If I am going to share the story of M, I should start at the beginning.
I should also introduce the cast of characters: Aside from M and me, The Mama, there is Mr.A. Mr. A has been my husband of nearly 14 years and partner for nearly 22. There is also Miss J, our spunky, kind hearted and beautiful nine year old daughter. These are the key players who make up my life.
People will often ask me when I first realized something was "wrong" with M.
People will often describe moments when their lives changed dramatically in an instant. Mine happened on Saturday, August 14th 2004 at 11:52am. There is a clear divide in my life where on one side "Before M" lives and the other side is "After M."
The pregnancy was uneventful. Labor was uneventful. His actual birth, was not. M was born and he was silent. There was no cry. Suddenly there was more medical personnel in the room. People were moving in all directions. No one spoke and an eerie silence fell on the room. M was ambu-bagged. A mask was placed over his face and air was forced into his lungs. Someone said it was a boy.
The NICU nurse came and whisked him away.
The neonatologist explained that M had aspirated on meconium which is why he didn't cry. When he was bagged, the pressure of the air being forced into him had collapsed his tiny lung. He was on oxygen and had a feeding tube inserted through his nose and into his stomach. He had an IV of antibiotic dripping into a little vein. We were told he'd spend a few days in the NICU, but he was otherwise fine. There was nothing to worry about.
And just like that, I was discharged from the hospital without M in my arms.
When we could finally take him home, he was pronounced healthy. There was some concern about the amount of weight he'd lost and we were told that until he gained weight, he'd need frequently weigh-ins with the pediatrician. And then we were told to get a renal ultrasound.
"You said he was fine. That he is healthy. Why do we need to check his kidneys?"
"Well," the neonatologist explained, "Some babies that have lung problems also have kidney abnormalities. It is a one-in-a-million chance, but we recoommend you do it. Don't worry, I'm sure your son is perfectly fine."
I scheduled the ultrasound and off I went with M and Miss J in tow. The ultrasound took a long time. Longer than it should have. It did not go unnoticed that the tech, who'd started out so friendly and chatty, had grown quiet and serious and was very much focused on the screen in front of her.
When I got the results the next day, "perfectly fine" seemed little more than a pipe dream.