Dear Mary Hazel,
Today started like any other Wednesday. We were all snuggled up in the bed. You just finished your morning nursing session and we enjoyed that window of quiet warmth before the day got off to its usual hectic start.
I had a long list of things to do today:
- Take Charlie and Poppy to soccer camp.
- Take you for your one-year well visit at the pediatrician’s office.
- Meet Dad at the shop to drop off my car.
- Eat lunch.
- Pick up Charlie and Poppy from soccer camp.
- Go to work.
- Pick up car.
- Meet Krista and her family for dinner downtown.
Instead, this is what happened:
- Took Charlie and Poppy to soccer camp.
- Took you for your one-year well visit at the pediatrician’s office…
This is where it gets fuzzy. I remember you being a happy baby scooting around the cold floor asking, “This? This?” and pointing to your toys. I remember the nurses saying how much they like your silly hair. I remember Dr. Greene giving you a routine exam. And then I remember the look of worry on her face and her serious tone. “Her spleen is enlarged and I am concerned,” she said. “What does that mean?” I asked. She didn’t reply right away and at that very moment, I knew it was bad news. I didn’t realize how bad, but bad.
We were sent across the hall for lab work. The doctor wanted to check your white blood cell count. After that, we were instructed to go straight to the hospital for an ultrasound. She wanted to measure your spleen. On the way to the hospital, she called and informed us that your white blood cell count was normal and that she was very relieved. And I was very relieved for a while, too. You were very good during that long abdominal ultrasound, but when you started squirming and fussing, I nursed you peacefully until the test was complete. I felt calm; you were happy. The technician left and said she would be back soon. Thirty minutes later, she had not returned. We played with blocks, the sink, and the door handle for quite a while. Daddy went down the hall to get DanDaddy from the waiting room. You and I went to the Pediatrics Waiting Room and you delighted in playing with the LeapFrog table. You were babbling and cooing when the technician walked in and handed me the phone.
“Mary Hazel has a tumor. It’s in her kidney. We need to admit her to the hospital right away.”
Shock, tears, shaking, numbness.
My baby has cancer? My baby has cancer. My baby has cancer!?
I vaguely remember holding on to Russell. I remember going to tell my father. I remember burying my head in the neck of my happy baby still smiling and innocent.
The rest of the words came all at once and I don’t think I heard any of them. All I know is that we are going to the hospital tomorrow morning and do not know when we will return. The standard response at this time is, “We just don’t have enough information to make predictions yet.”
We brought you home. I fed you your favorite soup. I gave you a long bath with extra bubbles. I rocked you for an hour and would not have let go if it weren’t for sweet Charlie and Poppy needing hugs, too.
I’m fairly certain that I’m still in shock, but I thought it important to let our loved ones know what is happening. We will use this blog to keep folks informed. I’m sure they understand how difficult all of this is for Mommy and Daddy and we appreciate their concern and kindness.
I’m going to sneak back into your room now and watch you take deep peaceful breaths while you rest easy tonight.
I love you to the moon and back.