This post was sponsored by Floating Hospital for Children as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. Thank you for supporting brands that support my blog.
I glanced over the packet of papers the genetic counselor handed me and Sam over the cool, white table in her office. Numbers and percentages and words like “Tay-Sachs” and “cysitc fibrosis” filling the page. I furrowed my brow, not quite sure what to make of it all, and I felt my heartbeat quicken in my chest and the anxiety over what this all meant settle in my stomach like a piece of lead.
“Good news,” she said with a broad smile on her face, “You are at no greater risk for carrying any of these diseases than the general population.”
At that moment I realized I had been holding my breath, and let out a deep exhale. My heartbeat returned to its normal cadence and I felt that relief pour over me.
Before I was even pregnant with Eve, I already had the health of my future children on my mind.
Sam and I are both of Ashkenazi Jewish decent, meaning that both of our ancestors are Jews from Eastern Europe. My family, which came to the United States in the early 1900s, can trace its roots back to Russia and surrounding countries, and Sam was born in Moscow and emigrated with his family when he was six years old.
While this hertiage ties us together on a deeper level, it also put us at greater risk for being carriers of a host of genetic disorders.
Even though we are both healthy, we wanted to make sure before we tried to have children that we weren’t putting them at risk for being born with a debilitating disease that would cut their life short.
Fortunately, since we live near Boston, an area reknowned for its top-notch medical care, we were able to go make an appointment at Tufts Medical Center for genetic testing. We met with a genetic counselor, who talked us through the process, the various diseases we could potentially be carriers for, and the testing process.
A blood draw each and a few weeks later, and we were thankfully in the clear.
As parents, there is almost nothing we care about more than the heath of our children. In Eve’s 2 1/2 years, we’ve dealt with a few fevers, constipation (and a resulting x-ray that she was not at all happy about), colds, a double ear infection, a stomach bug, and two bouts of conjunctivitis.
We’ve been, knock on wood, really fortunate so far.
As the daughter of a pediatric oncologist, I know all too well that unfortunately that is not always the case. I have seen my dad carry the weight of caring for his young patients — the pain they feel, and the fear that they and their parents face.
Fortunately, for families in the Boston area, they can turn to Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.
They are committed to creating a child-friendly environment to help kids feel strong when they may be scared and physically weakened.
I remember as a little girl going to visit my dad at the hospital where he worked and playing in the playroom there, a space designed to be inviting and take children’s minds off of the reason why they were there. At Floating Hospital, they really bring the fun to an extraordinary level. There are monthly mini-horse visits to the inpatient floors; pet therapy dogs; and The Toughlings, small and mighty animals that can be found around the hospital to remind the children there how strong they are.
(My personal favorite is Elbo, the octopus with seven legs.)
Floating Hospital also offer Child Life Services through caring individuals who are trained to help children and their families deal with the stress of hospitalization through play. With a background in child counseling, I understand the importance of play and what an incredible tool it is for children to use to work out complex feelings that they don’t yet have the words to express. Floating Hopsital pionereed play, incorporating it it into their daily routine.
For children who don’t require hospitalization, Floating Hospital offers a convenient network of of pediatric specialists right in their community. In those cases where an emergency arises, they are able to see children quickly with their 24-hour child-centered Pediatric Emergency Department which is equipped with a play waiting area. They also offer this fantastic tool called InQuicker. For children who have a non-life-threatening emergency, parents can check in at home so they don’t have to hang out at the hospital indefinitely waiting to be seen.
It is through the dedicated staff and array of programs that Floating Hospital reminds children “You Don’t Have to Be Big to Be Strong”.