When Kyle was just over a year I went to lunch with my best friend, Jen. She had a son just a couple months older than Kyle and we would hang out often with our babies. I knew Kyle was much different than her son. But I still wanted so badly to believe the pediatrician. So when she casually brought up that tough subject of Kyle not talking that day, I immediately got defensive and angry. I told her that he wasn’t talking because he didn’t have to, we gave him whatever he wanted without requiring him to say anything! Huh? Which is exactly the look Jen gave me! She tried, in the most kind and loving way, to advise me to seek a 2nd opinion when I shot back with “My pediatrician says he is just a boy and he will catch up.” Needless to say that lunch ended kinda awkward. And I went to my car and cried. Probably because I knew she was right, but wasn’t ready to fully admit to myself that Kyle wasn’t typical.
In April of 2005, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I cried. I sat in the bathroom staring at the positive test and cried. This was supposed to be a happy time but instead I was sad and scared. My 18 month old had major issues but his dr. was telling me he was fine! By now Kyle had just started walking but wasn’t talking or babbling and still struggled eating anything that wasn’t completely pureed. I felt so overwhelmed by the thought of having a new baby on top of all these struggles I was having with Kyle. Not mention the fear of having another baby like Kyle. But God knew that having Cody would add normalcy to the anything but normal life I would lead.
At Kyle’s 18 month check up I demanded (in my passive aggressive 1st time mom way) answers as to why Kyle wasn’t talking and would gag on foods other than smooth baby food. The pediatrician finally decided that there might be an issue, and decided the best place to start was a pediatric gastroenterologist. To rule out any physical problems. We were able to get in right away to see him. He scheduled a barium swallow test while a speech pathologist was present, at UCLA. So that summer my mom, Kyle and I drove to UCLA not really knowing exactly what to expect but hoping this would answer all the questions as to why Kyle wasn’t progressing at the normal pace.
The test was awful. Kyle screamed the moment we walked into this busy hospital. Then we were called back into a cold x-ray room where he was strapped to a bed. I was pregnant so I was unable to stand in the room to comfort him-so grandma was left with that job. He screamed as they tried to squirt this liquid down his tiny throat and x-ray him as he swallowed. I watched through a window with tears streaming down my face feeling so helpless and wanting to run in and rescue my baby, as he cried and tried to wiggle his small body free while spitting half of the liquid out. It was so painful to watch. When the test was over it left us with unanswered questions and a very mad toddler.
The gastroenterologist met with us a week or so after the test. He was so kind to me and patient answering every single question I had and spent lots of extra time with me as he explained that there was nothing physically wrong with my perfect baby. He told me that I needed to get a referral from Kyle’s pediatrician to see a neurologist asap. He said if the pediatrician wouldn’t do it to call him and he would make the referral himself. So back to the pediatrician we went after hitting another dead end and feeling so frustrated.
At this point my brain was telling me that something was definitely not typical with Kyle but my mom heart was fighting back telling me he is just fine. I’m not sure there is a way to explain the emotions I was going through or my thought process. One minute I would convince myself that everything was going to be ok and the next I knew everything was not ok. I guess I was fighting to find out what was wrong but at the same time fighting to prove to everyone that there wasn’t ANYTHING wrong. If that makes sense? All while pregnant and hormonal.
I went into the pediatrician this time feeling defeated and helpless, explaining that I was due in a couple months and needed answers, he agreed and put in the referral to UCLA for a neurologist that day. I felt somewhat relieved….until I got home and called to schedule the appointment and they explained that there was a waiting list. They were unable to schedule the appointment but they would call me when an appointment was available. What. The. Crap. Another dead end. And I was due with another baby in 2 months. So, we waited.
When I found out I was pregnant I had an overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t supposed to deliver in Lancaster again. I had talked to my mom about it and she had suggested 1000 Oaks. Its where she had 3 of us and she still had a dr. down there that she loved. So despite everyone telling me I was crazy and my husband trying to talk me out of this decision, driving an hour + for monthly appointments (not to mention I was an hour away from the hospital I would deliver my baby), I felt good about the decision and stuck to my guns. I ended up loving my doctor and it was worth the drives alone back and forth! Towards the end of my pregnancy my dr. was filling out hospital paperwork and asked me who I wanted as my pediatrician to see my baby his first few days of life. I didn’t have a clue, he quickly suggested Dr. Kundell-my dr. explained they were good friends and that I’d love him. So I agreed and thought nothing more about it….little did I know at the time but this, Dr. Kundell would help us in more ways than I’d ever imagine……..