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Ari's BRUE Story

Written by Ari's Mama Melina


Our little girl was finally here! The first nine days with our darling girl was bliss. But at 12 days old everything started to change. Our gorgeous baby started screaming up to 7-10 hours a day. It was awful.


After having a firstborn son with a cows milk protein allergy and nasty reflux, I tried everything I knew to help her feel better and stop crying. At six weeks, we decided to try a popular infant colic mixture. It was clear from day dot that she didn’t like it, every time she was given a dose, she would gag, cough and sometimes spit-up. Three days after having started the dose, my husband was giving one to her late Thursday afternoon. I was outside taking the clothes off the line when I heard her usual screaming while being given the dosage, but instead of taking a breath between cries and then continuing to cry, she stopped. I knew instantly something was wrong.


I ran to her window, and my husband said: “get inside”. I bolted into the house. Meanwhile, our baby girl had been gagging on the medication, and my husband had turned her over to see what would happen, and she vomited everywhere. He gave her a couple of back blows, but she had disassociated, went glazed eyed, turned stiff, stopped breathing and went deep red. My husband screamed at me to call an ambo. I scrambled to grab my phone and dial 000. I looked over at our little girl and heard my husband whimper “no”. I thought I was saying goodbye to my baby girl at six weeks.


We got through to someone, and the lady on 000 was amazing. She talked us through it and said to keep her on her side and to keep rubbing the back in case anything extra would come out. After 3 minutes she started slowly coming to, with little whimpers here and there. We were beyond relieved. I was shaken to my core and utterly scared. The ambo’s took my baby and me to the local hospital where we met with the paediatric team who after asking lots of questions, confirmed it was a BRUE (Brief Unresolved Unexplainable Event).


They said it was due to the medication and that it shouldn’t happen again. Relieved, we went home after a couple of hours and kept her close the whole night. Two days later, after receiving instructions from the paediatrician, we gave her the medication extremely diluted with breast milk. However mid-dose she started to gag again and went into another BRUE episode. This time we knew to turn her on her side and rub her back while we scrambled to call 000 for the second time.


She had disassociated, glazed over, stiffened up and stopped breathing again. But at least this time we were more confident she wasn’t dying. We requested to take her to the hospital that she was born at and thankfully as it was her second episode the ambos consented. Because it was right when COVID began, I was only able to take my little baby to the ED on my own. Five hours later, we were finally taken up to the paediatric ward where we were able to meet with the team who also confirmed another BRUE episode. After this, we refused to give our baby anything oral until she was out of the high risk 0-12 week stage. Now at six months, our little girl is happy and well, loving her solids & enjoying her every day!

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