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Re: Questions about NEC

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 08:43 pm
by catherine
Jean, my understanding is that NEC is a serious complication of premature newborns that occurs when their intestinal flora (aka the bacteria that usually live in the gut) trigger an inflammatory response that damages their gut quite severely. Sometimes this even results in leakage to the peritoneal cavity and a very rapid and serious decline as the bacteria go on to trigger systemic responses that can be rapidly fatal. So a baby isn't at risk for NEC until s/he is born and their intestine becomes colonized with these bacteria. That said, you should also be reassured that the closer a baby gets to full term, the more mature their insides are and the lower their risk for having problems after birth once they start eating and they start to develop these communities of bacteria. Under normal circumstances they are not bad, we need them for vitamins, to keep other, true pathogens out and to teach our immune systems not to over-react. The reason that preemies are fed so slowly and so carefully, and why the NICU likes breast milk is that they know that these precautions are most protective.

That said, preemies have very immature immune systems and different hospitals have different policies regarding hygiene protocols. Hopefully this time around your baby is going to room in with you and you will have minimal worry. Just lots of hand washing!

Re: Questions about NEC

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 01:02 pm
by jean
Thank you for the reply! I was hoping someone could give me some info. So I guess then our son's stuffed animals would be ok to be around a new little one..

Every thought and scenario has gone through my head a million times about what happened and the "what ifs"...I read the other day that there's speculation that NEC happens also when a baby is deprived of blood/oxygen, because the blood and oxygen it does have travels to the vital organs to protect them, and leaves the bowels.

I was sick for over a week before they caught my HELLP. It makes me wonder if it had been caught sooner, if our son would have made it.

I know no one has the answers to those questions. I'm just always thinking....*sigh*

Re: Questions about NEC

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:45 am
by mhancock
Jean, NEC is just a completely awful disease. My daughter was born April 1 at 29 weeks 4 days (I have severe PE) and she passed from NEC on May 12th at 5 weeks and 6 days old. She had no symptoms at all. We were being told we were going home. She was 2 lbs 10 oz at birth and 4 lbs 3 oz on the day she died. I was at the NICU every day for at least 8 to 10 hours per day. She was breastfeeding and pooping every 3 hours. Although I didn't know about NEC, I have since done a lot of research. It is not contagious ... I believe there is slight chance of NICU exposure but it would have to be blood to blood for anything to be transferred from one preemie to the next. What I have read about NEC is that most of the time the bowel perfs in the colon area and the normal bacteria in the bowel starts to seep into the lining of the intestine. With a perf in the colon then blood in the stool would be soon and a very early indication. With my daughter, I believe she perfed in another location. She was fine, had just had a normal bowel movement, tolerated feedings... then 2 hours later her stomach was extended then 10 minutes later there was blood in her poop. Antibiotics were started immediately and she was in surgery 6 hours later. There was nothing they could do for her. NEC had killing her gut within minutes that early morning and with zero symptoms before it was too late.

Re: Questions about NEC

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:13 am
by jean
Also, are there signs I can look for of NEC with a new baby that might be missed by nurses? Our son had bile in his stomach from the beginning. I don't know if that's normal for all babies or consistent with NEC. He would not poop...and they kept using suppositories to try to get him to. Eventually he did, and it was a big yuckky mess...there wasn't any blood or anything in it that could be seen. He did this maybe a day or two before his bowel perforated. :~(
Other than that, I don't know that he exibited any symptoms.

Questions about NEC

Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:10 am
by jean
When our son died of NEC, I researched all I could about it online. It was weird, because I found some differing information. Some sites said that it is caused by immature bowels that end up not being able to function correctly and therefore get an infection. Other sites said that NEC can be contagious and that some NICUs have found that once one patient gets sick, many others do as well.

So I have some questions about this. First of all, if we end up having a surviving baby this next time around, can I ask nurses to check for NEC, so if the baby had it, then it might not progress as badly?

Secondly, when my son died, we put all of his stuffed animals (some which were with him when he died) in a bag and stored them away. If we have a new take home baby, is it ok to have these stuffed animals with him/her, or is there some chance he/she could get NEC from being around them? How about the clothes I wore postpartum last time. We did some kangaroo care with our son..so he was sick in those clothes..and of course they are washed...but I just worry big time.

Should I get rid of everything we used with our son to prevent NEC with a new little one?