Friday, March 9, 2012

"Carters Story" by Jenny Fawcett Ruklic

I've been a part of the hemophilia community now for 4 years.  One of the first things that impressed me was how many parents are the leaders in the hemophilia community.  One of these parents is Jenny Fawcett Ruklic.  It was a journey for her to even admit to herself that her son had a bleeding disorder, but she did.  Now she has an organization that is dedicated to raising funds for research to find a cure for hemophilia.  Recently, she posted her story, "Carter's Story", and I wanted very much to share it with you all.  Thanks, Jenny, for sharing your journey with us.  

"Carter's Story" by Jenny Fawcett Ruklic:

Over the last few months, I have made so many friends via Facebook, and a lot have joined our Page Carter's Quest for a Cure, Mall in the Hall and Bids for Bruisers. The one thing that I think may be missing is our story. So, here is my rendition of what has inspired me to become the advocate I am for my son.
Jenny and Carter

Carter Stephan Ruklic was born June 12 2008, a beautiful 8lb boy with a beautiful head of dark brown hair.  The labour was interesting. I lost a lot of blood, and it took a really long time for the doctors to stop the bleeding, but I never thought anything of it.  I had a daughter 5 years earlier, and it was the same thing.  Everything went fairly smoothly.  We were released from the hospital the next day and sent home.  2 days later, the community nurse came by the house to do the heel prick and weight check.  All pretty routine until I thought of it later.  Carter`s heel bled for a really long time.  Again, I never thought anything of it.  The nurse took her information and left.
Carter and Cassie

The weeks went by, and I started to feel a little emotional, I think the beginnings of postpartum.  On week 4, we had an appointment to have Carter`s circumcision done.  My husband works crazy hours during the summer.  We own a landscape business.  So, he is working tons.  So, when the appointment came, I thought, "I can do this myself no biggie. . . " (Which, if I can recommend now: Take help when someone offers to go with you to this.)  The procedure was horrible, the most emotional thing I had ever had to go through.  I was crying and was so upset for seeing my son cry that way.

After the procedure was done, we went home.  I picked up my daughter from Aunties house, and we went home to spend the day in the wading pool and running through the sprinkler.  Since Carter was born, I was depressed and sad, and Cassie was missing her Mommy.  So, I thought I would spend the day with her hanging out.  Carter slept all the time anyway. Little did I know that this was the day that would change our lives forever.

When we arrived home, I went to change Carter`s diaper, only to find an entire diaper filled with blood.  I called my sister.  I hadn't gone through this.  I wasn't sure if this was normal.  She had a boy. . . She would know.  Tara told me there shouldn't be blood. . . PANIC. . .  All I could think was that the doctor ruined my son.  I called the doctor's office. He told me to go to the Children's Hospital.  I'm sure at that point he kinda knew, but nothing was said.  So, I called the husband, asked him to meet me there. Cassie, Carter, and I were on our way to change our Lives.
Jenny and Carter

We arrived at the hospital, and they took us right away.  They stitched up Carter with 2 stitches, apparently the circumcision split. . . owww, painful.  They asked us to stay for 1 hour just to see if it continued to bleed.  I was confused why would it still bleed.  Are they telling me that they don`t know what they are doing?  Anyway. . .  I sent Will back to work with Cassie.  He was in the middle of building a pond, and there was a storm coming.  So, he left, and I said I would call on my way home.  An hour later they checked and it was still bleeding.  In came the lab to take some blood work. I was so confused as to why they wouldn't let me go home. . . 

Two hours later, the blood work came back, but they are not telling me anything.  My brother in law shows up.  Roger didn't want me to be alone.  I hadn't called Will back yet, and then The doctors come back and say that there was a problem with the blood test, and they needed to run some more.  I tell them, "Fine, but what is going on?"  No one answers me.  Roger calls Will, and my husband is back with me at the hospital.

Around 7 at nite, we have been there for 5 hours. They send a lab tech in to tell us in very broken English that our son has a shortage of factor in his body.  I have no idea what he is talking about.  What is factor?  I just looked at Carter and started crying.  Keep in mind, I was still postpartum.  Finally, the hematologist comes in and tells us that Carter is a moderate hemophiliac. . . SHOCK. . .   He gives us the HTC information and tells us to come for a meeting with everyone on Wednesday, and they will be able to talk about everything and answer any questions.  I then spent the next 48 hours crying and sobbing, asking God why he would do this to Carter and our family.  I just wanted answers.

Jenny, Will, Cassie, and Carter
We went to the clinic and met the entire staff that was going to oversee Carter`s condition.  At this time we are also told that the lab made a mistake, and really Carter is a severe type A and not a moderate. . .  Do these people know what they are doing?  My blood was boiling. . .   They handed us this giant binder filled with really scary things: joint bleeds, muscle bleeds, spontaneous, what. . . , and on and on,  and a bag for the binder.  I felt like we were just given a prize for being the 100th customer.  lol

We went home, and I took the binder and bag and put it under my bed, cause as a child that is where the monsters go.  I spent the next 6 months in a state of depression.  My test came back.  I have 32% factor in my body.  It explains all the bleeding episodes as a child, and knee and ankle problems.  I also had Carter retested. . . denial.  So, 6 months went by, and I didn't want to talk about it or really acknowledge it until Carter had his first bleed:  rolled over on a toy and bruised his back right on kidney area.  So, I started to cry.  Then, all of a sudden, I stopped, looked at Carter, smiled and said, "Mom's got u".  I ran to our bedroom, and got the binder from under the bed.  The monster was looking me in the face, and I needed to help my son.  So, I took a deep breath and did what I had to: admitted that my son has hemophilia.

After that day, I have hit the ground running.  I engulfed myself with information.  We attended the society events and I even went to a women's weekend for women with bleeding disorders.  I met people and talked to everyone I knew about Hemophilia.
"Carter's Quest" Bottle Drop

2 years later, our lives have changed so much.  My son is an amazing little boy and normal.  We are joint bleed free, 2 muscle bleeds, and numerous soft tissue bleeds and head injuries.  He wears a helmet at times and knee pads.  I have managed to train in giving my son his infusions at home, no port, I find the vein 3 times out of 5.  I joined the board for the Southern Alberta Chapter of the Hemophilia Society.  We attend The Parents Empowering Parents weekend, which, if anyone has the opportunity to do, do it.  My husband and I are not anything special, but we love our kids and Carter is no exception.  Aside from the underlining condition, he is very normal.  He loves to cuddle, he loves to jump, and he gets hurt. . . 

I can`t change what we are going through, and I can`t take away the pain that Carter may go through in his life, but I can be his strength.  I can be here to tell him that he is special.  God chose us to be the ambassador to his needs.  I will do everything in my power to raise Carter and Cassie as I would any other children: with morals, strength and courage.  I am strong today because of my children and not in spite of them.

Over the last little while, I have met some extraordinary people, and I will cherish their friendship through Facebook.  I love all my hemophilia friends.  Thanks for being here to help guide my way.

Love to all. . . 
---------->  Click here to visit the Ruklic's website <----------

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this story! What honesty & inspiration. How often With God's help, we can take the difficult things in life and use them to make us stronger. This family is also reaching out to others. Great transition from fear to action! Thanks, Nancy


Thank you for commenting. I love to hear from BWB readers!