Farrah, my second child, was born October 5th, 2005. While I was in labor her heart rate dropped to 80 and at one point it even fell to 75 (it should be around 125-155). The nurses looked at the heart monitor once and said it was nothing to be concerned about, "no big deal." When it dropped to 75, I demanded that they call the doctor.
I delivered her shortly afterward and she was all blue and purple, like the circulation in her entire body had been cut off. The doctor didn't even tell me during birth, all she said was 'push.' I didn't get to hold her until a few hours later because they had to aspirate her and give her oxygen. When they finally brought her into my room she was shaking all over. They said it was just a reaction to the delivery.
I took her home three days later. She wouldn't stop crying - day and night. And her little body was rigid like she couldn't relax at all. And she wouldn't eat; I tried breast feeding and the bottle. The doctor said she had colic and just told me to switch her formula but that didn't help. I finally took her to ER because she cried non-stop for hours at a time. And I was crying too.
The hospital just gave me all this paperwork about colic. I tried to get an appointment with her pediatrician before that but I could never get in; I am a single mother and had to juggle day care with my other child - it hasn't been easy.
When she was six months old I took her back to ER and another doctor on duty finally paid attention to what I was saying. Because of her age, he realized it wasn't colic. He ordered an ambulance and she was transferred to Children's Hospital in Oakland immediately. She was there a week and had a battery of tests including an MRI.
When the test results came back, the doctor and the neurologist at Children's sat me down and told me she has cerebral palsy. I had already told them about the complications at birth but they said they didn't know if that was the cause.
Doctors don't want to point fingers and accuse their peers.
It was a terrible shock. I can't even go back to work and whenever I see little girls I start crying. I work at Pete's Coffee and they are so understanding about this, giving me all this time off.
Right now I stay at home with Farrah but can't for much longer. I don't know what to do because I have made inquiries at four different daycares and none will take her. She has a hard time eating and her muscle tone is high: it's like she is always flexing the muscles in her arms and legs and can't stop. She arches her back and if you tap one knee, both legs react. It is so hard on her - she is exhausted all the time. I do physical therapy with her all day, open and close her hands and hold her legs.
She seems a bit happier and she is starting to smile but I have to find a way to stay home. She still cries all the time though and I can't put her down for more than a few minutes. She is always uncomfortable. I still don't know if she can ever walk or talk and Farrah is far behind in her development. She can't sit up like a normal six month old baby, her legs won't allow her. And one eye is crossed, it turns in, so next thing is a visit to the eye specialist at Children's Hospital.
I can't let myself get exhausted because I have to also take care of my two-year-old.
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Nothing like this was given to me when I delivered Farrah - they just said the monitor wasn't reading her heart rate properly. They said that it must be reading mine - not hers. They said she was OK, but she wasn't. Now all I can do is wait and see how she does in the next six months to a year, to find out how severe it is.