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A Young Man Turns 9

It is so hard to believe that my oldest boy
turned 9 on Dec 30th. 9 years!
Wow. We began our journey
with little Larry at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD.
My 17 week ultrasound had shown that I was
carrying twins in which 1 twin had died just the week before.
It was such devastating news. I remember lying there
thinking do such things happen.
The poor OB cried along with us.
He honestly was not sure what the outcome would be
for the living twin because it appeared the 2 babies
shared a sac. Not only did they share a sac, but it also
appeared the 2 might even be conjoined at the abdomen.
Of course I went to a specialist who was able to determine the
"syndrome." I really HATE that word. But my baby
had what is known as OEIS Syndrome.
Oomphalocoele, Exstrophy, Imperforate Anus,
Spina Bifida. Wow. What is this and do such things
really exist? Well, the specialist really only wanted to help us
out in 1 way, abortion. He felt this child would never live a normal life.
And yet he had never actually delivered a child with this. I still remember
getting the results from my amnio at 24 weeks showing
normal genetics and the doctor giving me addresses to 2 fairly
local clinics that did late term abortions. Can you believe that?
Well, we never saw him again!...JERK....
And thankfully, Larry has 7 sisters
who can be quite involved when they want to be.
I will always be grateful for JoJuan finding Dr. Gearhart
and his team at Johns Hopkins!
The day we found out what syndrome we were up against,
JoJuan was able to find 1 of 2 specialists in the world and had him call me.
Can you imagine a busy surgeon taking the time to call
a mom to be and explaining to her the ins and outs of Cloacal
Extstrophy? I sure can't, but that is just what Dr. Gearhart did.
He went even further to mail me lots of information pertaining to the defect
and had a mother who already experienced all of this phone me.
What a blessing all of this was.

So, on friday Dec 29, 2000, I was just 3 and a half weeks
from my impending due date of Jan 25 (Xander's exact due
date just 1 year later). It was going to be a long weekend and Larry
Denzil was catching the flu so he decided to stay in Ashland.
Ha ha ha. Should of known better huh?
I had an appointment that morning and had been feeling some
pangs in my side. So I get the weekly stress test
at which time she tells me it is nothing to worry about, you're just
having good ol' braxton hicks.

At 8PM that evening, it is feeling a lot more serious than
just false labor so I call and wake Larry up who is more than 8 hours
away from me. Like he can be of any service.
I did all the silly things that you do before trekking to the hospital
like enjoying a warm bath, drinking lots of water, lying on my side painting my toe nails.
Nothing is working so I call Larry again at 9:30
& tell him I am walking to the hospital.
By 10:30 I am semi checked in, I am in a room, but they have
to kick a poor woman out of her delivery room
because I need the largest room there.
I remember them wheeling my huge bed out of the room I am in
and down the hallway. On my way there, a poor father steps out of his
delivery room to throw up. The nurses and I are just laughing.
Poor guy.
It is now after 11PM & I am quite anxious for that stupid
epidural. Savannah was a painful labor and
I had assumed Larry would be quite the same.
Not to mention I am alone and terrified.
Well, by 12:30AM, the anesthesiologist is
attempting to place my epidural.
Did I mention she was a student and her
teacher was sitting in the chair next to my bed reading
a newspaper. Not sure what he was thinking!?
I am in tears because she has hit my nerves in
my spinal column not once, nor twice but
three excruciating times.
The Dr. is walking around looking for her latex gloves not
at all concerned about me.
I am feeling extreme pressure and tell my nurse
that he is coming. She grabs the OB on the floor
and at 12:46 AM on saturday Dec. 30, 2000
Larry Denzil Roberts III is born.
I think my epidural was pushed in about that time.
What an experience!
I did not get to actually see and touch my baby till about 3:30
that morning. I had to wait for that darn epidural to wear off.

