17 month old lives with jaundice - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

17 month old lives with jaundice

17 month old Emily Graves is still only the height and weight of a newborn because of complications due to gestational diabetes. Her mother, Chancie Graves, 29, said she has suffered gestational diabetes with all three of her children, but Emily was the first to have serious side effects.

After birth Emily turned, "yellow like a banana," said Graves.

Emily's liver was releasing too much bilirubin into her tiny body turning her a distinct shade of yellow. The condition is called hyperbilirubinenemia, commonly known as jaundice. Many newborns has a slight tinge of yellow after birth, but it eventually passes as they mature. Emily's was much more serious. She was born without a gallbladder and with a hole in her heart and her small system could not handle such a blow. Doctors kept her in the hospital for observation after birth.

"It was only 10 days, but that was 10 long days," said Graves.

Now Emily survives on her slew of medications. "If she doesn't have her medicine for more than 18 hours she starts to turn yellow," explained Graves.

Baby Emily is small and struggles to walk and crawl.

"She can barely crawl more like a military low crawl," described Graves.

The side effects do not end there. She will have to take extra precautions for the rest of her life.

"She can live a normal life. She just cannot drink or sky dive which is fine with me. She doesn't drink...she doesn't get in trouble," said Graves.

For now, Emily continues physical and speech therapy, but with a big smile on her face.

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