New parents need to know of this condition and the signs

ON the 1st of January 2016, we made plans to go to dinner at my mother and father-in-law's home to celebrate New Year's Day with our family.

My baby daughter, Valentina, was only four months old at the time. I packed up her things for the evening and everything seemed fine.

Everything was normal that day and night right up until halfway through our dinner.

My sister-in-law was holding Valentina when all of a sudden she started to cry. But this cry wasn't a normal cry, it was as though she got a shock after someone pinched her sort of cry.

I grabbed Valentina and attempted to settle her, and after about four minutes of hysterical crying she stopped. So I continued to eat.

Within five minutes she started again, this time my husband tried to settle her. Again, after about four minutes she settled. So we just passed it off as her being fussy.

Five minutes later, it started again. Except, this time it was worse. We couldn't work out what was wrong with her, being first-time parents at the time we tried everything the textbook told us to. Everyone else tried helping us settle her too. We tried feeding her, but that seemed to make her worse. We stripped her clothing to see if anything had bitten her, nothing.

It was an odd cry, I thought to myself. I have never heard her cry like that. She would cry and then stop for about five to 10 minutes before starting again.

Something in my gut told me I needed to call an ambulance

I looked at my husband and he was already thinking the same thing.

So hubby got on the phone, it took approximately 45 minutes on the phone with the operator to convince them that we needed an ambulance. I guess I could just imagine the number of phone calls they would get from concerned new parents that were false calls.

But we knew we had to get her checked out. And of course, it was New Year's Day! You can imagine the hospital emergency rooms.

When the ambulance arrived, they asked us a few questions, some of them just trying to rule out that she wasn't just "unsettled" or windy.

I explained to them that her behaviour was different. They asked me what I wanted to do. We could take her to the hospital or we could see how she goes (though she was screaming hysterically during this time). Gut instinct told us to take her.

We arrived at the hospital and they did the normal checks. I cried hysterically as they put tubes and needles all over my four-month-old baby. I'm so lucky to have a husband who was great in this situation, as I had to walk away every time they put a new tube or needle in her.

We sat in the emergency room which felt like forever

Valentina still screaming on and off, this was now for four hours straight.

I was so scared. It felt like no one was helping her. And I was getting frustrated as to why nothing was happening. I noticed a young doctor staring at Valentina. I remember thinking, "why isn't he helping, for God sake, stop staring. Help her".

Little did I know that this doctor was actually working out exactly what was wrong with our baby.

I remember him walking over and saying, "I think I know what this is. And we need to act quickly if it is, we don't have the facilities here to diagnose her properly, but let's get an X-ray done to see if we can find anything".

Lucky we followed our instincts
Fifteen minutes later, he walks over to us. "I've just got off a video call with two other doctors from two other hospitals. We all agreed we need to transfer hospitals either by helicopter or a passenger transportation ambulance, both would accompany a doctor and nurse".

My heart sank as he said, "I think Valentina have something called intussusception.

"They quickly explained what it was. Intussusception happens when one portion of the bowel slides into the next, much like the pieces of a telescope.

When this "telescoping" happens, the flow of fluids and food through the bowel can become blocked, the intestine can swell and bleed, and the blood supply to the affected part of the intestine can get cut off. Eventually, this can cause part of the bowel to die.

Intussusception happens in one to four of every 1,000 infants and is most common in babies five to nine-months-old.

A lucky catch

Everything happened so fast, as Valentina was given morphine to settle her little body. They explained treatment options as we were driven to Randwick Children's Hospital.

They told us that it sometimes goes away by itself, and luckily, in our situation, that's what happened.

After, three terrifying days in the hospital it looked like it had settled itself. She didn't need surgery, she was OK and cleared to go home.

One week later, I was watching the news. A baby was misdiagnosed and passed away from intussusception.

The amount of stories I have now read or heard about babies being misdiagnosed is alarming. And it easily could be misdiagnosed as it is something that not many people have heard of.

I have made it my mission to tell people the symptoms and what to look out for if your baby does have intussusception.

Follow your gut instinct. No matter what anyone tells you. 

This originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.

News Corp Australia

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