I was not expecting this. The worst case scenario I had pictured was a c-section. Nothing prepared me for what was unfolding. I remember watching countless tutorials on what to pack in my hospital bag, how to create a birth plan and what to expect. But there were no tutorial or videos of the multiple things that could go wrong. I was supposed to be prepared. I had done everything I was supposed to, but here I was surrounded by different types of specialists asking myself what went wrong. Life has it’s way of throwing all your perfect plans out of the window. Nothing in life is guaranteed to go according to plan.
If you have ever been in a hospital setting meeting specialist, it can be quite intimidating. I felt so small. After discussing Nathan among themselves, they quickly briefed us on Nathaniel’s state and asked us a series of questions. The main concern at this time was Nathaniel’s low tone and keeping his airways open. We were introduced to two new terms :
Laryngomalacia and Hypotonia.
“What is laryngomalacia?
Laryngomalacia is a congenital softening of the tissues of the larynx (voice box) above the vocal cords. This is the most common cause of noisy breathing in infancy. The laryngeal structure is malformed and floppy, causing the tissues to fall over the airway opening and partially block it.”
What is hypotonia ?
“Hypotonia, commonly known as floppy baby syndrome, is a state of low muscle tone (the amount of tension or resistance to stretch in a muscle), often involving reduced muscle strength. Hypotonia is not a specific medical disorder, but a potential manifestation of many different diseases and disorders that affect motor nerve control by the brain or muscle strength”
Because of these 2 conditions, Nathaniel could not eat on his own and had a feeding tube. He will later require oxygen but we will get to that later. If the cause of his state occurred during birth, they could fix it but if it was something that occurred during gestation it could or could not be fixed. Because of the severity of Nathan’s symptoms, I was asked if I suffered any type of trauma or if at anytime Nathan stopped moving. My answer was of course that there were no concerns during my pregnancy. I took my prenatal vitamins and was followed regularly by an OBGYN. Nothing was detected. A series of questions followed regarding our family history and if we knew anyone in our families whose child showed similar symptoms or had any type of genetic conditions. We responded that there were healthy babies on both of our sides and as far as we knew, there were no history of genetic conditions or birth defect in our families. Then came the question I was waiting for. we were asked if we were in anyway related. We advised them we were not related and both came from different countries. My husband was from Nigeria and I was of Haitian descend. This information unfortunately fell on deaf ears. We were told that it’s common for people like us to marry within the family and it’s ok if we tell them. I was dumbfounded! Didn’t we just tell them we both came from two different countries? Are we speaking a different language? Do we have to go back to geography classes and point where Africa and the Caribbean’s are located? Unless they thought this was a recessive gene transferred by our ancestors. Should I place an order for ancestry? I really wanted to get a map out but my husband quickly put them in their place.
Seeing our frustration the team leaves but not before telling us that they will make a series of tests and get back to us. We are finally somewhat alone with Nathaniel and a nurse. The nurse asks me if I want to hold Nathaniel. Nathan’s nurse was such a sweet lady. I am grateful for the way she treated me. She tried to make the experience as normal as possible. I was scared, Nathaniel was in a incubator and plugged to so many machines. I was afraid to hurt him. She reassured me and gently placed him on my chest. I softly whispered to him “hello my love it’s me your mommy” and at that time everything feels right, my mind settles and I forget for a little bit the chaos surrounding me.