Living With Conditions How Newborn Screening Changed My Family's Life
In 2016, my husband and I were celebrating the birth of our first child, a son named Micah. He was such a blessing and we were of course happy but nervous first-time parents. It was a bit of a chaotic time. I was recovering from an emergency c section and my husband from gallbladder surgery, but we were just enjoying our time with our son. When Micah was 6 days old we got a call from the hospital, and a nurse told me I needed to bring Micah back right away. One of the tests on his newborn screening was out of range and they needed to retest him immediately. We were getting newborn pictures taken at the time, but we finished up and drove over to get labs redrawn that afternoon. A few hours later the phone rang again. It was my son's pediatrician. Though we had yet to meet - Micah wasn't due for his first visit until the following week - he carefully explained to me that my son had low levels of thyroid hormone and the diagnosis was congenital hypothyroidism. Basically, my son was born with either no thyroid gland or the one he had was not working. That evening, they put us in contact with a specialist who prescribed a medication that my son would take crushed on a spoon until he was old enough to swallow it on his own. This synthetic thyroid hormone would ensure his brain and body developed normally. Now, my son is happy and amazing. He exceeds the expectations of his pediatrician and endocrinologist every time they see him, which is every 3 months until he is 2. If it weren't for newborn screening catching this condition when my son was only 6 days old, the effects on his brain development and growth would have been catastrophic. I praise God every day that it was caught so quickly and that we have such an amazing, caring, and involved team on our side.
By Megann Reames