As a new parent you want to make sure that you are in tune with your baby's growth and development. It is a new experience caring for a baby which results in a great deal of learning and adapting. I remember in the first year we spent our share of sleepless nights and unexpected visits to hospital emergency rooms. I remember one time we were trying to bring our son's fever, a blistering 103 degrees down by soaking him in an icy bath while trying to calm him down as his crying did not help the situation and he would get all worked up seemingly making the fever get worse. We had no choice but to have him rushed to the hospital as my wife had me call 911. The paramedics that arrived at our house were there within minutes of our call and they were very reassuring as they readied our son for transport and they had my wife gently hold him and they placed him on a baby stretcher. My wife stayed with Matthew in the ambulance and I followed in my car. When we arrived at the hospital I remember we spent a long night waiting and speaking with the nurses and doctor and spending most of the time in a small room in the emergency ward. We knew we did the right thing and despite the lack of sleep and anxiety we felt we were feeling much better after the doctor gave us the ok to bring him home with a prescription to help him with reducing the fever and the nurses commented on how cute he is. In his first year I remember he had his share of visits with his pediatrician for all sorts of reasons as he seemed to be susceptible to getting colds fairly regularly. He also had normal scheduled visits for the monitoring of his weight and growth. He was also on a schedule for the required vaccinations which were hard to watch being administered to him as he would wail upon feeling the needle. I just felt so bad for him as he would cry until he turned red. You never want to see your baby hurting so naturally you always feel the need to protect and comfort them and you always rely on the doctor's and put your faith and trust in their judgement and medical opinions.
We shared in the joys that most parents experience in viewing our baby's first accomplishments. Things that seem simple enough to us are major feats for a little baby.
It was fun to watch our son smile as this was like a ray of sun shine that brightened up our day. When my son was a baby I remember always peeking in on him in his crib before I left for work and I always left with a smile on my face. When Matthew was a baby I remember those days when I wished I could be home and spend the whole day with him but I would always realize that I needed to work and Maria needed to nurse him. Thank God I had my wife's and Matthew's beautiful baby pictures to surround myself with at work when I was away from my family.
I remember when my son started to crawl and the very first word he said. They were positive moments in our son's development. There were some patterns of early behavior and development that raised some questions and concerns too. We were concerned about Matthew's early development because in the months after his birth my wife noticed that Matthew did not make any visual eye contact when she would talk out loud to him in that way we talk with our little baby. She would try to get a rise out of him by gently moving in closer to him and singing and saying calming words. We were concerned about his hearing as he did not speak. His early form of communicating with us was typical of most babies. He did his fair share of crying. We actually felt good about that. Matthew was a very good baby and he slept pretty good through the night especially with his baby lullabys playing and my wife's gentle and reassuring words.
I remember reading more about the typical stages of a baby's development to try to see how our son was doing and I felt we should discuss any concerns we have with his pediatrician. When we told her we were concerned about his limited speech development she seemed concerned and raised the possibility of having him evaluated by a state representative for early childhood development to see if he would qualify for the early intervention program with the New York State Department of Health. She also had us meet with an ear, nose and throat specialist to see if his hearing could be the problem.
We were instructed by the state department of health to fill out forms that would be mailed to the house and have a doctor's letter written explaining our son's condition.
As soon as we recieved the forms and mailed them with the doctor's letter we would receive a response within a couple of weeks. In completing the forms we were concerned about possible diagnoses and not sure what to expect.
I remember the woman who came to the house to evaluate our son as she seemed very experienced and very good with children. We explained to her that Matthew was to have tube surgery and she knew about the surgery and said that it is fairly common and that there was no need to worry. She spent 45 minutes with Matthew testing him for responses and his reaction to different stimuli and she seemed like she did this regularly. After she concluded her testing she sat with us for 15 minutes and explained we would receive a written evaluation and her recomendation within a few weeks.
I remember we for some reason delayed our visit with meeting the specialist and in retrospect I wished we did schedule the visit sooner. When we finally did meet with the doctor and he evaluated our son he did several tests and came to the conclusion that Matthew needed a fairly common surgery called a Myringotomy which is the insertion of a tube to help with the proper draining of fluids in the ear. As a parent your normal reaction when hearing your baby needs surgery is to start asking questions. The doctor allayed our fears and explained that it will help him and that he has performed it many times with young children. The one thing he did mention was that anesthesia would have to be administered for the surgery. This did worry us but we realized that going forward with the surgery was in the best interest of our son.
Well Matthew got through the surgery with flying colors and we were delighted to see him awaken seemingly feeling no pain. He had to rest for the hour under the doctor's care so we waited nearby where a tv was playing. It was near Christmas of 2000 and I felt tremendous relief that he was ok. He had just turned 2 years old and I realized how much I worried for my son and now understood what my parents went through with me as I was so accident prone as a child. After the hour the doctor said he was fine and we could take him home and we were prescibed ear drops to adminster to him.
After Matthew's follow up visit with the doctor we were assured Matthew was doing remarkable with the tube surgery and we should continue using the ear drops and were told that the tubes will eventually fall out naturally and by then the ears should be functioning fine and he should have a lot less infections.
We were relieved that Matthew was making progress with the tubes and we were also looking forward to the response from the New York State Department of Health but felt somewhat in limbo as to what would be written and what would be the outcome of the visit.
As we put Matthew to sleep for the night we kissed him and played the beautiful lullabys and watched him drift off to sleep which helped me sleep better myself. My wife would wake up when he cried as that was the plan.