Last week I wrote an entry on Momstinct, or the fine line between trusting your mother's intuition and simply spinning your worry wheels. The update is that two doctors have told me they do not believe what is going on with Hayden is a tumor but more likely related to the condition he was born with now causing ENT problems. We consult with the surgeon who did his early operations next week and feel confident that we are in good hands here at CHoP. We have expected further surgeries since he was little and are just so hugely relieved that the sky is not falling.
I'm not prone to panic, but I don't always have the best judgment when crisis strikes. My family jokes that I am the one who will stand paralyzed over a choking victim mentally debating whether or not this is really worth a call to 911, because I don't want to bother them, and what if I call, and by the time they get here, the person has hacked up the hot dog and is cheerfully eating a slice of watermelon? I'm the one who jumped up, in the midst of my throat closing over an allergic reaction to crab at a black tie function and quietly left the table, because I didn't want to embarass myself or my husband's colleagues. I figured it would be more dignified to die in the bathroom or at least the bar, which is where someone saw me and saved my life.
Because of this, I have married, made friends with and generally surround myself with people whose instincts I trust. They have been so valuable as I navigated the fears of last week.
So here is what I know about Momstinct. It's real. It comes up when something is not right. I think of my friend Linda Davis, who diagnosed her own toddler's autism back in 1999 when it wasn't a buzzword, when she had only seen the movie Rainman, when her own pediatrician said it wasn't true. (Read her story here) Her momstinct was devastatingly correct.
And I think about my friend Jess, who wrote in the comments on the original article that her eyes flew open at home the instant her nine-year-old tripped over a rope and smacked his head on a concrete floor. (But she notes that the image that came to her was a much more dire crisis--him running into the street and being hit by a car.)
Momstinct exists for minor situations, like the mother who looks up and realizes the house is too quiet, and finds her toddler baby-powdering the living room. It exists as a warning--that guy who is just a little too friendly in the check out line? Have someone walk you to your car. It exists to steer us out of danger, like the creepy opthamologist who told my fourteen-month-old he loved her and kissed her on the lips at the end of an exam--we never went back and we reported him.
This week, Momstinct sent us to the right doctors who will help us figure out the best path for Hayden. I believe Momstinct is real, that it serves a purpose, but like the boardwalk fortune teller with the bourbon breath and the fake eyelashes, my momstinct might not always be 100% accurate.
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With thanks to everyone who has held us in our hearts as we navigated this past week.