Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ophthalmology Update

Yesterday afternoon, we took the kids to their ophthalmologist visit with the new doctor in our town.  When I arrived, Peter wasnt there yet, but the office staff were great in getting us checked in and holding paperwork for me to do until he got there.  They have a special pediatric waiting area, with toys, etc.  It was such a better experience than the previous office, where we loved the doctor but not his staff.  We met Dr. C. and liked her.  She was good with the kids, but the kids... They weren't good with her.  They did NOT want to be there.   Screaming, crying, you name it.  It was pretty miserable.  She felt bad, we felt bad, the kids were very unhappy.  But, she was nice about it and said it was really common for this age and, after their doctor's appointment (where they also freaked out and she, too, said it was the age).

And then, for me at least, she dropped a bomb.

She believes that, in the next year or so, Maya will become near sided and that, although it will be a tad longer for Bobby, that he will be too, and that they will both need glasses.  Maya's vision is at "0" now and Bobby is at far "2" (which apparently is more normal for their age?).  As their eyes grow, most likely, their eyes will not adjust and they will grow into near sidedness.  When I asked her if this was a result of prematurity, since (although Peter has a family history of bad eyesight) both parents have excellent vision, she said "most likely."

This hit me like a ton of bricks and, I admit it, I cried when I got to the car.  Peter couldnt understand why.  When we talked about it later, his response was a) they could be fine; b) it could be a result of genetics; c) but ultimately, it doesnt matter because they are fine now and we are watching their health and will keep up with whatever they need whenever they need it.  He expressed that his vision was 20/13 in both eyes from childhood and, only recently, did he score 20/20; it took him over 30 years to get there.  Mine have been 20/13 and 20/15 since childhood and now, both are 20/15 (which, incidentally, my ophthalmologist said was insane, considering I was premature and should have, at best 20/20 vision).  I get what he's saying; I do.

And I am grateful.  I know that ROP causes blindness.  I know that babies born at later gestations have many more problems, eyes and otherwise.  I know that we have escaped so many problems and that, even if this is the case, as Dr. C. said, this is a small blip on the screen and is not a big deal... That it doesnt have to interfere with sports or anything else, and that many people wear glasses or contacts and have perfect lives.  I know this.  I do.

And yet, the part that I am focusing on is that their prematurity let to this.  The fact that my body failed them and delivered them over 3 months early did this to them.  When Maya had to have laser surgery, I had similar feelings.   It was my fault.  If I'd carried them longer, perhaps... Perhaps... Perhaps...

Of course, we dont know.  Ask a full term mother who delivered her baby full term and still born if she would prefer a 27 weeker who had minor concerns and she'd say OF COURSE.  It's all relative to how our children are, I know that.  I wanted full term; nature had other plans, and I have two healthy children.  I'm grateful.

But I cant lie and say I dont feel guilty, enormously so.  I dont know what else I could have done, save not attempting pregnancy.  And that's a whole other post in and of itself that I'm not prepared to address.  I would give my very life for the time I've had with Bobby and Maya.

I thought I'd write something more positive (like how the chowbabies, as I'm calling them today since they are eating EVERYTHING in sight!, **might** enjoy an overnight while Mommy and Daddy take an anniversary trip) but I'm not feeling it right now.


sunflowerchilde said...

Thanks for the comments on sleeping. I read your napping post, too, which is interesting. I do something sort of similar for getting my two little ones to nap, but usually I have to leave my son crying for a bit while I rock his sister to sleep, unless one of them is otherwise engaged in a toy or game. I don't like letting him cry, but he usually goes to sleep very easily after crying for a couple minutes - I think he just needs to tire himself out. But I admit I'm not crazy about the crying.

As for the eye thing, I know that nothing I say will make a difference, most likely. I am very near-sighted, and I hated it as a child, but consider that I also hated being a twin when I was a kid. I now recognize that many, many people deal with vision issues, and I don't find it to be a big deal at all anymore.

As a kid, I almost blamed my parents for my near-sightedness, if only because THEY are both very near-sighted and passed it on to me. It just didn't seem fair. Of course, as an adult, I realize that's ridiculous. I think your situation is rather similar. You "passed on" near-sightedness to your kids through no "fault" of your own, it just happened due to circumstances outside of your control. Goodness, imagine if we blamed our parents for every such problem we had. Parents pass on the good and the bad, and that's life. Maya and Bobby are lucky to be growing up in a time with such excellent vision correction technology, including surgery options.

Anyway, I hope I didn't offend you.

quadmom said...

First of all, sending you big hugs as you struggle with your guilt. I do want to say though that it is NOT your fault. You did the absolute best you could with the circumstances you had. Also, my parents have perfect vision as do my siblings and all our extended family for the most part. Guess what? In 3rd grade I desperately needed glasses. I was born 2 days late. My sister had eye surgery for "lazy eyes" (has perfect vision though) -- no history whatsoever in the family and born full-term. There is just no way to know why this is happening to Bobby and Maya and no way to know why that happened to my sis and to me. Prematurity could have played a role, but it also very VERY well could have nothing to do with it. Please, please don't beat yourself up over it. You are an amazing mother.

sunflowerchilde said...

It occurred to me to add that I expect my children will have bad eyesight and need to wear glasses as well. I have already thought about this many times, and I've felt really bad and guilty for my kids for it. I don't know if it's the same kind of guilt you feel, but honestly, it IS hard wearing glasses when you're a kid (although I suspect it's much easier now than when I was a kid and you had a choice between two or three ugly plastic frames). And I feel terrible that I will be the cause of my kids having to do that. But I also heard on the radio that glasses are very trendy these days and some people wear them even if they don't have bad eyesight, so maybe they'll be trend-setters =)

St Elsewhere said...

Oh, I am so sorry to read this...so so so sorry.

But I hope that if the ophthalmologist's prediction does come true, Bobby and Maya will manage it well.

Peter could be right. It could be genetics in play.