"OBLIVIOUS" BLISS (AKA BEFORE I STARTED USING THE INTERNET)
The first year of Brody’s life was “oblivious” bliss.
Tom was in remission, my two older boys were thriving, and Brody was a cute, chubby, bundle of joy. I was happy. Life was good. I didn’t want anyone or anything to upset the new order of things.
Little did I know, a perfect storm was brewing.
We had a few “minor” health issues pop up for Brody before his first birthday. Rather than addressing the issues head on or even questioning them, I swept all my concerns and fears under the rug. I could not bear the thought of more bad news or visits to the hospital. I had my fill. The previous year, dealing with Tom’s cancer, had sucked all the life and fight out of me. I was suffering from Health Scare Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
But… ignoring my mother’s instinct and not questioning the doctors was a big mistake. Compared to Tom’s cancer battle, I felt my gnawing mom concerns seemed silly and perhaps paranoid.
Tom’s last radiation therapy could not have been timed more appropriately. His last treatment was the day after Brody was born. To celebrate both milestones, I adopted a “don’t worry, be happy” attitude. I was only willing to bask in the sun of my new “normal” worry-free life. The previous stormy year was a consciously forgotten memory.
Brody was born via c-section at 37 weeks. He was delivered early because he wasn’t moving around enough and his heart beat had periods of irregularity.
Within minutes of his birth, he was whisked away for observation because he had wet lungs. This led to 24 hours in the NICU hooked up to IV’s, allowing me very little contact and not being able to nurse him. It was devastating to me, but to the nurses, no big deal. They tried to reassure me this was very common and not to be alarmed. He would be fine. Well maybe they were right. Compared to Tom’s cancer it wasn’t a big deal.
Finally, I got my son out of the NICU only to be told he had newborn jaundice. Once again, I got the pep talk that it was very common and not to worry. They would put him under lights and voilà he would be perfect. Well, okay compared to Tom’s cancer…
It took two weeks for the jaundice to “clear” up. But interestingly, up to a year ago he still occasionally would still get a yellow tint to his skin.
At two months, Brody went in for his scheduled vaccinations. Within hours, Brody had a high fever, was inconsolable, and let out a high pitch scream any time he was touched. I can not even begin to describe how loud and ear-piercing the screams were. Never before had I heard this sound. It rattled my nerves. I called the doctor in a panic who very calmly told me he was having a reaction to a vaccination. He suspected it was the Pertussis part of the DTP. He also went on to soothe my fears by telling me it does happen and it is perfectly normal. He would document it and recommended Brody no longer receive the pertussis vaccination, but the other shots would be okay. As he hung up the phone he said, “Give him some Tylenol and he’ll be fine.” Well, okay – compared to Tom’s cancer…
At three months, he was diagnosed with Strep A (unusual for young babies according to the doctor). The doctor prescribed antibiotics, told me not to be a “nervous Nelly” and shooed me out the door. Well, okay – compared to Tom’s cancer…
I had noticed thrush before in Brody’s mouth, but now it was out of control. I tried every “potion” out there and it took months to eradicate the yeast. Also, during this time I began to notice Brody would suffer from frequent bouts of diarrhea. With the diarrhea, came acid like burns on his bottom. He would cry in agony any time I would wipe or bathe him. Once again, the doctor soothed my fears by explaining that Brody had nothing more than toddler’s diarrhea. Well, okay – compared to Tom’s cancer…
At ten months, Brody had surgery for his hypospadias repair. The anesthesia worried me, but I tucked those fears away reassuring myself that children all over the world have surgery everyday with no complications. Luckily, the procedure went well and he seemed to bounce back from it quickly.
As a mom of three boys, I couldn’t help but to compare Brody to his older brothers. Why was their first year of life not as “eventful?” How come they did not have the same type of health issues?
Why did I allow others to assure me everything was fine, when they were not. In hindsight, I wish I had not ignored my mom instincts and been more proactive and informed before making important decisions regarding Brody’s health.