So the results are in. Less than 24 hours after the initial draw DH got a call from the pediatricians office and so when I talked to him on my lunch break he was able to tell me the results. Later that day I got a call from the neomed clinic letting me know the results.
I've learned a great deal about Hep C, myself, and society from this experience. Though I'm grateful the results indicated that Baby Girl was negative I came to a point where I truly was OK no matter the results.
As I mentioned in the prior post Baby Girl had an initial blood draw to test preliminarily for Hep C since I breastfed her. There was concern that if my nipples were cracked (which they did) that bodily fluids could pass and I could potentially contract Hep C. There really isn't any research to support this since blood is considered the source of the virus and the chance that she could pass me the virus via her saliva would mean I should purchase a lottery ticket. At the same time no one would recommend breastfeeding at the breast until she was tested. The test she had was not considered reliable. In hindsight it was silly to test but it was done.
We had to go in twice to have her blood drawn since the first time it was done incorrectly. When we were called back both times the looks I got from the lab tech were confused. Why does this woman need her baby tested for Hep C? I dont think I fit the "stereotype" of who they were expecting. The first draw not only did they do it incorrectly I felt like I was treated like an imbecile. The second time I couldn't have praised the techs more for their kindness and compassion.
The other area that Hep C invaded our lives was daycare and child care in general. Since I had the initial test (which wasn't initially described to me as inaccurate) I assumed that we didn't need to tell daycare since her initial results were negative. Well I got reprimanded when I went to the pediatricians office for not telling daycare. So I called the director near tears telling her that there was a small chance that Baby Girl had Hep C. The director was so kind and was more worried for me then for my lack of sharing the information. She told me that actually parents are not required to share bloodborne pathogen information and that even if Baby Girl was known HIV + we still didn't have to share since all daycares are required to adhere to universal precautions. She thanked me, told me the staff in Baby Girls classroom would be reminded of the need for strict adherence to universal precautions but Baby Girls medical status would not be shared.
I didn't hire teens for child care and only used two college students. We informed them about the potential of the Hep C diagnosis as well as provided them with information on what Hep C was and the risk factors. I was really impressed by the information provided by Scotland's equivalent of the CDC http://www.hepatitisscotlandc.org.uk/friends-and-family/precautions-for-families.aspx We provided gloves for them to use if needed. Though they both agreed to babysit despite the potential I could tell it was an uncomfortable conversation for both of them. I was open and honest. I also told them that after they went home if they changed their minds and chose not to babysit for us I wouldn't be offended.
The sight of Baby Girls blood in public made me nervous. My aunt actually started to clean a cut by licking a finger and rubbing it then repeated it... I put a stop to it instantly. I'm sure she thought I was a looney but I thought she was a looney for putting spit into a cut (let alone the risk to her!) There is a biter in Baby Girls class at school- when I saw the cut on her arm my eyes must have shown panic because the teacher started to explain the situation to me. I honestly was more worried about the other child then Baby Girl. Baby Girl already had been bitten. There was no undoing that fact. The bite had drawn blood and my mind whirled in "what ifs." At home I would clean her up, send her on her way and wash my hands. No worries.
So how have I changed? I've learned to check myself when I judge. The facts don't always tell the story but rather they are just that facts. Take the outbreak of Hep C in NH not all that long ago. Potentially thousands of patients contracted Hep C when a healthcare worker used the patients intravenous pain drugs and shared their needles in a cardiac and ortho rehab setting. Those people will live out their lives Hep C + and people will judge them. As a whole I don't think I was judged often however I know D was judged. No one said it but I'm sure adoption + Hep C = drug addict. Which was true but not something I share nor do I plan on ever discussing it publicly.
I look forward to not having to share the potential for Hep C anymore. Although I kept it matter of fact and I feel like those I had the conversation with were sensitive and understanding it hurt to know that people were judging D each time I had to have the conversation. It also means I now feel comfortable hiring a teen to babysit which will be much cheaper than a Grad student!
So after 18 months of a nagging worry the world has lifted off my shoulders. I no longer need to protect the world from Baby Girls blood. I also no longer have to worry about her liver function and wont feel guilty giving her tylenol and Motrin when she needs it.
Life is good.