Normal pregnancy – Normal delivery
Those were the answers to assessment questions that doctors asked me for many years. Yes, I had a normal pregnancy and normal delivery. She was born very near her due date with a beautiful round head, blonde hair, blue eyes, and weighing 7 lbs-9 oz. She was a good baby.
Jess was my first child, and the first grandchild of the family. Maybe we would have noticed signs that things were wrong earlier if she had not been the first. My mom is very perceptive and sharp and was the first one to notice.
Something was off
On several different occasions my mom mentioned a concern about something not being right with Jessica’s eyes. I took Jess to the doctor at the family practice where I worked. On two visits the doctor told us that probably her vision had not yet finished developing. The suggestion was to wait until she was 4-5 months old before pursuing it further. In my young and naive mind, we were being told we were worrying unnecessarily, everything was okay.
What does ‘ somethings not right with her eyes ‘ mean?
Jessica’s eyes were beautiful and looked normal. She seemed to look everywhere – except at the things we wanted her to look at. People would frequently mention how much she must like the patterns on the floor. She also wouldn’t maintain eye contact.
Our pediatrician sent us to an ophthalmologist when Jess was 6 months old. The doctor tried engaging Jess with several items. Then, all the lights were turned off and the room was completely dark.
Jess was sitting in my lap facing away from me during the exam. My mom was in a chair across the room and facing us. When the doctor turned on a flashlight, it was the only thing in the room that could be seen.
I could not see Jessica’s reaction to the flashlight since she was in my lap. Mom could not see her reaction either. Why? Because… there was not a reaction to be seen. The doctor told us Jess needed further testing and sent us to get a CT of her brain.
The CT was taken and we were sent to the radiology waiting room. After a while, we were handed a phone through the reception window. Our pediatrician was on the line and asked us to come to her office and bring the films.
Mama and I were seated in the pediatricians office. Jessica, 6 months old, was in my lap. The doctor came in and sat across from us. Very soberly and directly the she said to us,
“Your baby is blind and forevermore will be.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Next – Blind Forevermore