Sunday, April 11, 2010

Samuel's birth/CF story

Late last year I started to tell Samuel's story. It was the first time I had attempted to record the story and I think I had a tougher time with it than I expected. You can play catch up here.

So picking up where we left off: It was a Monday. I was 2 days past my due date and I was so done being pregnant. Early that morning I was having some contractions but nothing crazy. Monday evening I told Kevin to pick up some pasta and sauce on his way home. I added some extra basil and oregano to the sauce since I had nothing to lose. I'm not sure if it was completely the herbs, but something worked and with a few hours I was having regular contractions. We went to the hospital at 11 PM. Lots of walking, waiting, seeing spaghetti again. No need to give a run down of the time in the hospital. Just some highlights:
  • water broke at 4 am
  • epidural requested at 4:35 am (thanks to the nurse who said "Your contractions will be a lot worse now that your water broke." I shouldn't have listened to you.)
  • pushed for 20 minutes
Thankfully, at 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon, my dear son, Samuel entered the world. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21 inches long. He was pink and screaming and "perfect in every way". We stayed in the hospital for 48 hours and were so ready to leave on November 1. I remember being so happy to get home but thought "Now what?"

The next week is a blur of sleepless nights, spontaneous and unexplained crying (by me and Samuel) and learning to nurse. My parents were able to come visit and help with taking care of me and our house. Kevin was scheduled to travel to his company's home office on the 12th, just after my parents were scheduled to leave. I was secretly very worried about being left by myself with Samuel and nobody else to help.

Just some background: In the state of Arizona, newborn screening became mandatory on November 1, 2007, the day we left the hospital. When Samuel was about a week and a half old, it was a Friday afternoon, our phone rang. It was his pediatrician calling to tell us Samuel was a carrier of cystic fibrosis. OK. Great. Thanks for the information. Have a nice weekend. I really didn't think too much else of it.

Over the weekend I had convinced my mom to stay with me a few days longer (I'm sure it wasn't that difficult). On Monday, after Kevin had left for his trip and my dad went back home, the phone calls started. The CF clinic wanted Samuel to come in for a sweat test. As a new mom, I really didn't think anything was wrong with Samuel so I blew off the request to bring him in. I just thought it was something I would deal with when Kevin got back in town. On Tuesday, they called twice and had the pediatrician's office call me. I knew something was up when the nurse said I needed to call them "right now". I called. They asked if I could bring Samuel in for a test right then. That was a Tuesday afternoon. My mom was scheduled to leave the next day. I was NOT mentally ready for more testing on my son.

We packed up the baby and took him to Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH) for his sweat test. My mom had spent some time looking up cystic fibrosis online. Somewhere in there I called Kevin and told him he had to come home. I didn't think anything was wrong but I knew I didn't want to go through all of this by myself. Looking back, I should have seen the red flags waiving everywhere that day. We didn't wait in the waiting room and the nurse conducting the test repeatedly mentioned she was staying late but wouldn't say why. On the phone with a colleague, she said she was asked to stay to accommodate our test but wouldn't say much else. I was told we already had an appointment with the pulmonologist the following day so we had to get the sweat test done that day.

On Wednesday morning, I took my mom to the airport, stopped by the office to show the baby off to my co-workers, then picked up Kevin from the airport. We went to PCH for our first appointment with the doctor. Again, red flags waiving in my face and I ignored them.
  • We didn't stay in the waiting area with the other patients. They took us to wait in an office/storage room.
  • Samuel had lost weight after birth and hadn't gained it back. He weighed in that day at less than 7 pounds. His weight at birth was 7 lbs, 3 oz.
  • It seemed like more than the average amount of nurses helping us. Even the nurse who conducted the sweat test stopped by during the vitals process. There was one in particular who kept saying things like "You'll have to strip him down naked every time you bring him in until he's 2." While being polite, I remember thinking "This lady is crazy. I'm not ever coming back here again because nothing is wrong."
It was that day we were told the news that Samuel did, indeed, have cystic fibrosis and our lives would change forever. That day we covered genetics (how it happened), what it meant for our son, for our family, and what we should start doing right away. Really, it was a blur and there are lots of things I don't remember, lots of things I would have changed, and lots of things I'd rather forget from time to time.

That evening we got home and started over again with the question "Now what?" It was just the beginning.

1 comment:

  1. It is so good to have these feelings documented. Interestingly, this story sounds quite familiar. By the way, I totally overdosed on Oregano (or pregano as I call it) when I went past my due date.


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