I now have an appreciation for the very cliche description of bad news as a "bomb dropping." It really does feel like a bomb went off in my chest tonight. It's sort of a numb and tingly almost throbbing sort of ache.
I took Rowan to the doctor today just to check out a nasty cough she's had for about a week. I didn't really think it was anything serious, but I just wanted to be sure before we head into the long Thanksgiving weekend. I was right, and her cough is just a lingering cold. No problem. A few more days and she'll be right as rain.
But just before we left, I mentioned to the doc. that I was still concerned about how she still seems so crooked. She leans very prominently to the right at all times and resists being straightened out. I wasn't too concerned when I noticed it at first when she was just a few weeks old, but now that she's just over 3 months, and as she's getting stronger and able to hold herself up much better, she is still not straightening out. "Let's get an x-ray of her back, just to see." I love that my pediatrician is overly cautious and it really doesn't take much to get an x-ray out of her.
20 minutes later, and there is the wicked film in front of me. Rowan's spine is shaped like an "s." There's a word for this: scoliosis. I blinked a few times, hoping that I wasn't seeing what I thought I was seeing. My perfect, sweet baby with a crooked back. Dr. Dewbre was almost speechless for a minute, and when she did speak, she didn't really know what to say. "This is really rare in infants, Rachel. The youngest case I've ever seen was in a 2 year old."
Okay, so what does this mean? Like any parent, I had a million questions. What do we do? Is she going to be deformed? Is she going to be permanently disabled? Can we fix her? Is she going to be in pain?
No answers. The only thing I know right now is that we will be referred to a pediatric orthopedic specialist and will start physical therapy right away. I have no idea what type of prognosis to expect...if this is something serious that we will be dealing with her whole life, or if this is something that can be resolved relatively quickly. I just don't know. That's the worst part...not knowing, and having to wait a few weeks to get any answers at all.
I just don't know why this is happening...not to her. She's so innocent, sweet and perfect, the baby girl I have been dreaming of for so long. Why would something terrible like this happen to her? Now I am imagining her in a back brace throughout her entire childhood, or worse yet, in a body cast, unable to play like all the other children. Or what if we have to resort to surgery to correct her back? How can I do that to my precious baby?
There's nothing to do now but wait. That awful word...wait. But until I know any differently, I'm just going to hold her, and all my babies, a little tighter. I am thankful that her diagnosis isn't life threatening, and will probably have a good outcome. I think of all the other parents out there who have heard much worse things from their doctors, things like "cancer" and "transplant" and other nightmarish words. I know how devastated I feel right now, I can't imagine how much worse it can be.
Right now my little angel is sleeping peacefully in her cradle, warm and comfortable. But her momma's heart is breaking.