When I was born at the medical center in Dothan, Alabama everything appeared to be perfectly normal. It was not until the nurses were giving me my first bath that they discovered that I had soft cleft palate and I stopped breathing. I was then intubated and flown to Children’s Hospital.
On the way to Birmingham the tube moved into my right lung and caused a pneumothorax. At Children’s a chest-tube was placed in my side and feeding tube in my nose. I stayed there for several weeks in an incubator until I was stabilized. The nurses worked with my family, teaching them how to take care of me until I had my cleft palate repair. As a baby I was so active that the nurses had to put socks on me that came up over my knees so that I would not rub them raw. They put a sign on my bed and took pictures for my parents that said, "Thigh highs for the baby on the go!" A few months later I came back to Children’s for my cleft palate repair, and to have tubes in my ears. This was almost 22 years ago and you would not know all of this unless I told you.
Children’s Hospital gives hope to families like mine. Not only did they take care of me, the patient, but they also took care of my parents. I was their first, and the nurses and staff really helped to calm their fears and taught them how to take care of me when we got home. It was also comforting for them to be around families going through similar things.