Thursday, 26 January 2012

Six - Eleven weeks

This was a period of not knowing, uncertainty. Of scaring myself silly, researching on the internet, our slow-dial up internet. You turned the computer on and had time to make a cuppa before anything happened. Hemangiomas could be serious. They could be the outward sign of more serious conditions, that could kill. The Dr had said it was cosmetic. Hemangiomas are strawberry birthmarks, they are usually scarlet, but the source of Emma's was internal, that was why hers was flesh coloured. There was nothing to worry about, the Dr had said so. She continued to develop, she smiled and gurgled, and gained wait, and was delightful.

Then she got a cold. All of my babies are breastfed, the other two never caught colds. This was an odd sort of cold, she sounded snuffly, but there was no runny nose. I took her back to the surgery and saw a different Dr, her chest was clear, no meds required. The following week I took her back, and saw another Dr, the same result. The third week, I saw another Dr. She sometimes was making a whistling sound when she breathed. I asked the Dr if it was possible that the hemangioma on her back could possibly be squashing her windpipe and making the whistling sound. He dismissed my suggestion instantly, babies windpipes were very flexible, that could not happen. I wasn't so sure. I had read about rare cases where patients with hemangiomas required tracheostomies. I remembered seeing this done on a TV medical drama with a Bic pen. I dismissed it. This had nothing to do with Emma.

I walked out of the office straight into the baby clinic and waited to see Emma's Health Visitor. She took me into a side room and I brought her up to date. I told her that there was something wrong. I didn't know what, but there was something wrong with Emma. She listened,and then she asked if I had had the appt from the hospital, I hadn't. So she got on the phone and called the hospital and got an appt for the following month, a month earlier than they were planning to see her. The HV gave me a hug, she said that I was Emma's advocate, and she was mine, if there was anything she could do to help, I was just to ask.

That weekend we visited my father's house, he mentioned she looked a little swollen on one side of her face. I hadn't noticed it. How hadn't I noticed it? I called Shropdoc, who got a Dr to call back after 3hrs wait. She diagnosed swollen lymph glands over the telephone and said if I was still concerned in the morning to take her to my GP. I did, he diagnosed swollen lymph glands, she had a cold he said, it happens.

The following Saturday evening we took Emma along to an Evening Wedding Reception, in Staffordshire. The 'cold' had been worse the past few nights and she had responded to a steam filled bathroom. When got back at about 9pm, I prepared the bathroom, but the whistling had changed. I didn't like it. Emma looked scared. Andy suggested taking her into the steamed room. I said I wanted to call Shropdoc. This time the Dr called straight back.

We had only been talking for a short while when he said, "Is that the baby I can hear breathing?" I was holding her against my shoulder away from the telephone. I replied yes, and then he said something I will never forget. "I don't mean to scare you, but can you get the baby here quicker than an ambulance?"

I wasn't scared. I felt relief. I had been saying for weeks that something was wrong with this baby, and nobody was taking me serious. I said I could be there in 5mins. The Dr told me to drive carefully, and that he would be waiting for me at the door.

I relayed to Andy, what he had said, he agreed to stay with the children until he could get someone to come and sit with them and he would follow on. I don't know how I got to the hospital. I remember talking to Emma, telling her where we were going, and that everything was going to be ok. The Dr was true to his word, and was at the hospital door with a nurse. He was smiling. I was carrying Emma face-to-face. He walked us through to the waiting room, I remembering him saying that she sounded very croupy. He showed me to a chair, I sat and turned Emma around. His smile dropped, and he said "what's that?" pointing to the swollen side of her face. I said that the GP had said swollen glands, but she had a hemangioma on her back, and I thought the swelling on her face was one too. He asked me to come straight through,I stood up again, and he asked for my permission for a trainee Dr to be in the room "as he was unlikely to ever see anything like this again inhis whole career." I agreed.

I quickly stripped Emma off. I had started dressing her in clothes that were quick to take off, I had had to strip her so often for Drs already. The Shropdoc Dr was so warm, and friendly, and talked to me as an intelligent adult. I asked if he thought it was the hemangioma causing the whistle, and he said he thought so. He quickly explained to the trainee about hemangiomas. Then he said to me that in his opinion Emma needed a tracheostomy and quickly. I had fleeting images of a ballpoint pen being whipped out and inserted into her neck. The Dr remarked on how well I was taking the news, how calm I was. I explained how relieved I was that someone was going to do something, and that I had known something was wrong. He busied himself phoning up the children's ward to get admitted. Andy walked in, he was hot and sweaty, and so serious looking. I smiled at him, and said "She does need a tracheostomy." He smiled back and gave me a hug, and he said "Thankyou" to the Dr. I think the Dr thought we were crazy, or didn't really understand, but we did, we were just so relieved that someone was going to do something to help our baby.

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