Little Larry had 3 surgeries by the time he was 3 months old.
He had his bladder suturing and colostomy.
Then he had a laproscopic exploratory procedure done
on his scrotum because of some fluid in there.
And finally he had an ileostomy / colostomy revision
surgery. Larry had so much scar tissue on his colon, that
his colostomy was not working. During that time, I was unable
to feed him and literally just sat with him
as doctors performed test after test to see what could be wrong.
At 6 weeks, his pediatric surgeon who had done the colostomy
decided another procedure not ever done on children
needed to be done. He had a friend at another facility send him
these tiny microscopic balls that he was going to
place in Larry's digestive track to follow via xray.
It was very interesting. Every couple days, we would go downstairs to
the xray and take a film of Larry's belly.
After a week or so, the surgeon was able to determine that Larry's colon
was not functioning and now that Larry was 8 weeks old, he was old
enough for another surgery. They were going to
revise his colon and give him
an ileostomy.
While the surgeon was in, he said there was no way
Larry's colon could work with all that scar tissue.
At 10 weeks old, Larry was finally able to come home.
I had been away from Larry, Savannah & my home for
4 very long months.
Sorry for the poor images. I was too lazy to scan and just
took pictures of our pictures.
The above picture is 3 generations of Roberts men
not to mention 3 generations of Larry.
Little Larry was bald because his grandma
Roberts rubbed him bald when we left him with her for a week.
Just kidding. He had bad cradle cap and his nurse
told her to lightly rub it with baby oil.
I think maybe she rubbed too hard or too much because
the poor little man lost his hair.
He was the only bald baby I ever had.
This is my absolute favorite picture.
When Larry was 11 months old, he had to
have surgeries # 4 and 5 his bladder closure
and osteotomy.
I was 8 months pregnant with Christian Alexander.
I was able to stay with Larry till
the day before his 1st birthday.
I had been having false labor
and everyone was worried I would deliver
another baby at Hopkins especially me.
My mother in law sat with Larry
for 3 months till he was able to come home.
I remember her and Tammie Ashley
dropping Larry off. Xander was lying in the floor and Larry could
not take his eyes off of him.
Wouldn't it be interesting to know what a 1 year old was thinking?
I should mention that Savannah was thrilled to
have "baby" back home. Also, little Larry had been in traction
for 8 weeks so he literally could not crawl or roll over.
His Therapist worked with him I think twice a week
to get him all caught up.
I sure miss Barb. She was awesome and
really did wonders for Larry developmentally.

Back when they were cute and sweet.
Now it is nothing but bickering and "mom, she is bothering
me." I wouldn't change it for the world.
My 3 boys in front of the DC temple. This was after
surgery #6. Larry had a hernia that had to be repaired.
Isn't he adorable? He was in so much pain and discomfort
but still sat and posed for his mommy.
I remember after this surgery, we took him
back to the children's house and he climbed and played all over the
place. Once the pain meds that the hospital gave wore off,
he was not a happy little fellow.
Summer t ball with his brothers.
9 years ago we did not know what our child
would be able to
Well, I can honestly say, he can accomplish
anything his heart desires.
Not sure how Ruby got into Larry's birthday picture.
She is always thrilled to death at
the thought of blowing out candles.
Thank you to everyone who has been in our lives.
We could not have made it this far without you.
Larry has just finished his 20th or more surgery. We
lost count a few surgeries ago.
Anyways, I am pleased to announce that his
ureter is functioning and Gearhart will be
pulling the tubes out tomorrow.


Destinee said…
What a crazy experience Marsha! And what a blessing Larry has been in my life the short time I've known him in primary. He has been through so much. He's an amazing person! So is his mama. I can't imagine how hard all of this has been.
I can't even imagine 7 years from now when my oldest is 9! I'm following from MBC. Come check my blog out when you get a chance!
Anonymous said…
I love your Birthday Tribute tradition! Beautifully written. Truly we are blessed to have Larry 3 in our family.

Happy Birthday!

I am a new follower. I found you from Mom Bloggers Club!
Tammy said…
Wow, what a story. Happy Belated Birthday Larry III, very special parents you have there!
The Arrrrrgalls said…
Thank you for sharing your amazing journey with little Larry. What a sweet spirit he has! He is also blessed to have wonderful parents like you and Larry. : )
Wow what a roller coaster! Happy late birthday to your son. He is a cutie.

I came over from MBC! I am now following you.

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