Thursday, October 23, 2014

I think every parent lives with the fear that one day something will happen to their child. I go to work and it’s always in the back of my mind. Is Sophie ok? Has she hurt herself? Did I remember to tell my mom to keep the kitchen door closed? Is her car seat safe enough? It’s always there. Those thoughts. That lingering parenting stress.

Two weeks ago I got a call from my mom. It was midday, I had just come out of a meeting. It’s important that you know my mom never calls. I knew there was something wrong with Sophie. Before I even answered the phone I just knew. My mom told me that she’d just changed Sophie’s nappy and that it was filled with blood. I can’t even describe the terror I held in my heart. Was it really that much blood? Was my mom exaggerating? She had to be… Sophie seemed fine when I left for work that morning. She seemed ok. Not sick. So why?

I called Regan immediately after talking to my mom and we rushed home to take Sophie to the hospital.

Sophie looked pale and a little sleepy when we got home. She was happy, playful, chatting and walking around. When I saw the nappy my mom had changed I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t understand how she could have passed this much blood and still be ok?

We went off to Kingsbury hospital. We got there at 12.45 in the afternoon and were sent home at 19.35 the evening. We had no real answers. The dr at Kingsbury could not tell us what was wrong. They did blood tests and other than diagnosing Sophie as anemic, could offer little else in the way of an explanation for her blood loss.

Once we were home I gave Sophie some supper and Regan had to rush back to the office. She ate merrily and chatted in her little gurgled baby language. I heard her tummy rumbling and check her nappy. It as full of blood. I called my mom who calmly helped me change Sophie and off we rushed, this time to Vincent Palotti. We went to the ER where I explained our day and Sophie’s symptoms. The nurse in the ER said we had to go back to Kingsbury to get a referral letter. At this point I was outraged and utterly afraid. I stormed out of the emergency room and called Sophie’s pediatrician. Luckily he was on duty at Vincent Palotti. He told us to head to Willow Ward, he would meet us there.

We met Dr Wicht, he examined Sophie, took more blood, put in a drip and admitted her. The following morning he told us that Sophie’s blood count was sitting at 6.5 and it should be 12. This would be critically low for an adult, but in a 17 month old, well it was terrifying. Sophie had an emergency blood transfusion to prevent her organs from failing. We were later told mySophie’s surgeon, Prof Brown, that she had lost a quarter of the blood in her body.

Sophie went for a scan which revealed that she had a rare condition called Meckle’s diverticulum, a congenital disorder which affects roughly 2% of the population. Most people who have a Meckel’s are not symptomatic, but if symptoms do appear, they do so before the age of 2. So even though this entire experience was massively terrifying, it was also fairly textbook.

Late that Friday night Sophie had a laparoscopic resection – essentially the affected section of her intestine was removed the remaining two ends were joined together. Waiting for Prof Brown to come through the theatre doors and tell us that the surgery was done and successful was honestly the worst moment of my life. Every second felt hours long and all I could think about was my sweet little girls face. It’s something I’d wish on no one.

We are so lucky to have had such an amazing surgeon operating on Sophie, if your child ever needed an operation, you’d want Prof Brown to be the one to do it. He is wonderful, he sings, he has a divine bedside manner and he is an absolute expert. The nurses all gush over him. It’s very cute.

My breath catches in my throat when I think of how close we came to losing Sophie. We've experienced the sort of single minded fear that changes you a little. Nothing in this world matters more than family. You don’t need to go through a horrible experience to know that, but when you do, you hold on that much tighter.

Thank you all for the love and support you showered on Regan and I during the past week. You won’t know how much it meant. Every message, every tweet, every phone call it’s all so appreciated.


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