We filed into a small room with a nurse and a computer.
“So, what’s going on with Sarah?” she asked.
“We don’t know.” I answered. I felt flustered and defensive. Sarah didn’t have any identifiable symptoms. Buggy eyes…how do you explain buggy eyes? We had been worried about Sarah for a while. I felt so relieved to be here; like we were handing her over to people who could help her.
Was it just us? Was I a neurotic mother? When should a baby make eye contact? When should a baby smile? Sarah was a month early. Did that account for anything?
I had mentioned my concern to our pediatrician at her four month appointment.
“Let’s see if she will grow out of it.” He said.
She takes an hour to finish a bottle! She spits up! She doesn’t smile or make eye contact!
“I really think something is wrong,” I said. Our doctor recommended physical therapy. I felt like he was throwing a glass of water at burning house.
Sarah was now six months old. I looked down at my daughter. She was limp and lethargic. I felt like she was getting smaller and smaller; like she would just disappear from our lives.
“She doesn’t seem right” I told the nurse at the hospital. “We were up skiing and last night she was running a temperature. She keeps shrieking, like she’s in pain. We didn’t know what to do and we were passing through Denver. I thought we could just get her checked out.” My voice sounded so nonchalant; it wasn’t me. We’re sacred to death, fix her! I wanted to shriek. But I kept my control as Bill cradled our baby and the nurse took notes.
“Let’s get a weight and a blood pressure. Then the doctor will see you.” The nurse weighed her; 11 pounds. Six months old and she weighs 11 pounds. She had lost a hard earned 8 ounces in the last couple of days.
Another nurse had entered into the room. “Hi Peanut, aww, you don’t feel well do you?” The nurse stoked Sarah’s head. She looked up in a sickly daze.
“We need to get a blood and urine sample from her.” The nurse said. I nodded. Unaware of the needles, the poking and prodding Sarah was about to endure.
My husband stood over our daughter stroking her head and whispering to her. “Shh, it’s all going to be ok. I’m so sorry. It’s all going to be ok.” Watching him cradle her was too much. He doesn’t deserve this. We don’t deserve this. I fought the nausea creeping up my throat.