Billy's Page

Hi!  We are the Fosters from Scranton, PA.  Our family consists of nine people.  There are Bill and Karen and our seven children.  Lynn is twenty, Theresa is fifteen, Shawna is fourteen, Alicia is twelve, Lacey is nine, Kaila is three and Billy Jr. is nine months.  Billy is often called Wonka by his sisters.  That is because he spends so much time in Hershey, PA where the Hershey chocolate factory is located.  The Wonka comes from the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Billy was born with Apert's on March 4th, 1997.  The pregnancy was going fine until the seventh month when the doctor did an ultrasound and found that there was more fluid than is normal for the seventh month of pregnancy.  After scanning for about twenty minutes she said everything looked fine except that there was a problem with the babies hands.  Shen said that the hands were in a mitten position and she wasn't sure whether the baby was just holding them that way or if there were fingers missing. She said she hadn't come across this before and she said she wanted to do a different kind of a scan later that day to get a better idea of what was happening.  So, we went home for a few hours terrified of what was wrong with the babies hands.  She told us not to worry until we knew more and that she was sure that everything else was normal with the baby.
When we went back she did another ultrasound and still was not sure what was going on.  We had four more ultrasounds in the following month and were told that the baby was fine but that there may still be a problem with his hands.  So we tried to prepare ourselves for whatever may be wrong with the hands.

We just prayed for the safe arrival of our son.  Billy was born at 38 weeks by cesarean section and weighed 9 lbs 15 oz and was 21 inches long.  His hands were mitten like and we couldn't tell anything about his fingers because they were all clumped together.  We were not prepared for all of the other problems he was born with.  The doctors whisked him away very fast to the NEIU unit, we were only able to see him for a few seconds and were shocked at his appearance.  We did not understand what was wrong.  But it was easy to see that he was very sick and needed care right away.

His father was able to go with him and I was taken in to see him shortly after.  The doctor told us that he had many medical problems and that he had a syndrome called Aperts and that all of the things could be taken care of with surgery.  He was very sick and we were so terrified that we would lose him.  We also did not know how to tell our daughters about a syndrome we had never heard of.
Wonka was in for the fight of his life!!  He was transferred to Hershey Medical Center when he was three days old.  His diagnosis was Aperts and also the following:  coarctation of the aorta, atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, all are defects of the heart, which were all operated on with two separate operations which took place two weeks apart.  He also had a third surgery one month later for a malrotation of the gut, nissen fundoplication to stop reflux, inguinal hernia repair, a left femoral line placement and a gastric tube was placed for feedings.  He had many transfusions and had to stay on oxygen.  He stayed in Hershey for two months and then two weeks in our local hospital before his first trip home.  He came home on oxygen and an apnea monitor.  He is a fighter!!!  He had also been in our local hospital twice because he stopped breathing.  Sounds pretty discouraging?  Yes, but as of today 12-4-1997 he has been out of the hospital for 6 months straight.  He no longer uses oxygen or needs a monitor.  All of which we are happy to tell you. 
He still takes some formula by his Micky, but he takes all of his baby food by mouth and drinks with a sippy cup.  He will not take a bottle because he was never able to take one until he was four months old.  The doctors say he can't suck a bottle because of a high palate.  That very well may be but, he will suck on pops, oranges, and his little bent thumbs, and many other things.

He has all of the same things wrong that most Apert kids have, but he has not had any operations for his hands, head or feet.  He will God willing have his first cranial surgery some time in January.

I wanted to write to tell everyone about our Billy and his rocky start in life not only to say what a great kid we have although he is, but I would hope his rocky start will show how much willpower these kids have and prove God has given all of us a very special gift and her trusts us to take care of these angels because he feels that we will do our best.

Billy's future surgeries will be the end of a long and painful trail.  He has suffered much but he will pass through just fine.  As will all of your children.

I hope this letter will let you all know that anything is possible.  Our house is always full not only with our children, but on most days you can find many of the friends of our girls as well as family members from next door.  Billy is always being held and played with to the point that he wants to be held even while he's sleeping.  He has always been accepted by everyone as just one of the Foster kids.  We know that will probably not always be the case but for now it's great.

We look forward to hearing from anyone who would like to ask any questions about Billy or anything else.  We can always find time for others to talk.

I know I have turned this from a page to just about a book.  Thanks for this chance to share our story with people who understand.

This page updated April 4, 1999

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