Something that no parent wants to think about is a newborn baby getting sick just after arriving home. The reality is that many babies will get sick at some point. Getting sick is part of the process of growing up and developing an immune system that can fight off germs in the real world. The problem is that newborns are incredibly susceptible to a variety of different diseases. Some of those illnesses can cause permanent damage to the brain and body. Others can actually be fatal. Catching them early is difficult because it is hard to diagnose certain diseases in babies. That is what one family learned recently in Central Wisconsin.
Bryan and Stacey Weichelt were thrilled to hear that they were going to have a baby some time ago. The pregnancy progressed as normal up until a certain point. Doctors began to realize that Stacey might be having twins. They learned later through tests that she would actually be having triplets. An even more shocking surprise was that they were going to be identical triplets. The chance of having identical triplets can be as low as one out of every million pregnancies. The parents were still happy to know that they were about to have new children in the family.
The birth went off without any complications. Three boys were delivered in perfect health. The parents named them Dylan, Logan and Mason. The parents were allowed to take the boys home a few days afterwards. Everything seemed to be going to well. This is when the newborns started to act odd. The babies initially began acting as if they were all sick. They started having labored breathing. The breathing problems lead to noticeable weakness in all three boys. The parents became very concerned and took the triplets to the hospital for care.
The parents went to Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. The newborns were placed in the intensive care unit for testing and observation. They were under the care of Doctor Edward Fernandez at the time. The doctor described the initial condition of the triplets as weight weak and limp. He said that picking one of the boys up was like holding a rag doll without any bones or muscles. The doctor looked at all the symptoms and thought that the newborns might have botulism. Further testing showed that this was not the case.
An entire battery of tests was ordered after that. Many of the tests required drawing blood from the newborns. This can be difficult since babies are so small. The boys were tested for a variety of infectious diseases that might have been causing problems. They were tested for metabolic conditions. The newborns were given magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans. None of the tests seemed to be showing what the problem really was. The newborns then started having seizures.
The last resort was drawing spinal fluid from the newborns. Drawing spinal fluid is a potentially dangerous procedure making it something the hospital did not want to do. Fortunately, the tests finally came back showing the cause of the illness. The boys had contracted type 3 Human Parechovirus. This is a condition that is relatively common in newborns. It is caused by contact with fecal matter on surfaces that makes it into the body. The doctors were able to treat and stabilize the newborns.
Bryan and Stacey are happy that their boys are fine. Unfortunately, it will take time to see whether the condition caused any permanent damage. Human Parechovirus can potentially cause neurological damage. Doctors say that the fact the newborns were identical triplets might have saved their lives. Having three identical babies allowed the doctors to draw more blood than normal for testing. This might have made all the difference.