Tuesday, January 24, 2012


After Spencer was born he became jaundiced. Due in part to my inability to know if he latched while nursing and also because all babies are a little bit jaundiced until their little livers get going aren't they?

That is what I tell myself though thinking back I don't think my other two kids ever were. So Spencer was jaundiced due to the fact that my inexperience with nursing caused me to starve my newborn son. Let's just call a spade a spade.

In his first two weeks of life, we were in the doctor's office every two to three days checking weight gain and bilirubin levels. On his two week birthday after he had gained significant weight and I had mastered the art of nursing, I remember our pediatrician telling us that he looked great and he would see us back in two months. I walked out of the office a bit in shock. Two months? How are we supposed to know if he is gaining weight? How are we supposed to know if he is normal? We have never done this parenting thing before! How is it possible that you can trust us to care for this new little life for two whole months without checking our progress? What if we do it wrong?

Despite our uncertainty and initial fear, our instincts kicked in and somehow we became parents. We learned how to care for him and what was normal for him and he did gain weight - at this point sixty something pounds. We went on to bring two more little babies into the world without the post two week appointment worry. We knew what we were doing.

The point of that memory was all to say that I tend to use my children's doctor appointments as a gauge as to how well I am doing in my parenting job. Their yearly well check is my pseudo report card, my annual job review.

My kids are healthy kids. We don't visit the doctor very often. Part of that is due to the fact that as they grow, it is much easier to gauge how sick of a child you have. A child that can talk and tell you what is wrong and what hurts is much different from a screaming baby that is burning with fever. So the times we visited the doctor in the last year with an actual sickness, I could easily count on one hand - if not two fingers. I feel blessed to have three kids that are so healthy. Sometimes scarily blessed. I read so much about kids that are ill and families that have to go through so much. It makes me wonder sometimes how we got so lucky.

I love our pediatrician. Is it just me or is this post seemingly all over the place? I promise there is a point here somewhere. Maybe it stems from the fact that I haven't "written" anything in so long my brain is just completely emptying into this post. Perhaps I should blog more often.

Let's try this again. I love our pediatrician. It was love at first sight for Trent and I when he walked in to talk to us about newborns in our prenatal classes. I called the next day to see if he was taking new patients. Lucky for us, he was. On the occasions when I have taken the kids in to be seen with what I thought was some horrible malady, he was always quick to calm my fears. It is not appendicitis, just constipation. He doesn't have meningitis, he just has a cold virus. It is just a rash, not flesh eating bacteria or MRSA. You get my drift.

Bringing my kids to the doctor has always been sort of a relief for me. If they are sick, he is quick to tell me what to do to make them feel better. If its a checkup, he lets me know that I am feeding them the right foods to help them grow and stay fit. So when Hailey had to go in for her five year old check up last week I didn't think anything of it. I couldn't even think of any questions or concerns that I had about her. She was healthy and normal. She was even in jovial spirits after being informed by the nurse that she was totally up to date on her immunizations. Hooray for no pokes!

The doctor asked her questions and proceeded to check her over. When he started listening to her heartbeat he seemed to be taking a longer than normal time. When he got out his iphone and started timing heartbeats while he listened, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew something wasn't right. He jokingly asked her if she drank coffee in the morning and then told me that her heartbeat had an irregular beat to it. He asked me if she has ever turned blue or passed out. He asked me if any young person in my family had ever died from a heart problem suddenly. My answers to all of his questions were no and my question to him was how serious of a situation are we dealing with? He told me that it could be nothing or it could be something and the best thing to do would be to order an EKG and get her checked out.

It was the coldest day of the year and I hadn't dressed us as warmly as I should have. I didn't plan on running out to the hospital for tests on my five year old daughter. I gave Hailey my mittens and pulled her hood up and we started the freezing trek from the parking lot to the main entrance. I was thrilled to see the hospital shuttle pull up right in front of us and offer us a ride to the door. The driver was a nice older gentleman who proceeded to chat our ears off. At this point my focus was to get her in and get her test done and I really wasn't in the mood for small talk but knew I had to bear it or freeze solid before making it into the hospital.

Surprisingly, we got right through admissions and right up to the physiology lab without having to wait at all. I assured Hailey that her test wasn't going to hurt. They were just going to put stickers on her chest and listen to see if her heart was beating silly. She was a trooper. She stayed calm and did great through the test. It was me that I was most worried about. As she was lying on the bed with all the stickers and wires attached to her for the first time I actually thought to myself - Oh my God, what if my little girl has a heart problem? Please let her be ok. If something has to be wrong with someone's heart, let it be me and not my five year old daughter.

The test is sent to the children's hospital in another city to be read by a pediatric cardiologist and then her doctor will get the results, so we haven't heard anything and most likely won't for a few days. I am trying to stay positive and not let the fear of not knowing get to me. I know that most likely it will be nothing or at least nothing major. She is the furthest from sickly she could be. She has more energy than any of us - maybe all of us combined. In five years she has hardly ever been sick. She has had a fever maybe three times in her life.

I have faith that she will be fine - it is just hard to suddenly have this potential problem hanging over us that we never would have expected.

1 comment:

dr said...

You are so incredibly blessed to have such healthy and beautiful children. I agree, Hailey has boundless energy and that girl hardly sleeps. I know how hard it can be to worry and wait, and of course I have little Hailey in my prayers, but I have confidence that all will be just fine. Love you guys!