Chapter 18

Chapter 18 – Descending Into Appointment Hell


July 30, 2009: God, what have we gotten ourselves into? Will there be layer upon layer of problems we have yet to delve into, or is this the extent of it? I never thought of a genetic disorder, only issues from drugs, which I foolishly thought would resolve over time.  Can I do this? ?

Glass doors welcome us inside. Andrew and Eli sit in the waiting area. Holding Paige, I check in at the front desk.

“Your son can’t go in with you,”  explains the receptionist.

“We thought it would be helpful to show Dr. Hertford how he and Paige interact,” I explain. I try to convince her with a wide smile.

“I’m sorry, it’s a rule,” she says firmly. Great, who’s going into the appointment with Paige and who’s going to wait out here with Eli? “We have child development majors to look after siblings during appointments. One will be with you shortly.”

At first Eli is shy towards the young woman with a loud smile and quiet voice, but quickly warms up when she shows him Legos table. He sits down to next to her and we slip away unnoticed.

Dr. Hertford’s second test administration shows Paige has normal development in all areas except gross motor, which is delayed more than ever.

stoic syd

Paige is 11 months and can’t sit independently. She requires help to get into the sitting position. She doesn’t brace herself to prevent falling. She still can’t push up with her arms. She doesn’t crawl or scoot on her tummy.

I tell Dr. Hertford about Ruth’s Klonopin use and Anita’s medical concerns. “The things Anita says are seen in Dilantin Syndrome are features she shares with her biological family,” I explain desperately, showing her a picture of Ruth and David.

Dr. Hertford studies the photo and then Paige’s face. “We can’t be sure if Payten’s features are a genetic variation or the result of drug exposure so I’m going to refer her to Genetics.”


Dr. Christine Birch evaluates Paige a month before her first birthday. In the time between the two appointments, I’ve gotten more pictures of Ruth and David. I’m determined to show Dr. Birch that Paige’s suspicious features are biological in nature.

And I need to prove it to myself.

Dr. Birch is thorough in her evaluation and I can answer most of her questions. I’m exceedingly grateful we have an open adoption with Carole and Ruth.

At the end of the appointment, I show Dr. Birch the pictures of Ruth and David. We discuss the physical features that concern Anita. Dr. Birch agrees that Paige looks like her biological parents, especially Ruth.

“I’m going to order a series of genetic tests just to be thorough,” she adds at the end of the appointment.

When Paige’s genetic tests come back normal, Dr. Birch makes a recommendation to physical therapy for Paige’s gross motor delays.


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