Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
Bilateral vocal cord paralysis generally causes significant airway difficulties in children. Vocal cords vibrate to make sound. Your vocal cords, sometimes called vocal folds, do more than just produce sound. Vocal cords also close when you swallow. They protect your airway by preventing food, drink and even your saliva from entering your windpipe (trachea) and lungs, causing you to choke. When vocal cords do not move, they are considered paralyzed. This airway defect causes loud, noisy breathing when your child is active.
Tracheotomy has, in the past, been performed in the majority of children under one year with bilateral vocal fold paralysis.
When I had our first daughter, born on 7/22/09, I had a very difficult labor and experienced shoulder dystocia with her. When she finally came out, she was 9 lbs 1 oz and making a very strange gurgling, gasping sound. This went on for 45 minutes while they suctioned her, gave her oxygen and beat on her back. After 2 hours, they took her to the NICU where she underwent testing and stayed on oxygen for 24 hours. Everytime she would cry, her oxygen levels would significantly drop.
After running multiple tests, an EKG and observation, they decided that it was just "stridor" and that she could come back to my room. The RNs were extremely concerned and urged me to get second and third opinions once we left.
At her 2 month appt., her Dr. decided to give her a referral to a Pediatric Otolaryngologist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles just to be safe. When meeting with her Dr. there, he gave us the rundown on the normal things it could be, but was going to do a fiberoptic layngoscopy to check things out. During this procedure, a small flexible tube with a tiny camera is passed through her nose to examine her vocal cords and larynx. (This is done at EVERY appointment)
This was horryifying. I had to sit in the pediatric examination chair and hold her arms down while she sat in my lap; the Dr. had a nurse who held her forehead against my chest and she screamed like I had never heard her scream before. When he was done, the nurse took her, bloody nose and all, because the Dr. had news for us. It in fact, was NOT stridor- Our daughter had Bilateral Vocal Cord Paralysis. We were devastated. He told us that she would most likely need a tracheotomy to maintain her airway soon. He wanted to see us weekly (2 hour drive to Children's Hospital), and if she at any point turned blue at home, we were to take her into the nearest E.R. and let them know that she needed a tracheotomy right away.
We went home feeling defeated, but praying fervently. We were facing a trial at that time-my Husband had lost his job and we were struggling to keep our home and pay our bills. And then this...but I told myself that all the other things we were dealing with were nothing in comparison to our daughter's health. Lord, spare our daughter these invasive measures and show YOUR Hand in this!
We began seeing her specialist weekly, and although he is a conservative Dr. who was REALLY uncomfortable with her airway, he decided to watch her and see how she developed; afterall, she was VERY healthy otherwise, with no signs of Chiari Malformation, Down Syndrome or any other disorders. She DID, however, have projectile reflux with every.single.feeding yet seemed to not only keep on weight but gain weight.
So we went from weekly visits, to bi weekly, to monthly...and she thrived. Oh, how she thrived! Her Dr. was so happy with her development, that he decided to not do a tracheotomy and just watched her.
We felt like first time parents with her, even though we had two sons before her. We watched her like a hawk, ANYtime she coughed we were waiting for her to turn blue; and when she didn't, we praised God! It was a scary time, especially after feedings-we knew to expect her to let out at least half of what she had just ate. She took Tagamet, and that helped a GREAT bit, but she still spit up, a LOT.
We were so grateful that as time passed, she never needed a tracheotomy nor needed any other type of invasive procedure-this was clearly answers to our prayers! The majority of children with BVCP do have a tracheotomy; and the fact that she doesn't need one seems very peculiar to Doctors and those familiar with the condition-but our God is an awesome God and has been so good to her.
She is now 3 years old, and she goes to see her Dr. at Children's every 6 months! She is a healthy, thriving, smart little girl and we couldn't be more thankful for it. We have our trying times, and have to be really careful when it comes to anything that might make her airway swell...like severe coughing, strep throat, etc. But she's a trooper, and is always such a happy girl even through the bumps in the road.
When she was about 9 months old, we had the elders lay hands on her and pray over her, but God chose not to heal her at that time. I believe that she has this condition for a reason that we don't know yet; but so far, it has greatly increased our faith and praises to the Lord for His mercies and faithfulness!
Lamentations 3:22-23 His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!
If you or someone you know has Bilateral Vocal Cord Paralysis, I want to hear about it! PLEASE email firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you have been blessed by reading this!