s told by his mother
I’ve had Baby M, who is currently in foster care, since he was 5 1/2 weeks old. Baby M tested positive for methamphetamine at birth, and was exposed to several other drugs as well; frequent and watery bowel movements have been a part of our lives since the beginning. I initially thought that was just a side effect of maternal drug abuse. But in August 2015, Baby M (then 9 months old) began having some very hefty, liquid, and smelly diapers.
Baby M had issues with acid reflux from day one and was on a daily dose of Zantac for that. We always struggled with formula and switched many times until we found a ready-to-feed specialized formula that helped with the reflux, spit-up, and diarrhea. Again, I just thought this was more of the same thing we had been dealing with. He had also been on three low-effect antibiotics over the summer months for ear and upper respiratory infections.
So he went to daycare on a Thursday morning, and the staff mentioned the vast amount of stool—even though they were used to his frequent BMs. On Friday morning, I was awakened around 4:00 AM by the horrendous sound of water rushing into my baby’s diaper, along with the now familiar smell of what I know is Clostridium difficile. At the time, I just thought it was a stomach bug.
Friday night between 4:00 PM and 11:00 PM, we changed fourteen diapers with no hope of slowing down. This was getting out of hand. We decided that we would keep him hydrated and deal with the diapers until the morning since we would need to contact the appropriate people with DFCS. As soon as morning came, we were on our way to a local hospital. They took a stool sample, and after six hours they determined that it was C. diff. They wanted to admit Baby M. I panicked. I knew that if he needed to be admitted, this wasn’t the place! So we signed papers and quickly transferred to a larger hospital about an hour away.
After spending thirteen hours between the two different hospitals, we were sent home with a fourteen-day supply of Flagyl. Baby M continued with the watery and frequent BMs for a couple of days, but by the end of the two weeks, his stool was as normal as it had ever been. Unfortunately, the bliss did not last.
About a week later, the smell and the watery BMs returned. I called his pediatrician and had him call in a lab order. Two days later we had the same results: positive for C. diff. The medication was more complicated this time, though. We spent a couple of days just keeping hydrated and changing constant diapers while waiting on a directive. Finally, with the pediatric office, the case manager, and the GI specialist all calling Medicaid, we were approved and found the needed medicine at a local compounding pharmacy.
So we did a five-week pulse regimen of Vancomycin. Every thing was great and back to bliss. We added in Florastor and Culturelle to Baby M’s daily diet. We also had him stop taking the Zantac because by some miracle, the reflux and spit-up stopped.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving day. For some reason, Baby M wouldn’t eat or drink anything. I thought he may be tired from traveling since we went to see family a couple of hours away, but by the next morning, the terrible smell was back. No diarrhea, but “the smell,” you know the one, it was back! The following day, he started having wet and slimy diarrhea again. Why does this always happen on the weekend?! Strangely, the spit-up was back with a vengeance. So we bit the bullet, survived the weekend, and made an appointment with his pediatrician for first thing Monday morning to get a sample to send to the lab.
We had to go back to Baby M’s doctor for a flu shot this past Thursday morning. I was ready to ask about the lab results when his doctor shared that he wanted to talk with me. He informed me that Baby M’s test results were again positive for C. diff, that he had conferred with the GI specialist, and that they were going to try one more round (five weeks) of Vancomycin. If the bacteria comes back again after this, they are going to have me meet with another GI doctor who specializes in Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT). Basically a poop transplant. I don’t know if anyone has had this procedure done before, but it has great success rates from what I’ve read. I am praying for the Vancomycin to work. We still have 31 days to go, so recovery is still a possibility, but I am also realistic and understand that after having this junk three times, the probability of it recurring again is around 85%.
The more I think about how we have struggled to keep this child diarrhea-free, the more I am led to believe that this is something we have been dealing with from the beginning. Maybe he was capable of keeping it somewhat under control until all of the antibiotics he took over the summer. Who knows.
At the start of 2018 I was diagnosed with C. diff. I never really heard much about C. diff outside of people acquiring it in a hospital setting or people of advanced age contracting it. Oh, was I wrong. After being sick for about 8 weeks with w…