Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Kathy Compa)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

Our son was born on June 9, 1972, after a very routine pregnancy. This was before ultrasound was used, so we were not aware that anything was wrong with our son. After a long labor, Peter was born early in the morning of June 9, 1972. There was activity in the delivery room, but since Peter was my fourth baby, I realized there was always some hustle after the birth. They showed me the baby and quickly took him away without a word. After a short time, I was taken to my room, and my husband came in with my OB/GYN, Dr. David Landers. He had started to speak to my husband in the waiting room but then brought him in to me where he was joined by our baby's pediatrician, Dr. Vincent McAuliffe. They also had a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Anthony Barbara, from Hackensak Hospital. At this point, Dr. Barbara proceeded to tell us that Peter had been born with a diaphragmatic hernia and that he needed immediate surgery to save his life. I remember saying to him to do his best. I truly don't think I realized the severity of this problem. I was to find out later that Dr. Landers had noticed the baby had difficulty breathing when he was going to perform the circumcision. They inserted a tube to help Peter breath until they could perform the surgery. Luckily for us, Dr. Barbara was available and performed the surgery when Peter was four hours old.

We have been truly blessed, and I have often called Peter our miracle baby. We were told after the fact that his chances were about one in ten. But he came through the surgery beautifully. After a couple of days, he kicked one of the tubes out, and they told us that if he was that strong, they would not replace it. He went home after 11 days without any complications at all. Over that year, he had pneumonia four times and was hospitalized each time. He was also tested for cystic fibrosis twice, but each time that was negative. We were sent to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York for further testing and were told that one side of his diaphragm was smaller than the other. But other than that, he was fine. At 11 months, we were told that Peter needed another surgery to make a permanent correction of the hole. The first surgery was to save his life and now a piece of material called cyloplast would be used to repair the hole permanently. That surgery also went well, and on Mother's Day of that year, I took him home. He has been fine ever since.

He was a little small for his size initially, but he definitely caught up over the years. He has played soccer since he was eight years old, Little League, and even wrestled for a short time. When he needed a physical for the wrestling, we had to return to the surgeon and have x-rays taken. After he looked at them, he said no one would ever be able to tell that Peter had ever had a problem.

I am so thankful for my Peter. He could have had so many other complications that I never was aware of until now. I guess very little was known about this condition almost 29 years ago. I do know that I have a living miracle in my life, and I thank God every day for him. I had another son four years later, and he was fine. And my three daughters born before Peter were also perfect.

Peter's mom, Kathy Compa (New Jersey)

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