Diagnosis: Unspecified hypothyroidism…

Micah was delivered via cesarean section on February 10, 2009. He was 20.5 inches long and he weighed 8lb 9oz. Perfect baby, despite a broken thyroid we knew nothing about yet.

On 2/12/09, prior to leaving the hospital, he received his first vaccine: Hepatitis B, you know because he needed protection against an STD, right? Ugh.

We were all getting shot up that day… I got my MMR and DTaP booster. That was fun.

Over the next few days, Micah began to look jaundice, we had to wake him to feed him, and he was very “floppy”and sleepy. I attributed it to him being born in the winter and my milk not coming in right away…but something in my gut said take him in to be seen.

Shortly after that, he was admitted to the hospital to be put under the bili-lights since his bilirubin levels were extremely high, TSB level 18.34mg/dL. No transfusion exchange was given. His levels were in the high normal range upon discharge.

According to the AAP standard of care for hyperbilirubinemia, the hospital/doctors should have “checked the results of newborn thyroid and galactosemia screen, and evaluated him for signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism. Jaundice can cause kernicterus. Late sequelae to kernicterus include sensorineural hearing impairment and cerebral palsy, often with ataxia and chorioathetosis. Predominantly unconjugated prolonged jaundice (conjugated SBR less than 30 micromol/l): is usually benign breast milk jaundice but consider performing thyroid function tests to exclude thyroid agenesis/dysplasia or hypopituitarism, and a urine culture to exclude a UTI. The main conditions to be excluded are hypothyroidism and hypopituitarism. In an otherwise well infant, breast milk jaundice is considered a benign condition. Furthermore, depending on the cause of the hyperbilirubinemia, it is an option to measure TSB 24 hrs after discharge to check for rebound. The serum bilirubin level by itself, except when it is extremely high and associated with bilirubin encephalopathy, is an imprecise indicator of long-term neurodevelopmental outcome. There are studies that suggest neonatal jaundice in children born at term is associated with disorders of psychological development.”

We had a follow-up visit to re-check his bilirubin levels 2 days later and then we scheduled his first of many “well-child” visits with sick-child visits always within 1-2 weeks following:


4/14/09: 11lbs 13oz, 22 inches


He received his first “round” of vaccines:
-Dtap HepB Ipv Combined (injection)
-Hib Prp-t (injection)
-Pneumococcal (injection)
-Rotavirus (oral)


FIRST SICK CHILD VISIT 

DIAGNOSIS: GERD, PINK EYE

6/11/09: 14lbs 13oz, 24.5 inches


Next “round” of vaccines:
-Dtap (injection)
-Hib Prp-t (injection)
-Pneumococcal (injection)
-Poliovirus Ipv Sq (injection)
-Rotavirus (oral)


SECOND SICK CHILD VISIT

DIAGNOSIS: GERD, FEVER, “STOMACH FLU”

8/26/09: 15lbs 6oz, 26.75 inches

Yes, at 6 months he had NOT even doubled his weight! It seems like after this visit he started really declining in health – he had poor feeding, choking episodes, and nystagmus. His face started to turn orange mostly around his nose, something the doctor assured us was harmless: betacarotenemia – due to him eating a lot of carrots – which now I know is a sign of hypothyroidism. 

Third “round” of vaccines: 
-Dtap HepB Ipv Combined (injection)
-Hib Prp-t (injection)
-Pneumococcal (injection)
-Rotavirus (oral)

THIRD SICK CHILD VISIT
DIAGNOSIS: SEVERE GERD, prescribed Ranitidine 1.5ml 2x daily

2/10/10: 20lbs 60z, 29 inches 


This was THE visit…the visit that changed Micah the most profoundly and made him begin to slip away into his own little world. Looking back we realize he was developmentally delayed all along, but at this point ALL the skills and language that he did have…it seemed to all vanish on this day. Just gone. Coincidence? Maybe. But the facts are growth and development problems in children (especially boys) in untreated CH can go unnoticed until between 12 and 24 months of age. We were searching for words and milestones that just weren’t there to begin with. There was no reciprocal play, no eye contact, and no typical behavior to compare his regression to. It all kind of blended in together. But then, this visit was awful…he cried so much after we left and his blank stares and meltdowns really began…


