Monday, November 24, 2008

My Crooked Angel

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.


Anonymous said...

You are one of the strongest people I know Rachel, and Rowan is YOUR daughter, therefore I know she will be fine. If she is even a little like her momma this will be just a little bump in the road and she will be finding the good in it before long. It is always hard when you think something may be wrong with your child, you don't know where to go for answers or what to do next. You have to be thankful for medical technology and thankful that you are a vigilant mother that never second guessed her instincts about her daughter! Like I have said before, I am here for anything that you need: a laugh, a cry, even a punch! You just let me know and I am there.-julie

Anonymous said...

I am the Queen of waiting ... Addison has taught me that one very well. It may sound strange but this will become our new normal and you won't bat and eye at it a a few months ... I know a little girl who has to wear a brace to bed for her back .. she is 3 and gets it along with her PJ's everynight. Rowan will be fine and you will handle it, i know you will. Check out Addison's carepage for our latest heart check up ... cp name addisonjacob7405 ... I really miss our group on BBC, the new BBC just isn't the same and no one from our thread is there execpt me ......mamatoheartbaby or Koren

Courtney said...

I am so sorry you are having to go through this stress and heartbreak right now. Nothing hurts a mom more then worrying about their baby. Nothing is more stressful then not having answers, and nothing can be harder then waiting. Although I know nothing I do will make this go away for you, i will do anything you need to make it a little easier on you. Please just let me know, I wanted to call you as soon as I read this but it is 1030pm- and assuming that is too late to disrupt your home with a phone call.

Ashley said...

I am so sorry you are going through this honey! I wish I could flip a switch or wave my magic wand and make it all go away! Like the girls said though, you are a strong woman and RoRo will be fine! Waiting is hard, but just remember you have friends that love you and will do anything for you! Hugs and Kisses Momma!

TNT2008 said...

It is always HORRIBLE when we have to deal with something with the babies. My Mom was the only one to know but we had to take Grace to a Pediatric Surgeon in Temple because she had a growth. Yes, waiting is the worst part but I am optimistic that all will go well with Rowan.

I went to school with a girl that did not get her back fixed until HIGH SCHOOL! Once she did, the pain stopped and she actually got taller:)

We will be thinking of you and your babies:) Erika

Jackie said...

Oh Rachel, you made me cry. =( I can't even imagine what you're feeling and I wish, like the other ladies, that I could make it go away. I do want you to know that I have a friend who's back is shaped like an S. She did wear a back brace when growing up, not all the time. It became second nature to her and her family and friends. She stopped wearing it when she was young. I knew nothing about it until after a year or so into our friendship. I can't even remember what brought it up. One day she said, "my spine is shaped like an 'S' and I used to wear a back brace." I replied, "oh really, wow. So, let's go shopping!" She's lived a very normal life with tons of friends and family that love her dearly. She's now happily in love with some dude who I'm sure doesn't mind her crooked-ness.
Like Julie said, Rowan is YOUR daughter which means she's one tough cookie. She's not going to let that stop her from ruling the world! The 'S' stands for Super Rowan!
Huge Hugs to you!!!!

Oh and to comment on your comment about us being separated:
I've always felt that their is another sibling out there. I used to think I was a twin that my parents separated for some reason and of course wouldn't tell me. Could you be my very lazy twin who secretly came out a couple of years later?
( I also used to think I was in a bad accident when I was young and my parents had to have fake ears stitched to my head. They were always so shiny ((probably from all the RAVE hairspray)) that they looked like plastic... yes, i'm crazy!)

bilataxa: plastic ears used for kids who get in bad accidents that their parents keep secret from them. ;)

Katy said...

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. And yes, I agree that Dr. Dewbre is very cautious. Little Miss Rowan is in our prayers, and I know that everything is going to be just fine :)

Julie said...

I'm so sorry that you all are having to deal with this. Rowan is so blessed to have a wonderful mommy like you to take care of her! You know I will do anything at all to help out at any time! Lots of love! J

Claire said...

Oh Rachel, I'm in tears. I can't imagine what you and your husband are going through. But, as all the other girls have said, you are so strong... one of the strongest people I know. You are such a wonderful Mama. See, you knew that there was something different and told your doctor. And you know, maybe catching it so early will make all the difference in treating it. Just know we're all thinking about you! *HUGS*

mp said...

I cannot believe I am not there to hug you. I hate that.

I'm so sorry Rachel. I know it doesn't make it go away but you are surrounded by people who love you and will do anything for you. Take advantage of them. I wish I could come over right now and pick up everyone just so you could spend the day with your baby.

Keep us updated.

Anonymous said...

Rachel, if you don't mind I would like to add Rowan to the prayer list at my church and other places. God is in control and in the work of many miracles. If you ever need to talk feel free to send me a note, I know what you are going through, with my son having heart surgery last year, and my seventeen year old sister having brain surgery this month. Take care and keep us updated

Sandra said...

I am so sorry honey. As everyone else has said, she has you for a mommy so she is automatically a strong fighter. If there is anything you need let me know.

Jenica said...

Oh Rachel, I can't even imagine how scary this is. But you are so strong and I know you will be the rock that Rowan needs. I'll be praying for her.

Jackie said...

Ok, now you're really messing with me! I had some thoughts crazy thoughts today which is normal but then I started to wonder.. "Rachel, is that you?" and kind of expected you to respond! =)

I was cracking up over your last word!

Hope yall had a great Thanksgiving!

Padisto: What I might call a Patio if I were in Spain??

Anonymous said...

Im at a loss for words, makes me sad that i am so far away and that I can not hold you and Rowan. But I know that she will be fine, it's just so hard at first, but then it becames a part of your life, and you manage somehow. And a few years down the line, you look and at yourself, and say "if you can take this on...YOU CAN SAVE THE WORLD"!!! It only makes you a stronger person, and a SUPER mom. Kiss the babys for me, and I LOVE YOU RACHEL, I look up to you. Teach me the ways of super mom :)