A name is nothing.
He awoke this morning smiling. Wasn't hungry, only ate 4 oz., then wanted to nap. He slept for two and half hours then began to vomit. He wasn't crying, didn't seem like he was in any pain, just seemed sleepy. "Did he have a rough night?" No. "Yeah, 'cause he's acting really tired, which isn't like him," our nanny said. And he was doing this weird thing with his eyes, where they'd kind of bug out, as if he was suddenly startled. We called his pediatrician, who was out to lunch. I got dressed and drove him to the doctor anyway, without an appointment. Part of me thought, "he's just tired, poor thing." But I also knew it was more than that. Babies puke. So I didn't think much of that. But his eyes… he began to stare off into space, and then that startled look… startled me. No fever. No seizures or anything, but those eyes. And then he vomited again in the waiting room. Something just isn't right.
Here's the bitch of it all. Yesterday, before all this happened, I took him to the pediatrician because he had a rash around his mouth. So did Abigail. "You're not going to freak out each and every time this shit happens are you?" Phil asked. "'Cause I'm sure this 'rash' is nothing." And he happened to have been 100% right.
"So I'm being overly-cautious. So what? I'd rather go and let them tell me it's nothing." And that's what I did. I took the beans to beantown… okay, not to Boston but to their doc. And they laughed and giggled the whole time, especially Lucas. All happy. "Nope, they're not allergic to bananas. And that rash is just from all their drooling. They're teething. It's normal. You can put on some vasaline, but it'll be fine. And on his neck is some very mild eczema." Done and done. "They're both totally fine," their doctor said.
And then I bring him back today, and our regular doc isn't there, but another one is and agrees to see him. She sees that he's kind of looking as if someone hit a restart button somewhere inside him. He's acting as if he's just landed on the planet earth and has no idea what's around him. And it's fucking terrifying. So she suggests, "you know, just to be safe, why don't you go bring him to the ER."
"Phil, ask the nanny if she can stay late to watch Abigail, and come meet me at the ER, okay." It wasn't a question. And that's when I kind of have to remind my self to breathe. I'm so nervous I begin to sweat.
Then we wait in the ER, you know, forever. And finally see a doctor. Lucas is asleep in my arms. Then his eyes jolt open and he vomits. "You see, just like that," I tell the doctor.
"Yeah, I need to get bloods and a CT, stat." And within ten minutes of his CAT SCAN, a neurosurgeon greets us. "I need to relieve the pressure in his brain." The words are kind of hanging there. Did he just say, brain? "The normal pressure in there for a child his age is less than ten. He's at 28, which is three times what it should be." Does this mean he's going to be retarded? It's all I can think, right after, is he going to die?
"Do you know if it's contageous? Should we be worried about our daughter? Is this something she could have caught?"
"I can't answer that right now. I'll have to see what the fluid looks like." He tries to relieve the pressure then and there, asking if we'd like to leave the room. We're not going anywhere. We're handed paper masks, told to fold them over our noses, and pull the bottoms down under our chins. Iodine. A tray of needles. I grab Phil's hand. I'd thought we'd been through the worst of it in the NICU. I thought this shit was behind us. I said a prayer, then aloud said my grandmother's name, Beatrice, after whom he was named. The Beckett in him is her. Please pray with me, I say. And I don't pray, not really. I guess sometimes. In times like these, you just try to think good things. But you're not thinking, "Can't wait until his first roller coaster ride" thoughts. Good thoughts become, "he's going to be fine." But you don't believe it. You thought he was just overtired! Well, until you thought it was more.
And then you blame yourself, picking it apart, wondering if you could have spotted something sooner. How could the pediatrician not have seen anything yesterday? But he had no symptoms yesterday. But, he did throw up a lot. But even when I'd mentioned that, the doc said it was normal, that they outgrow it by the time they're 9 months. And now, I'm in a hospital bed, beside my sleeping husband, listening to Lucas's breath across the room in his hospital crib. He's hooked up to monitors, just as he'd been in the NICU. I know the sounds. Am used to the vital stat checks every four hours. But I don't think you ever get used to this.
He's been diagnosed with aquired Hydrocephalus. He was not born with this (we don't think… we're going to have them look at his CT from when he was in the NICU, but likely they would have spotted any abnormalities then), and they don't know what has caused it He hasn't been dropped or hit his head, and no tumors or anything showed up in the cat scan. The fluid inside was tested, and there is no bacteria in there. His white blood count and electrolytes are fine, not anemic. Has been completely healthy, not even a cold. Has been giggling and happy, inquisitive lately, just beginning to roll to his side. He hadn't shown any symptoms until today. We'll of course know more in time. Right now, we're just taking things hour by hour. I hope I'll get some sleep tonight. And I'll continue to hope for a lot of things, simple things, things we understandably take for granted. Please hope with me. He's my sweet baby, and he won't look at me. I just want to know that he'll be a normal kid. And as far as I've heard, they have no way of knowing these kinds of things. Will my life ever just settle down and be quiet, at least a little drama free for a while?
I'm so thankful for my family. For my Lucas Beckett, and Abigail Ruby, and man, right now, so thankful for Phil. "I'm going to be with you forever," he said to me after we got the news. Because I live after school specials up here in my brain. We're going to get divorced over this, I think in a panic. We're going to mourn the loss of a baby, and then have to deal with a daughter who senses loss. And we'll fight and things will never be the same. These are the sick thoughts that comb through my brain. "We're family," he says. And I believe him.