Fourth “round” of vaccines:
-Hib Prp-t (injection)
-MMR Vaccine Sq (injection)
-Pneumococcal (injection)
-Varicella Vaccine Live Sq (injection) 

So, from age 1 to 2 we began to slowly see a decline in Micah’s social skills, eye-contact, communication, and other behavioral issues. He needed his pacifier more than ever before and he had his first “meltdown” that lasted over 30 minutes. We could not console him. His eyes were glazed over and he couldn’t calm himself. His vocabulary went from about 20 words (used off and on but not consistently) to about 4 words: Mama, Dada, Agua, and Bye-Bye. Then. Nothing. Nada. No more sounds except verbal stimming. 

When we asked our pediatrician about a speech delay, his advice was to just “wait and see.” He told us to “let our yes be yes and no be no.” So, we waited…and waited…and things got worse. Micah stopped eating food and would only eat “chicken-n-a-biscuit” crackers and cow’s milk. We could sometimes get him to eat yogurt or cereal, but it was a full-time job getting him to eat. He began humming and repeating a few sounds over and over again (he still does this today). He would appear to be “checked out” when we called his name several times before he’d finally turn to look. Sometimes, he didn’t turn to look at us at all. 


During this time, he learned to use the iPhone and iPad to listen to his favorite songs. Tilly and the Wall’s ABC song was his favorite and he would do his “happy dance” whenever he heard it play on YouTube. By age 2, we were at a loss for what to think. 


On 02/14/11, we visited the pediatrician and explained what had been going on and we were concerned that he may have Autism. Our pediatrician assured us that he couldn’t be autistic because he showed “emotion” and played with his siblings. Furthermore, he said his niece was autistic and acted nothing like Micah. Okay. So, what does that leave us with? Nothing. 


So, I insisted we get a referral to “Early On” services and finally after 6 months of waiting we got our referral in August 2011. Meanwhile, I scheduled a visit to a clinic in our area that specialized in holistic medicine and biomedical treatments for autism. We got Micah tested for food sensitivities, heavy metals, and other blood work. Within one day, they called back and explained that Micah had little-to-no thyroid hormone (Free T4) in his body when they took his blood sample. He was also sensitive to many foods including dairy and gluten. His aluminum and arsenic levels were sky-high and his vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium were extremely low. I had a feeling his “issues” weren’t just “behavioral.”


They referred him to a pediatric endocrinologist and we were scheduled for a visit the next week. We found out Micah’s TSH level was 11 at the time. So, he started on 37.5mcg of Synthroid. The endocrinologist said he could not be certain if Micah had his from birth (congenital) or if it was acquired (Hashimotos). We ran several tests and it proved Micah did not “acquire” it, so the only explanation was it was undiagnosed from birth. Quite honestly, the endocrinologist said he didn’t care about the how or why as much as he just wanted to treat him and get his levels to normal. He seemed irritated that we were always asking questions. Micah being hypo from birth wasn’t exactly confirmed until his baby brother was born in June 2012 with CH. This was the first piece of the puzzle. Thank God for this. His baby brother basically saved his life….that’s another blog post all together though.

DIAGNOSIS: GERD, UNSPECIFIED HYPOTHYROIDISM
Within two weeks of taking the Synthroid and taking him off cow’s milk and gluten, he was able to stop taking Ranitidine because miraculously his GERD “went away.” He stopped sucking his pacifier (he no longer needed it?) and his eye-contact returned. Yes, it returned. He still acted like he was deaf when we called his name, but he wasn’t so “checked out” all the time now.


So, the burning question…do I think vaccines gave my son Autism? No. But, I believe with my whole heart his body was overburdened by the ingredients in them because of two things:


1. His metabolism could not process all those toxins due to him being low thyroid and undiagnosed/untreated.

2. He was physically ill after every round of injections. It wasn’t just right after the MMR…it was EVERY TIME. It is NOT NORMAL for a child to be constantly sick. It is NOT NORMAL for a child to projectile vomit up solid foods. 

*However, now that we know more about CH and the importance of thyroid health in babies and how it affects the developing brain…the vaccines were probably the least of his problems. Bottom line is we shouldn’t have listened to the doctor, but we did (we trusted him) and here we are. 

Live and learn.

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