It was just an ordinary Saturday morning at the Densmore-Koon casa, as I was changing Grayson’s diaper and getting him dressed for the day. I asked my older daughter Zoe to hold him while I made a bottle. Two seconds later the chaos began.
Zoe: “Mom, What is wrong with Grayson’s toe?”
Me: “Nothing Zoe, why do you say that?” (Panic begins as I rush across the room.)
Zoe: “Mom, look at his toes, why are they like that?”
Me: “Oh my gosh.” (Scream for my husband.)
I am not sure why I even automatically freak-out and scream for him. After all, I was the one that used to work at a local hospital in shock trauma, but it’s just something about it being my baby. I all of a sudden couldn’t deal. His toe was about to fall off. Or so it seemed.
A piece of thread from his socks somehow, during the night, completely wrapped around his toe, embedded into one of them, and was cutting off circulation to 2 others. 3 toes all together. I immediately tried to get the piece of thread (the exact same color of the socks he was wearing) off his toes, but nothing was doing it. My nails, tweezers, medical scissors, nothing. I immediately knew we had to rush him to the hospital because he was loosing circulation in one of his toes and it wasn’t going to be long before it started bleeding. This thread was wrapped tight.
We headed to our local hospital and checked in before 11AM. The hospital was able to loosen the thread from the other two toes but couldn’t get anything off of the one toe we were all concerned about. Almost 6 hours later, after many different techniques were tried, they decided that he needed to be transferred to Children’s National Medical Center for surgery. The surgery needed was pretty invasive and at this point, it was about saving that one toe. Our hospital was not equipped to do it.
I won’t bore you with all of the details, the ups and downs, and the chaos that led up to saving his toe. So fast forward.
They were able to make an incision to release the fiber from the toe which can be difficult because toes bleed so much more and, well, let’s look at the size of a 3-month-old small baby toe. It was his three middle toes and second to last one, which is so very tiny to be cut open. I felt horrible for Grayson. He couldn’t eat the entire day, but he hardly cried, just, of course, when anyone would get near his toes. Oh, and the IV. They had him on fluids the entire time. So we just waited. Waited to make sure circulation came back. Waited to make sure the bleeding would stop. Waited to make sure he would still have his sweet baby toe. And I’m so thankful that they could save it! After getting 5 different opinions, it was a sigh of relief to see that toe and the circulation coming back! The doctors were amazing and surprisingly had dealt with this many of times before — more than one would think. However, our case was a little more severe than most. It is actually called Tourniquet Syndrome and usually happens with a mother’s hair.
I realize things could have been worse. We could have been getting surgery for much bigger things, but this was scary and traumatic at the time and just awful for a baby to have to go through. It also gave us a weekend in the hospital. But it has brought awareness. Awareness to my friends with babies and a reminder to check those baby toes and read about Tourniquet Syndrome. You learn something new every day! As a Mom of 5, this is the first time I ever even heard of something like this happening. That said, I will be checking his toes all the time.