Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Brenda L. Eaken)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

Back in 1974 I became pregnant for the second time with my son, Rick. Our first, Jennifer who was only 7 months old at the time, was healthy and a joy so we were thrilled with the idea of another baby so soon. I thought my pregnancy was normal until my 8th month. Since my obstetrician must have also thought things were fine, no tests were ever ordered. I found out later that I had developed polyhydramnios during pregnancy, which would have accounted for my large weight gain and trouble breathing. But other than that, I always felt excellent during both pregnancies and didn't even experience morning sickness.

About five weeks from my due date I started having what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions in the middle of the night. Since they were coming irregularly I waited for a few hours. They suddenly stopped and I fell back to sleep. Upon waking in the morning I phoned the doctor to inform him. He suggested making my next appointment in ten days rather than two weeks. Oh boy, such concern! When I was examined he told me I was already half dilated and told me to go home to bed. Why I wasn't hospitalized, I'll never understand. But at the time, I was young and naive and thought all doctors were saints. Three days later my water broke and I immediately went to the hospital. After a few good contractions, Rick was born about four hours later following a natural, no med delivery as his sister was. He was instantly found to have a problem (he was bright blue). I was allowed a quick kiss and he was whisked away to the pediatrician. The pediatrician on call that night first thought it was a collapsed lung and ordered x-rays. Upon viewing them, he identified his problem as CDH. Thank God for Dr. Robert Childs of Hazleton, PA. He had just finished his residency at Hershey Medical Center where he had seen numerous cases. The decision was made to transfer Rick there. Unfortunately, it was a very foggy night and the State Police helicopter was grounded. So Dr. Childs accompanied the ambulance crew and Rick's Dad, all the while monitoring and squeezing the ambu bag to assist Rick's breathing. The doctor in charge of him at Hershey, Dr. Shochat, performed surgery on him at nine hours old. We were told he had a 10% chance for survival. Without getting into all the details here which would lengthen this considerably, I'll say that after a rocky start Rick slowly improved and was discharged home to us after seven weeks. He only had one other surgery at four weeks old. In the beginning his left lung was only a "bud" and since he had high concentrates of oxygen they couldn't tell us what the future held. But we didn't care. They told us to take him home, love him and allow him to grow and act as any other child. Loving him was easy and luckily, we were blessed with no other long-lasting effects from the CDH. After only a few checkups at Hershey it was found that his left lung had expanded and he has no vision impairment from the oxygen.

Throughout his childhood Rick behaved as normally as any child I've seen. He was a healthy, intelligent, handsome, loving boy who grew to a man with the same attributes. We've just enjoyed a year of having him home with us after serving six years in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier. Having him home completes our family again with his 26-year-old sister and 15 year old stepsister. I am truly blessed to have such a great husband and family.

Rick's mom, Brenda L. Eaken (Pennsylvania)

No comments:

Post a Comment