Katie and Dario Rapallini
OUR NAIT JOURNEY
At 38 weeks pregnant, after my fourth episode of reduced movements, it was decided that I would be induced the same day. I went home to collect my bags and was told to be back at the hospital for 4pm. After two long days of being induced, our beautiful baby boy welcomed us on the 13th of February 2022. We were overjoyed.
Our son Franco was born with petechiae all over his body, he had a bruise under his right eye and another big one in the centre of his chest. The midwives claimed he just had a “newborn rash”.
Due to COVID my husband was only allowed an hour or two with us before having to leave as I was taken to the postnatal ward. Several hours later we had a visit from the paediatrician. I could tell something was seriously wrong as he rushed out of the room to find another doctor.
They both came into the room and told me that my son did not have a newborn rash, it was actually petechiae as a result of bleeding. They rushed him straight to the NICU.
They ran some blood tests and discovered that his platelets were only 11k. Franco began having a blood transfusion almost immediately.
Several hours later as I was receiving a blood transfusion at the same time as my son, the NICU doctor came in to tell me that the blood transfusion had not worked and Franco’s platelets had dropped to only 6k. He implied what the outcome may be – words I cannot even begin to think about.
What began as the happiest day of my life was now the worst. Despite receiving such heart breaking news my husband still wasn’t allowed into the hospital. I had to deliver the news by phone.
As soon as I finished my blood transfusion at 2am I went straight to the NICU. I could barely recognise my beautiful boy from how puffy he was from the steroids.
Due to NAIT being so unheard-of Franco was initially diagnosed with suspected Sepsis, which he did not have. My husband and I had our blood samples sent to Edinburgh to be tested, before we had a diagnosis of NAIT.
All of the doctors involved in Franco’s care had never seen NAIT before and the asked us if the NHS photographers could take pictures of him to educate other medical staff.
Franco had to have several Ultrasound scans to check for internal bleeding on all of his organs. On one scan they found a ‘bright patch’ on his brain, which may have been a past bleed.
After multiple blood transfusions and several IVIG infusions it took a full week for Franco’s platelets to rise out of the danger zone. We were discharged after 7 days.
For the first month of his life we had to go back to the hospital every second day to have Franco’s platelets tested. He was monitored by the hospital for 6 months before being discharged.
Over a year later and we are still coming to terms with what happened. We hope and pray that there will not only be more awareness of NAIT, but also a cure for it one day.
Franco is now 13 months old and is the happiest little boy. We are grateful for him and his health every day.