good but this was likely due to the steroids calming down the inflammation. Labs continued to look really good into Saturday morning (5/7), but around noon on that day the familiar pain that sent her to the hospital in the first place had returned. A re-draw of labs Saturday evening, coupled with intense pain associated with liver damage, confirmed that we were going to be meeting our little guy sooner rather than later.  On May 7th at 11:43 PM Clayton Lee Cole entered this world with a small but mighty cry. He weighed in at a whopping 3 lbs 3.3 oz at 29 weeks gestation. We are grateful for that size, which although small, is apparently more common for a 31-32 week gestation baby.

We can truly thank God for providing his wisdom and strength to us and the incredible team of nurses and doctors that have gotten us to this point. Liver enzymes above 40 indicate damage to the liver is occurring. At the time of Clayton’s birth these numbers in Alicia were around 700. Platelets, responsible for clotting blood, were also getting damaged at a high rate, and this number was very low at the time of C-section. We are so blessed to have been in the Obstetrics ER at the moment we had to be.  

Immediately following Clayton’s birth, he was rushed into the NICU, and a continuous passive air pressure machine was hooked up allowing his lungs to expand as they are not quite yet able to do that on their own. Arterial and venous lines were inserted into his umbilical vasculature as well in order to measure blood oxygen levels and provide nutrients as his stomach matures. He is slowly getting more nutrients via a tube placed into his stomach and progressively less via the line inserted into his umbilical vein. The arterial line was actually pulled yesterday due to stable conditions. In talking with the nurses and doctors, ordinarily after c section they allow around 60 seconds of blood transfer between the baby and mama after delivery to decrease hematocrit levels, which eventually break down and are turned into bilirubin, causing jaundice. In the case of this delivery, only about 15 seconds of blood transfer was allowed, and I’m speculating this was because low platelet levels increased risk of severe bleeding. As a result, Clayton’s bilirubin levels have gotten quite high, so he is under “Billi lights” constantly to help break them down and pee them out. They will monitor these levels to see when he no longer needs the light, likely in a few days.

Thank you all for continuing to check on us and Clayton. We are blessed to have you all in our lives!

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