Alivia was going through her regular checkups with flying colours, until her pediatrician noticed that her head was growing a bit too quick. Everything else on the percentile charts was doing great, but her precious noggin was on overdrive. We didn’t think anything of it really; Muffin has a fairly large head so we thought she inherited his trait. During our doctor appointment she asked me questions regarding Alivia’s behavior, eating, sleeping, she then mentioned one word that jumped out at me “Hydrocephalus”. She gave me a quick explanation, but said not to worry, and gave us a requisition to do a routine ultrasound as precaution. Well let me tell you my phone, my computer, pretty much anything with internet were steaming from me reading every article on Hydrocephalus that I could find. I was so scared by the time I finished. Why us?! What did she do to deserve this? Why would something like this happen to us? Stupid, stupid lemons, leave us alone!!!!!!!
Everything on the internet listed for symptoms she didn’t have: no vomiting, no sleepiness (although what is considered too much for a newborn?), she wasn’t too irritable (but again what was considered too much irritability), she ate like a monster so that wasn’t one for sure, she never had a seizure, her beautiful eyes didn’t fix downward (sunset eyes), and how much of a bulge was considered a tense soft spot? The only sign I could say she had was her head size; I panicked after seeing how big the head could get. Some kids are so mean these days, and bullying is such a huge issue; I personally know having worked for an anti-bullying magazine for the last ?? years. I imagined what life would be like for her if her head wouldn’t stop growing, would her brain develop normally? After doing my own scattered research and with no one to talk to who knew about Hydrocephalus, nothing helped to ease my fears. Every time I opened the internet I cried. Every article showed that I had visited it recently, I felt like I was running out of things to read and started to worry myself sick that maybe something is wrong with Alivia. Muffin would yell at me to stop and put my phone away. He was convinced there was no way she was sick, she was just too happy of a baby. So I took a step back, and we waited for the ultrasound.
We pulled up to the hospital and I think Alivia knew something was not right with mom and dad. There was no laughing or singing or talking, we were scared. I felt like I was floating through the hospital to the Ultrasound ward. I couldn’t feel my body, my brain was shut down, and I could feel the tear ducts filling up already and I didn’t even know if she was sick. I honestly think moms know, we feel with our instincts, and even though Alivia didn’t show any symptoms, I knew deep down we were heading towards foreign territory. They bundled Alivia up so she wouldn’t move during the ultra sound, laid her on the bed and the lights went dim. The ultrasound tech was quiet, and he kept moving the wand over Alivia’s head to point that she was crying so much. It sounded like she was in pain. Muffin is a bit of a bull dog, and was pacing and getting upset that it was taking so long; the fact that she was crying didn’t help. The tech said they would be back, “that’s weird”, I thought to myself and we waited. The door opened and another man stepped in with a lady, they introduced themselves as Dr.Mehta and Wendy Beaudoin. Dr.Mehta is a Neurosurgeon and Wendy was the Pediatric Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioner, both were very kind and asked that we sit Alivia down on the table. As Dr. Mehta moved the wand over her head, he turned to us….
He didn’t even have to say it, I started to cry like I have never cried in my life. My husband was pale and quiet and I held Alivia against me and wept. I felt like I was squeezing her so tight, holding her head, in my hysteric moment I felt like everyone disappeared. I was there with Alivia and Muffin in our sadness. I didn’t hear anything! They were talking with Muffin explaining what Hydrocephalus was; I didn’t want to hear it I read enough on the topic. I wish no one ever, has to feel such a feeling, you feel like a piece of you has been ripped out. Everything we went through to get her, give me something! I thought not her, she’s so little and helpless. We were asked if Alivia had ever fallen, or if we had any car accidents, or even if I had ever lost it on her. As much as I know it’s their job to ask, I was so upset this child was our everything, and we practically had her bubble wrapped for the last four months. After I calmed down a bit I spoke to Wendy, and she arranged the MRI, and we spoke about setting up the date for surgery. I had no questions I was numb, little did I know, Wendy would become my sanity guardian angel, but that will come in a later post. The first couple days to follow were quiet and we couldn’t get out of our funk, something had to change. I think Alivia knew something was not right. We shed so many tears, our family was in shock! No more we decided, we have to be strong for Alivia, our strength will give her the courage to get ready to fight this battle.