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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BabyBoy Campbell

"Has your son ever been a patient at Hopkins before?" she asked. I could hear her fingers tip-tapping on the keyboard.

"Well, yes, actually," I replied, "He was in the NICU at Bayview when he was first born."

She asked for his birthday. I heard more tapping. "You're Nancy, right?"

"Yes," I said. "He might be under--"

She cut me off, "We don't have Joel, just BabyBoy Campbell."

I sighed, "That's him."

And just like that, I felt angry and powerless all over again.


***
A year and a half ago, when I walked into the NICU, two days postpartum, my face puffy and my stomach a saggy shell of pregnancy, I asked the nurses, "Do you know his name? He has a name. It's Joel." They quickly put his name on his isolette, but the medical records always listed him as "Baby Boy."

The nurses called him Baby Boy when talking to each other. I know this was for clarity's sake, to ensure that he got the right doses, the proper documentation. There could be no room for confusion. The little tag around his tiny ankle said, "BabyBoy Campbell."

When we left a week later, we took home Joel, and left the specter of BabyBoy Campbell behind, along with the ghostly lullaby of the heart-rate monitors and the tangled cords of the IVs.

***

Hearing BabyBoy Campbell come out from the shadows caused me to take a deep breath. I know that a hydrocele is a routine, piece-of-cake surgery, and I'm lucky-damned lucky- to have a world-class hospital like Hopkins in my backyard.

But, still. I thought we were done with BabyBoy Campbell.

I decided to do an exorcism. I asked for the number of medical records. I made the call. It took all of three minutes, but digital BabyBoy was gone with a keystroke.

And now, when we meet the pediatric urologist (who knew such a thing existed?), he will meet Joel. He will see a gorgeous little boy with a very easy, very fixable problem, and he will take care of it.

He will never meet BabyBoy, who spent the fourth day of his life on a respirator, his lung collapsed. He won't know the infant who fought for my milk, thrashing in the isolette, a scrapper from the start.

He will only know Joel, the kid with the big heart and big smile (almost as big as his impressively large left scrotum.)

And I, his mother, will not ever--ever---allow his name to be silenced again.


17 comments:

The Rambler said...

Ohhh Nancy.

Your little boy JOEL is blessed to have a mama like you :)

xoxo

Kristin said...

You go mama! We get all feisty over our cubs don't we?

adrienzgirl said...

You go get 'em Tiger! LOVE IT!

Jen said...

You go, MOM! So glad it was fixed, and that BabyBoy Campbell is now in the past.
And...I'm sorry, I really had to laugh about the "impressively large left scrotum" line. ;)
Boys...LOL!

Stephanie said...

Beautiful post! And a beautiful little boy too, of course.

mama-face said...

OH my. What a mama to kick some butt and get his name on those records; he deserves it for all he (and you) have had to endure. At the very LEAST.

Such a touching post; thank you for sharing. btw...what a cutie! :)

Trudy Woodland said...

The first time Fiona was in the hospital she was known as "acute x" it killed me too. I always thought "a cute kiss" when I looked at her id bracelet.

I'm glad you took care of business!

blueviolet said...

Joel deserved to have his name out there and not be just one of many. :)

michelle said...

Awesome mommy love. Awesome post

Becky said...

Glad it was easy to change that name business! I wonder what they would have done if you said that his name was still "baby boy"? BabiBoi, that is. Did they seem like they would have a sense of humor when it comes to things like that?

erika said...

Joel, the Indomitable, kicked the collapsed lungs and the respirator in the butt at 4 days of age, so this enlarged scrotum is really not an equal enemy for him. He'll laugh in the face of the enlarged scrotum. Hang in there.

Nancy Campbell said...

"Hang in there." How appropriate for s scrotum issue! Hee.

erika said...

Lol. It's the scrotum after all who needs the encouragement. You guys are fine :)

Aunt Becky said...

Good for you. Seriously, TAKE BACK THE POWER.

Corrie Howe said...

Good for you Mama! I'm surprised it only took a few minutes.

won said...

Good for you, for taking it back! I am a big advocate of using your voice.

My best thoughts are with Joel.

Unknown Mami said...

You are something else Mama! I love that Joel has you on his side.