pay it forward

I had a few ideas for today’s post, but then I fell asleep putting the children to bed and now it is tomorrow.  Well, now it is today, but that means yesterday was neglected.  I woke at some strange hour in the morning and my first thought was “Now my mom will worry all night as to why I didn’t post…”

Yesterday we took Nicholas to the urologist for his one-year post-op visit.  Everything was great and we don’t need to go back unless we find something goes awry in the future.  I couldn’t help but notice a couple in the waiting room with a brand new baby.  They looked tired and scared just like I felt back when I was there with my newborn.  It brought tears to my eyes.

Feeling like I must know it all now that we are through the forest, I assumed they were there for the same thing as my son – hypospadias.  (hypospadias – birth defect of the urethra in boys, anywhere from mild to major – ours was fairly mild, but needed surgery to repair.) Tennessee has one of the highest rates of hypospadias in the nation.  That’s another post for another day.  I felt that I knew what they were going through and wanted to give them some comfort.

It helped me when a mother of another hypothyroid child (like my daughter) explained how their lives were completely normal as I was dying inside with worry.  A couple years later I talked with another mother whose infant had just been diagnosed hypothyroid.  I hope that I helped her.   I hope that seeing my daughter spin around the room in typical three-year-old fashion was a small comfort. 

So back to yesterday.  I didn’t say anything to the couple.  I didn’t feel it was my place to walk up to strangers in the waiting room.  We saw the doctor, got a clean bill and headed out.  I saw the mom by herself in outer room by the elevator feeding her son.  She seemed to be watching Nicholas with some amount of curiosity.  I guess high on my own good feelings I took it upon myself to start a conversation.  I asked if her son had a hypospadias.  She looked confused.  She said her son had enlarged kidneys.  I think she said possibly from reflux.

I tried to offer her some calm words without reassuring everything would be OK, because since I apparently don’t know everything, I have no idea what enlarged kidneys in an infant means.  Our elevator doors opened and we left. 

Maybe a kind word was just what she needed.  Maybe she thinks I’m a total freak who should have just gone about my OWN business.  I’ll never know.

But one thing it did make me consider – I would have welcomed advice from a parent who has gone through the same experience when I was going through it.  I was able to talk to a friend of mine who went through the same experience with her son nine months after I did.  Maybe there are other parents out there who would appreciate hearing from someone who understands the fear you go through as a parent of an infant needing surgery.  Someone to listen.  Someone who can help to explain what comes next.  Someone who can show you their child dancing around the room so you can know things will most likely all work out just fine.

I think I may be writing a letter to my doctor…


One response to “pay it forward

  1. This is so true. Granted, acid reflux is no big deal at all, but at the time I thought I was going to completely lose my mind and could NOT see the light at the end of the tunnel during the hours and hours of her screaming in pain. It helped me so much to hear from someone who’d been there, survived it, and could even laugh it off like it was just a tiny blip.

    I’m glad N got a clean bill of health!

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