Archive | 6:36 pm

Why would He do this to me?

1 Feb

“We love the things we love for what they are.”

― Robert Frost

HPIM0597

I really should have put this picture at the beginning of my story. This is Kekoa and me in the background. Yes, I was about to cry when it was taken. The picture accurately emphasizes and portrays everything that is me. When I look at it I see someone who looks absolutely terrified of the reality that has just come out of her body. Why God would choose to give someone like this a special needs child is beyond me.

I mean look at me.

I was a wreck and he was fine.

When we got home from the hospital my husband loaded the pictures from the delivery onto the computer. He pulled up this one and burst out laughing. “Look at your face! You look like you are convinced that the nurse is really a child predator and is about to run off with your baby.”

I came over and looked down at the computer screen. Yep. That is exactly what I was thinking. “Don’t laugh. I just love him so much.” I try to explain very near the brink of tears. How can he not understand? I mean this little person just came OUT OF MY BODY! I made this little guy and he is perfect. It all just became so real. When they’re in your body it’s just a faint idea. Especially when it’s your first. Once they actually come out it’s a whole new ball game.

I think I look the way I do here for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I was totally mortified by the whole child bearing experience. The gush of body fluids, squishy stuff and baby from my body was beyond embarrassing.

How would my husband ever look at me the same?

Second, I really hadn’t given the whole idea of baby = with you the rest of your life, a sufficient amount of contemplation. I just wanted a baby. But once I looked into his eyes and felt a kind of love that I had never experienced before, I knew that I was in trouble. My heart felt like it was bursting with love and breaking with fear all at the same time and either way I looked at it I was in danger of literally loving this little guy to death.

Once the nurse placed him on my chest, cleaned him off, and then took him away to the warmer to wrap him up and snap this picture I was totally and completely smitten.

I also started feeling other things that I had never felt before. A fierce protection of my little boy that was almost crushing when the nurse took him from my arms.

In the picture I am looking at the nurse like “OMG you are totally going to break him. I do not trust you at all. Give him back. Give him back before I cry.”

In what world does it make sense for Life to give this kind of mom a special needs child? I couldn’t handle the thought of raising this little guy, who was completely normal.

Can you imagine the picture of me after I found out that Oli was blind?

Or maybe this picture explains completely why I was given a special needs child…

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Stop picking her apart!

1 Feb

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.

Delicious Ambiguity.”

― Gilda Radner

Driving home from Dr. Hyun’s office that day my brain felt like it had shifted into overdrive. I was calling all of the doctor offices and the medical center trying to schedule Oli for her appointments, MRI and lab draw. Flipping through my appointment calendar I remembered that I also had to call Nevada Early Intervention Services and schedule an appointment with them. NEIS serves the special needs children in the Las Vegas and surrounding areas that are under the age of 3. After age 3 the children transition into the school district.

No one had recommended that I call NEIS. I just happened to remember referring some of my patients to them while reading off their discharge instructions.

I’m thankful that I knew of them and knew that they might be able to offer us some help. To be honest, I didn’t know exactly what they did. I just knew that when I had a patient going home that might have some developmental delays we told them to call NEIS.

A woman from the front office answered my call and set up an evaluation for the following week. She told me to bring Oliana to the appointment and they would look at her and decide which services she would benefit from.

I hung up the phone and was proud of myself for finally doing something for her instead of just worrying about all of the things that I couldn’t do.

Later that day a woman I worked with contacted me and offered to come out to my house to look at Oli. She was a neonatal nurse practitioner in the NICU I worked at and she also occasionally worked with the pediatric genetic doctor in Las Vegas. She told me that if she came out and did her own evaluation of Oli she might be able to submit it to the doctor and get her in earlier than the 6-9 months that we were told. I was more than happy to comply.

When she came out to the house she began the physical exam. She laid Oli down on a small flowered blanket and began measuring every inch of her body with a little fabric measuring tape. I was not prepared for the onslaught of abnormalities that were revealed to me during that evaluation.

Her little ears were too floppy.

Her eyes were too far apart.

Her eye brows were not level.

The bridge of her petite nose was too wide.

