Six months went by fast and soon it was time for a baby. I never went into labor, so we had to jump start it with Pitocin, because I was two weeks overdue. I knew I was in for a long labor, so I grabbed my favorite book, Peter the Great, which I had already read. This is the book my mother had given me nine months ago, whose author’s son has hemophilia. Oh boy, would that make an impression soon. At the hospital, the nurses teased me as they saw me lying in bed in labor, reading this historical book with a yellow highlighter. “Studying for a test tomorrow?” one of them joked.
My baby was born by C-section and the next day, the doctor came into my room with a puzzled look on his face. He had circumcised our son, and “It bled for about 30 minutes,” he said, literally scratching his head. “In 30 years, I’ve never seen that.” In the back of my mind, I heard myself say, That author’s son has hemophilia…
He stitched our newborn up and when I saw him, he seemed fine. He was big–nine and a half pounds! We took him home two days later. One week later, around midnight, I went to change his diaper, and was shocked to see it saturated with blood. The entire diaper was red. I called the doctor, and he said to bring him to the ER. Our first ER trip at 1 am, with me still recovering from a C-Section. At that time Children’s Hospital in Boston was rather old and in need of repair. My husband went with our newborn into an exam room; they had me sit outside. I was crying to myself with no one around. Hearing my newborn scream for the next hour, two hours, was torture. My husband was excellent; he stayed with our son, talking to him, calming the situation down.
The ER doctor seemed more worried about me. It was 3 am, I was in the ugly waiting room alone, still not feeling great from the birth or lack of sleep or worry I could not stop crying. The baby’s screaming drove a knife through me. By 6 am, the baby was asleep, having survived the stitching, and we headed home, utterly drained. We had not slept in 24 hours.
It would be a month before we got the news. Meanwhile everything healed and life went on. Until the phone rang on a Friday afternoon in October. The voice of Jocelyn, a woman who would become our nurse and lifelong friend, was on the other end: “Laurie, this is Children’s Hospital calling. We have the results in from the blood tests. Your son has hemophilia A.”
Just like the author’s son. The author of the book I was reading the night I gave birth. The book my mother gave me nine months ago…
I felt a rushing noise in my ears that made it hard to hear what she was telling me. “Now, the clinic is closing for the weekend. If anything happens, if he bleeds, bring him in to the ER. We will need to give him an injection of medicine to clot his blood…”
While she was talking, I looked at my fluffy-headed, blond-haired one month old, innocently asleep in his bassinet, wearing a onesie. He looked perfect. What was this woman talking about? This was like a jail sentence!
I knew how to fix this. I hung up on her. And felt instantly back in control.
Next week: First clinic visit and weird circumstances continue!