By Shari Friedel
One of 2012’s first babies, Aidyn Breazeale of Grant, has endured more medical issues in the first months of life than many people experience in a lifetime.
Aidyn arrived at 3:42 a.m. on Jan. 5, a full term baby weighing six pounds. No problems had been indicated on any of the ultrasounds before his birth.
He immediately caused concern with his grayish color, and attending physician, Dr. Michael Trierweiler called in pediatrician Kathy Lopez, who immediately requested an air lift to Denver after listening to Aidyn’s heart.
Aidyn’s family would learn that he was born with a condition called “transportation of the great arteries,” a congenital heart defect that prevents red and blue blood from crossing normally due to the artery and aorta forming wrong. The result is not enough oxygen to the blood.
An attempt of installing a balloon catheter to open up a small hole between the chambers of the heart failed and the family faced the reality that Aidyn would have to have major surgery.
At the tender age of four hours, Aidyn was boarded onto a helicopter and began the fight of his young life, and his family began a three-month long roller coaster ride of emotions.
Aidyn’s mother, Shelby Breazeale, was unable to join Aidyn until Jan. 7, when she had recovered enough from the C-section to make the trip.
During the nine-hour surgery at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital, the family was updated on Aidyn’s condition, and assured that he was continually stable and doing well.
Following surgery, the family could finally enter the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) to see Aidyn.
Shelby said, “It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to look at.” He was so swollen, she said, he resembled a two-month old baby.
Aidyn continued having problems for the next 11 weeks, with pulmonary hypertension, or high pressure in the lungs, which caused difficulty breathing and severe retractions where his chest would collapse when he breathed.
Medication alleviated the problem, but on the heels of that hurdle, Aidyn developed a blood clot in his jugular vein. The clot caused drainage into his lungs, causing a relapse of the hypertension.
Blood thinning medication and small doses of baby aspirin led to some more improvement.
Jan. 30 was a big day for young Aidyn as he finally had his drainage tubes removed.
Unfortunately, within a few days, he had accumulated too much drainage again and had a side chest tube inserted to deal with that. He also had what is called a pleurodesis, intentional scarring of the lining of the lung to prevent fluid leakage.
By Feb. 6, the new chest tube was removed and drainage had stopped, but Aidyn still needed to be on a ventilator since his lungs were not yet strong enough to allow him to breathe on his own.
Feb. 9, he was extubated, and given high flow oxygen, and slowly weaned down to lower doses of oxygen.
Four days into bottle feeding, Aidyn completely quit eating and would scream if a bottle was touched to his lips.
A swallow study showed that all of his food was entering his lungs instead of his stomach.
The decision was made to put in a feeding tube until the flap in his throat was healed enough to close when swallowing.
Currently, Aidyn is home, still on oxygen and a feeding tube, but slowly learning how to bottle feed, and weighs in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce.
He was featured on Denver’s Channel 7 News and Fox 31 News in a study on how babies born and treated at higher elevations tend to have lower oxygen in their blood because they are working harder to breathe.
The Breazeale family is breathing a big sigh of relief now that Aidyn is home, doing well, cooing and smiling like any other three-month-old.