Her nipples were too far apart.

The space between her delicate fingers was too wide. (What? Why does that even matter?)

Her peach fuzz covered head was too small.

Her physical tone was too weak.

The list went on and on….

I just wanted to scream at her.

Stop! Stop! I don’t want to hear any more!

This is my child! My perfect little angel and you are picking her apart!

What child could possibly measure perfectly according to your standards?

Please, just stop!

Leave my baby alone!

But she didn’t stop because I couldn’t yell any of those things. I just let her continue until she was finished and I was completely defeated.

Then she got into her car and left and I picked Oli up and cried.

The doctors opinion

1 Feb

“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.”

― Tim Burton

Continuing on our scavenger hunt, the woman from the blind foundation gave us another name. A pediatricians name. Oli had already seen one since leaving the hospital, but we were not impressed.

The opthamologist told us to make sure that Oli’s pediatrician drew labs to check her pituitary gland. She told us that she knew kids with microphthalmia commonly had abnormal pituitary glands and that it was imperative to check the labs.

Her first pediatrician just blew me off with an annoyed look when I asked for the labs to be drawn. Apparently this was a common attitude with this particular group of pediatricians.

Don’t we need to check her pituitary labs to make sure she doesn’t need medication? Don’t we need to check her growth hormone?

No. We don’t need to check them right now. We’ll just watch her and see what happens.

Watch and see what happens? She’s not a science experiment or an action movie! I don’t want to just watch and see what happens! I want answers!

We will just wait until after you see the geneticist and see what she says. I’ll wait for her recommendations.

There was only one pediatric genetic doctor for the entire Las Vegas valley. The waiting list to see her was 6-9 months long.

Don’t you think we at least need to do an MRI to take a better look at her brain? Don’t you need to draw chromosomes? I’m sure the geneticist will want chromosomes drawn. What about her kidneys? The doctors at the hospital said that you should refer us to recheck her kidneys.

No. I’m not going to order any tests.

By this point she was really annoyed with me for questioning her. She knew, that I knew, that she was uncomfortable taking care of Oli. She had no idea what to do for her.

I left that appointment feeling frustrated and bewildered that a doctor wouldn’t want to look further into what was going on with my daughter. Why didn’t she want to help her? Now what?

Then we went to the open house at the blind foundation and received the name of the perfect pediatrician for us and for Oli.

Dr. Rosemary Hyun.

The day of Oli’s first appointment she came in the room and sat down.

How are you doing?

(You can guess my answer.)

I’m fine. Thank you.

I’m glad that you were able to meet another family with a child like Oliana.

Yes. The mother of the boy gave us your name. We weren’t very comfortable with Oli continuing to see the first pediatrician we scheduled.

I’m glad you’re here. Let me just take a quick look at her and then we will discuss what tests need to be ordered and if there are any additional things you want ordered.

She was asking my opinion? Really?

I was so surprised. This doctor was actually considering what we needed as her parents. She was thinking like a parent herself. What would she want to know if it was her child. I probably don’t even need to say this but, for a doctor, this quality is very rare.

After she looked over Oli carefully she began to write down a list of tests and labs to be ordered. She asked us if we needed anything else. Then she handed us the slip of paper detailing everything that she had ordered.

Cardiologist appointment for an echo.

Endocrinologist appointment for labs.

Urologist appointment for her kidneys.

MRI of her brain.

Lab appointment to draw her chromosomes.

A follow up appointment with her.

A referral for the geneticist.

It seemed like an overwhelming amount of appointments. Especially, since I was used to seeing the doctor only once every 3-6 months with my son.

But I needed answers.

As I walked out of her office a startling realization hit me.

Was this how the families of my patients in the NICU felt when I sent them home?

When I discharged them from the hospital with a list of appointments, doctor names, medications, medical equipment, and specific feeding times.

Was this how they felt when I carried their baby through the sliding glass doors of the hospital, handed them the car seat and 15 plastic hospital bags containing all of the things they needed to keep their child alive and said “Good luck”!

My experience with Oli began to give me a whole different perspective and a new found respect for the families of my NICU babies.

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