Unlike the last one, this is a tough post to write.
My second pregnancy, largely uneventful except for one spotting scare early on, ended with a nightmare. Since my water broke one evening near the due date (a trickle, but enough), I had to go into the hospital that night and have labor induced the following morning. Compared to the natural progression of my first labor, induced labor came on like a tidal wave and was very difficult. They started the induction early in the morning and Thing Two was born about 6:45PM. Exhausted, I looked at him across the room, looked at Himself, and said "What is that thing on his head??" A red spot was clearly visible at the crown.
The red spot was raw and hairless, about the size of a dime. We initially thought it had been caused by the fetal distress monitor wire, but were told that those insertion site marks are usually much smaller. Panicked, we waited for the neonatologist to arrive. Since he'd gone home for the night, it was the on-call resident who came to our room. He appeared concerned, and told us that they'd likely need to send the baby about an hour away to a children's hospital in the morning. We were completely distraught; I've only seen my husband cry a handful of times in the fifteen years I've known him, and that was one of them.
About three o'clock the following morning, my labor and delivery nurse came back to my room, where we were still awake and shell-shocked. At the end of her shift, she'd gone to the hospital library on her own, done some research, and printed out pages of information for us. She qualified it all with "you know I'm not a doctor, but here's what I think it is..." and told us that she thought things would be okay. That woman was truly an angel.
The following morning, the neonatologist came in and promptly confirmed the nurse's suspicions. Thing Two had (and has) something called aplasia cutis congenita, thankfully stage 1, which is the most common and the most benign form. He told us that the baby would have to stay in the Special Care nursery for a few days while they ruled out a few other possible things, but that he was just covering his behind legally with that testing and he wasn't worried. So Thing One stayed at the hospital in which he was born and I went home two days later without him, which was horrible. My in-laws were at the house with Thing One, I was at the hospital as much as I could be with Thing Two, and Himself was going back and forth.
They were able to do most of the necessary tests pretty quickly. CT scan to make sure his skull was okay under the skin defect, a lumbar puncture, physical exams, all things that hurt my heart when I thought about them in conjunction with my newborn. The final test was specialized bloodwork, and the sample had to be sent to a lab across the country for analysis. The neonatologist stepped up for us again: he expressed the blood to the lab and harassed them by phone until they sent the results back. Finally, Thing Two was cleared to go home (a few days earlier than expected, thanks to the neonatologist!) and we were beyond overjoyed.
Even so, he'd been in the hospital five days. He'd been in the same room as some really scary-tiny preemies, so I did have some sense of perspective by that point, but I wanted my baby out of that room and unhooked from all the tubes and monitors so desperately that I can't even begin to express it. It was a terrible time...people were calling the hospital to congratulate us and we didn't know what to say, even to those we actually wanted to talk to. We didn't know what to put in the email that we'd planned to send out after his birth. I realized a few weeks ago that I never saw the email that Himself finally ended up sending out, and he forwarded it to me.
Thing Two still has a scar on his head. It grows proportionally with his skull (which was fine under the skin defect, thanks be to God), and when his head is close to adult sized, we'll have it taken off. In the meantime, it causes him no problems...we just have to remember to put sunblock on it. People do often ask him about it, though, which is why we'll have it removed. We call it his 'spot.'
If we'd only known then that this was going to be the least of his medical issues! It was a good two years later that the gross communication/language problems became apparent. According to the pediatrician, the two issues are completely unrelated, and he was just genetically unlucky. At least he got the mildest form of ACC, if he had to have it at all.
He was born eight years ago today. It's been a wild ride from Day One, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it for a different child. Happy birthday, little buddy...your Mama loves you more than you'll ever know.