Our story begins at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas. Elliston Grant Salmon was born via c-section after he decided he was ready to see the world at exactly 37 weeks.
During our stay in the hospital we noticed certain things were amiss. Elliston would act as though he was choking or swallowing something back. It was alarming enough that we mentioned it to the nursing staff. We were brushed off and told everything was normal. “Must be new mom jitters,” they said, even though he was our second child.
His spit up continued to be neon yellow, but again – attributed to being normal. “Must be amniotic fluid” they assured us. He was looked over by the neonatologist and we were given the green light to go home.
We were discharged at 4 p.m., but soon after arriving home he started to projectile vomit green bile. By 6 p.m. we were sitting in the ER of the same hospital we had just been discharged from. The ER was packed that evening, but within minutes he was rushed to a room and an ultrasound was ordered.
Elliston continued to throw up during his ultrasound. It was such a large amount, I couldn’t comprehend how a three day old baby had that much fluid in his body. At that moment I wondered if he would make it, something seemed so terribly wrong. My precious baby was soaked in vomit from his hair to his toes.
The ER staff made the decision to take him by ambulance to a larger city hospital in Houston. Elliston’s ultrasound was inconclusive, but the emergency department’s chief physician suspected intestinal malrotation and volvulus based on his symptoms. By midnight I kissed my baby goodbye and told him everything would be ok as they rushed him out of the ER and into an ambulance with my husband by his side.
I had to make the incredibly painful decision to stay behind because I had started to feel very ill as a result of my c-section. I physically could not be present with Elliston at that moment and it tore me apart.
I went to my parents house that night but knew I’d never sleep. I kept feeling the need to throw up, but couldn’t.
I got a phone call from a man who will forever be an angel to us, Elliston’s surgeon, Dr Myron Allukian. I distinctly remember him saying he wanted to talk to me personally rather than having my husband try to relay information. He told me my son was in critical condition and that they needed to do exploratory surgery to find out what was wrong. He said they would do everything they could, but my baby might not make it.
At that point, I let out a wail I didn’t even know was human. It was truly the darkest moment of my entire life. I simply had to wait and listen for the phone to ring, not knowing what the voice on the other end would say.
Four hours later I finally got the call. My son was alive. He made it. The surgeon saved his life.
It was confirmed that Elliston had intestinal malrotation with volvulus. His surgeon said he went through Elliston’s intestines twice to make sure every kink was out and they were perfectly placed. His surgeon said that because of how quickly we brought him in, and how quickly the emergency room responded and sent him into surgery, his bowels were “perfectly intact and beautiful.”
I arrived at the hospital that day and found my baby in the ICU hooked up to monitors and machines. I had never been in such admiration of someone so small. He was so, so strong.
We spent the next 11 days going from ICU, to the pediatric floor, to the NICU. We had many ups and downs with TPN, waiting agonizing days for them to put in a PICC line. He also ended up with severe jaundice that almost required a blood transfusion.
For me, one of the most notable moments in Elliston’s recovery was when he was finally able to have breast milk by mouth, after going so many days without feeding. After that he began to thrive, he started having bowel movements and was finally ready to go home. We spent the next several weeks learning to manage his reflux and gas issues. Today you would never know from the outside that anything happened, he is a healthy thriving little boy. Elliston will forever be my hero and my warrior. I aspire to have his strength for the rest of my life!