Story Of My Brother
I (My Mom) went into labor with my first baby on the night of my 26th birthday. The next day at 12:16 p.m., I delivered an absolutely perfect baby boy. My husband, Brian, and I named him Reed and we started down our path of parenthood.
We had a rough beginning: Just a few hours after we got home with our new baby, he had a terrifying choking incident that sent us to the emergency room in an ambulance. For weeks, we took turns watching him sleep because we were afraid to take our eyes off him. I guess that was just practice for what was ahead.
Aside from him nursing all the time and seemingly never sleeping, we were blessed with a happy and healthy baby. When he turned 6 months old, I proudly took him in for his well visit. I beamed at his perfect growth chart and he had an uneventful checkup.
A few weeks later we took our first family trip, just the three of us. On our third day at the beach, I played with him in the shallow water. It was there that I felt something hard in his tummy. I told my husband. He couldn’t feel anything, but told me to call the doctor when we got home just to be safe. I felt it again the next day on the plane ride home and couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. That was Tuesday.
On Wednesday, I called my pediatrician and told her what I had felt. She told me she couldn’t diagnose anything over the phone, but to bring him in next morning and not to worry because it was probably nothing.
By the morning I had convinced myself that I couldn’t actually feel anything in his belly after all. I took him into the exam room and undressed him down to his diaper and laid him on the exam table. The doctor came in and exchanged niceties, and then she put her hands on his belly and stopped chatting with me. I instantly knew that something was very wrong.
She told me that she was going to send me to a radiology clinic so that Reed could have an ultrasound. I asked her, “When?” and she said, “Right now.” I got in my car and called my husband to tell him what was happening, and he sped to meet me at the clinic. We were ushered right in. A technician performed an ultrasound on my exactly 7-month-old baby. She left the room and said the radiologist would be in to speak with us. Then, she came back in and told me to pick up the telephone in the room.
On the other end of the line was my pediatrician. She informed me that they were pretty sure Reed had a Wilms tumor. I struggled to make out what she said. Did she say “rooms tumor”? I knew she said it was on his kidney.
The pediatrician told me to go home, pack a bag and drive to Children’s Hospital immediately. I called my mom first. I was hysterical. My mom was a pediatric RN for her entire career. She knew what Wilms tumor was right away. She tried to calm me down. I needed to stay focused. I pulled into my driveway, opened the car door and vomited all over the pavement.
Brian and I got to the hospital less than an hour later. Reed spent the entire day having tests. He was poked and positioned and constantly pulling at the tubes now connected to his body. We were in a small exam room when the team of surgeons came down to meet with us at about 9 p.m.
They told us there was no time to waste and they were going to operate in the morning. Reed hadn’t nursed all day. He would be prepped for surgery overnight, meaning they would pump him with fluids that would make him vomit to clear out his system. I held him all night as he vomited on me multiple times. My in-laws came to the hospital that night with a change of clothes and prayers ..........
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