Editor’s comment: The following is Mary Ann Peters perspective on her daughter Leanna’s pregnancy. It was reviewed by Leanna who gave her permission to submit it to the MSUD Newsletter. While pregnancy presents a metabolic challenge, we do not mean to infer that pregnancy is unsafe for all women with MSUD. This is a matter to be decided upon individually between each woman and her medical team. For another perspective on MSUD and Pregnancy, see the article about Sue Ann McKnight's( MSUD adult) pregnancy in Vol 15, #2 Fall/Winter 97-98.

My name is Leanna Peters and this is my personal experience with giving birth to my son Almon on October 11, 2004 as told by my mother. My pregnancy was a horrible experience. I survived and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

In January 2004, my daughter Leanna took a pregnancy test and learned she was pregnant with her first child. Here is a chronicle of the events.

Leanna was not strict with her diet before becoming pregnant, and all the foods she liked and would eat before now made her sick. She vomited every day.

She went to a regular OB/GYN physician at the beginning of her pregnancy, but in her fourth month was referred to a Maternal Fetal Medicine group of physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital They monitored her very closely with many, many Level 2 ultrasounds and the baby progressed with no medical intervention. She was also referred to Dr. Margaret Seashore, MSUD specialist at Yale New Haven Hospital at this time. Dr. Seashore and her nutritionist met with Leanna monthly and monitored her leucine intake. They tried to convince her to eat properly and keep track of her leucine. Her leucine levels remained a bit elevated as she didn’t follow her diet, but luckily they never became dangerously high. She also caught several colds throughout her pregnancy, and eventually developed bronchitis because she was smoking off and on against her physician’s orders.

On October 8, 2004, three days before her due date, Leanna started having mild labor pains. As the hospital was an hour away I took her to Yale New Haven Hospital. The doctor examined her and found her to be one centimeter dilated. As she was a high risk, she stayed at the hospital and the doctors decided to induce her. She became very itchy, which the doctors said was a side effect from the epidural. She was given a sedative to help her sleep and keep her calm. By the 3rd day, she still hadn’t delivered. The doctors asked her if she wanted to have a cesarean section and she said she wanted the baby out now. She was prepped for surgery and at 11:40 a.m. on Monday, October 11, 2004, Almon Richard Barylski, III was born, weighing 6 lbs., 7oz, and measuring 19 inches long. He was a beautiful baby boy with a head full of blonde hair and blue eyes.

Leanna was in and out of consciousness as a result of the drugs she was given and could not hold her new baby boy. Her son spent less than a day in the maternity ward before being transferred to the neonatal unit because they could not stabilize his blood sugar, which caused him to vomit often. Because Leanna received high doses of dextrose during labor, the doctors think the baby became too dependent on the dextrose and was born with very low blood sugar. As a result, he was administered an IV and spent 3 days in ICU before being discharged.

After the delivery Leanne remained weak. She was frustrated with all the IVs that she received and the limitation of food as the medical staff tried to maintain her leucine levels in a normal range. After 4 days the doctors felt her metabolic condition was stable and she was discharged.

Two days later, Leanna started experiencing dizziness and vomiting. I told her to go the local hospital and I also called her MSUD specialist at Yale New Haven Hospital. She refused the IV the doctors advised because she had just been released from the hospital and remembered the many days with an IV. She went home that night, but the next morning I took her to Yale New Haven Hospital because she was still vomiting.

During the drive to the hospital, Leanna started hallucinating and screaming at me to put my brakes on. She did not know who I was or where she was. I immediately called 911 because she was getting more serious by the moment. The police sent an ambulance which took her first to the local hospital, and then to Yale New Haven.

Leanne’s leucine levels were at 9 and she was transferred to ICU for the night to stabilize her metabolic condition. She complained of seeing everything upside down and it really scared her. By the next morning her leucine levels started to drop and she was transferred to one step below ICU.

Leanna’s appetite returned and she was asking for food. Because her levels were so high, the dietitians would not give her the foods she desired. She became very angry and insisted on eating what she wanted. I explained to the dietitian that it was okay for her to eat the foods that she normally ate but in smaller portions. As a result, they made her happy and she started eating again and drinking her MSUD II. Her levels continued to drop, and she was discharged from the hospital. Her blood was monitored after discharge, and her levels continued to drop.

Leanna was very sick during those 3 days and we almost lost her, but she is strong willed and pulled through. As a mother, I worry every day that Leanna can go into metabolic crisis again and with no warning. I try to remind her everyday to drink her MSUD II drink and eat 3 meals a day.

She was lucky to survive this pregnancy, and I am very concerned about her getting pregnant again. Despite my concerns, she still insists on having another baby but agrees to wait until she is much older.

Melvin Carruth

This letter is a tribute to my brother Melvin Carruth! We believe he is one of the oldest living African Americans with Maple Syrup Urine Disease.

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A Child's Life

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