As you know, there are decisions to be made after your baby is born: when to clamp the cord, eye ointment, hepatitis B vaccine and the vitamin K shot, to name a few.
Judah was born July 15, 2011. My midwife asked if I’d like to have the vitamin K shot. I said, “no.” I found myself hesitating for a brief moment. Chad was busy outside of our room so I didn’t have time to confirm with him whether this was still our decision. I dismissed my hesitation and stuck with the answer we had chosen for our past five children. None of my children had received the shot and they had all been fine. . . why was I hesitating? Until Judah, my children had been SO, so healthy. I praise God for their health and see how easily I had taken it for granted. We had never needed an antibiotic in those 10 years prior to Judah. We never experienced an ear infection or anything more than a common cold or seasonal flu. We might have used Tylenol a total of five times in ten years. I truly took for granted how healthy we had been. And my justification continued….I knew I didn’t have the typical risk factors… My labor had been smooth without complications… In that moment I didn’t even remember all the reasons we had chosen not to do the shot. I knew that way back when I first had Josiah there was speculation that the vitamin K shot was linked to childhood leukemia (that since has been proven false). I did not do a good job researching the pros and cons of this shot, let alone praying about the decision. And I did not think there was even the slightest possibility of anything wrong happening because of that choice. Certainly a brain hemorrhage was nowhere on the radar.
But, on August 20, 2011 life as our family of eight knew it drastically changed. Our son, Judah Forrest James was 5 weeks old. His first five weeks of life had been “normal.” He was full term when born. I had a great pregnancy and beautiful birth. However, this particular day we thought Judah had the stomach flu. He had thrown up a few times. By the time our other children went to bed Judah seemed very lethargic. We tried to wake him up to eat….to no avail. He was “too sleepy.” After a call to our midwife for advice we began packing our things to head out to the hospital. I was in the kitchen finding items for the diaper bag. Chad was in our bedroom changing Judah’s diaper. I suddenly heard him screaming, “JUDAH!!!!! JUDAH!!! Come on, buddy!!! Krista!! CALL 911!!!!” ….Judah had a seizure and stopped breathing…. A 911 call, transport to Lakeland Regional Hospital, whirlwind of tests, another transport to Tampa General Hospital, and surgery to place a temporary shunt in Judah’s brain… This was clearly not the stomach flu…
Judah suffered two brain hemorrhages believed to have been caused by Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding or VKDB also known as Late Onset Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn. We are thankful they found answers and determined the cause but that news came with a sting. “Had you given your baby the shot, this probably would have never happened….” Those words would replay in my mind hundreds and hundreds of times.