Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reflecting on Arabella's First Year of Life, As We Celebrate Her Birthday

 Hospital for Special Surgery

Next Friday our daughter, Arabella will be turning "1"!  I can't believe how time flew by.  I remember when we welcomed Savannah back in 2010, getting to her first birthday seemed like forever.  But, once you add a second child, right after, time seems to go by quicker.  As I prepare for her birthday, I have been reflecting on the past year of her life, which brought along a few bumps.  Like her sister, Savannah, Arabella was born with pyloric stenosis, a stomach condition which needed surgery at 8 weeks old.  The last thing a parent wants to do is watch their child go through surgery at any age, let alone the first few months of life.  The only upside to this surgery, was that Savannah had it the year before at 10 weeks old, and we knew what to look for and expect.  This made the process a little easier, but it was still stressful.  Thankfully, we also found specialized care at the Children's Hospital in Hartford, and knew the doctors had experience in this type of surgery.  

Unlike Savannah, however, they detected a heart murmur, and then did an ultrasound to find that she has a small hole in her heart.  We have gone back a few times for follow up ultrasounds in hopes that it would close on its own as she got bigger, but as of the last cardiology visit, she still has the hole and will need surgery.  If knowing your child has a hole in their heart is not enough, having to wait until they are 3-5 years old to have the surgery is even more stressful.  But, we are hoping and crossing our fingers that these extra years will give Arabella's heart a chance to grow and close the hole on its one -- making surgery not necessary.  Only time will tell.  But, in the meantime, we are doing like the doctors say and treating her like she has no health issues.  There are days that I forget that she has this minor imperfection as we call it. :-)  Then, other days when I hear friends and family whose child is sick and in the hospital, I begin to think about Arabella and what will happen if she needs surgery.  What will we tell her and Savannah?  How will the surgery go, along with the recovery?  After experiencing the pyloric stenosis surgeries and finding great specialized care, makes thinking about what may happen less stressful.  

Does/did your child(ren) have any disabilities/developmental challenges, or need the expertise of quality medical professional for sports rehabilitation, orthopedic care or achieving normal developmental milestones?  If so, how did you handle this, and who did you turn to for care?  Being new parents, we had no idea who to turn to or which hospitals to take the girls to.  Living in a small country setting, our local hospital wasn't equipped to handle pediatric surgery.  So, they directed us to the Children's Hospital in Hartford.  Walking into the hospital for the first time was a little overwhelmed, but we quickly were greeted by warm staff, who provided exceptional care to my daughters and my husband and I.  By the time we left, everyone on the pedi floor knew the girls by name, had come by to bid us farewell, and a few called days later to check in.  Now, how is that for service and care?  We were amazed at the support and professionalism they all showed during our stay and post care.  And, when people are looking for a place to take their children for specialized care and rehabilitation, we don't hesitate to tell them about our experience with the Children's Hospital in Hartford.  

But, for those who don't live in CT, they will have to find other care centers.  I was recently introduced to the Hospital for Special Surgery.  "This hospital is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. Located in New York City, HSS recently opened the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center at the Children's Pavilion providing comprehensive, individualized rehabilitation for both inpatients and outpatients from birth to 21 years.  Its multidisciplinary staff includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists." 
Check out the new CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center within the Lerner Children's Pavilion:

Now, if I lived in NY, I would definitely be taking my daughters here for care, if the need came about.  If you live in the NY area and have small children, I suggest you check out the  Hospital for Special Surgery website where you can learn about the new CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center within the Lerner Children's Pavilion, as well as other services they offer.  It is better to be educated about proper care facilities than not know what do if you are confronted with a illness or unexpected surgery like we were.

But, in the meantime, we will be enjoying the upcoming week-long birthday celebration we have planned for our soon to be one year daughter, and are thankful for those who helped us during the first few months of her life, with her pyloric stenosis surgery and recovery.  I don't know what I would do as a parent if places like the Children's Hospital in Hartford and Hospital for Special Surgery in NY were not around?  Just knowing that they are there, makes you worry less.

Don't forget to "like" the Hospital for Special Surgery Facebook page, to stay up-to-date on news and advancements.

Disclosure:  I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hospital for Special Surgery. A small donation to a charity of my choice was made in my name as a thank you for participating. You should consult with your physician or other health care provider before beginning any rehabilitation/therapy, sports training, or exercise program.

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