Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Mother's Instinct

Some of you may know that Anna has been dealing with nasal congestion issues since she was born.

Her pediatrician has always assured me that she would grow out of it, that her nasal passages were tiny, etc etc.  This canned response has always infuriated me because they were not the ones seeing her day in and day out. They didn't see how many times a day I had to suction out her nose just so she could breathe. They didn't see the crazy, record-breaking amounts of snot that came out of the one side of her nose. And even though I explained this in detail every.single.time, they made it seem like it was no big deal.

Even though they said it would go away on its own, I tried everything to alleviate her symptoms. We used a humidifier, Vick's vapor rub, sat with her in a steamy room, and used saline drops and suction. I even completely eliminated all forms of dairy from my diet, hoping and praying that would help her breathe better. I took her to the pediatrician twice specifically to have her nose evaluated, but they weren't concerned. Keyword: They.

So imagine my complete lack of surprise when the ICU doctors informed me that Anna's MRI revealed she has choanal atresia. It is the complete blockage of one side of her nasal passage. She has never been able to breathe out of the one side, and the other side was constantly congested. This condition does NOT go away on its own, and will require a minor surgery at some point.

And this right here folks is yet another example of trusting your instincts.

I KNEW that Anna's congestion was not normal. I KNEW that she couldn't breathe well. And I KNEW the doctors were wrong in that she would just grow out of it. 

Between this and their diagnosed "3 week stomach flu" that turned out to be a life-threatening condition, one could say I am more than a little incensed at my pediatricians office. I have not decided what this anger means yet.

On one hand, I want to wreak havoc and go to every single health grading and review website and rip them a new one and destroy their reputation. 

On the other hand, I recognize that 99.99% of the time, when the pediatrician tells a parent that their child will be fine, they are fine. 

But we were that .01%. And I am just struggling with their lack of action over the last month. I keep asking myself that if they had given her more than just a cursory glance at each visit, if they had thought "Gee, more than a week of vomiting might mean a head/brain issue", could Anna's strokes have been prevented? I guess we'll never know.

I know for sure neither one of my children will step foot in that office again, if for no other reason than all of my trust in them has gone completely and unequivocally out the window.

I'm not sure writing scathing reviews on this practice will prevent future kiddos from being misdiagnosed, but my hope is that writing this will encourage all parents (and especially us moms) to trust our instincts when it comes to our children's health. I no longer care what people will think of me. Call me "Psycho Mom" call me paranoid, what have you... I am an advocate for my children, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will NOT back down when it comes to their health.

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  1. This is infuriating. And unfortunately you are not alone. A good freind of mine had a four year old son who was placed in as full leg cast due to a broken femur a few years ago (hips to toes). He kept complaining that the cast hurt and after multiple trips to the pediatrician and ER they kept saying it was normal and sending him home. She knew something was wrong and basically did a sit in at the ER after a particularly bad day until they finally agreed to remove the cast and check the leg. He ended up losing a foot because the cast was restricting blood flow. Luckily, he has made a wonderful recovery and is doing awesome with his prosthetic but in the end, mother's instict trumps all. You are 100% correct that we have to be the advocates for our children, even if that means second, third, or fourth opinions. Hopefully you can find a new pediatrician you can trust and I wouldn't be shy about letting your current ped know what happened with Anna. It might help someone else's baby one day. Great job mama :)

  2. I have just decided to visit your blog out of the blue, I used to read it frequently as our children are all born around the same time.

    I am so freaking sending you a the most intense prayers for Anna's full recovery. I can't believe how your pediatrician handled it, I am so, so thankful for you that you mentioned that she is mending and will recover, but I just can't imagine what a mind FU@& it would be to go through what your family has, I really hope that you can find a great pediatrician for your girls that you trust if it is even possible.