Mary Wilkinson-Greenberg of Jackson had a special affinity for children, which led her to become a teacher. And the highlight of her life, she says, was the day she first held her son, Tim.
Mary: It was a very hard birth. He didn’t want to be born. I finally had to have an episiotomy and he came out, a beautiful baby. But they put him in the nursery and called Dr. MacDonald right away, the pediatrician, to come and check him over. And where I was sleeping in my bedroom I could hear Tim crying a loud hoarse cry. And then it stopped because Dr. Mac had come in to check him through and took him away and put him in an isolette and told me the next morning that Tim had pneumonia. And he had to be on drugs for about eight days. And at the end of eight days I was all ready to take him home and Dr. Mac came in and said, “I’m sorry, but Tim was born without an esophagus.” So we had to take him over to Children’s Hospital right away. And I had seen him in the isolette, that’s all I ever saw. Dr. Mac saw the nurse take the baby out to put him in a carrier to take him over to Children’s Hospital and Dr. Mac said, “Wait. Let mum hold him.” And that was the first time I really held Tim. But then he was operated on in Children’s Hospital. The doctor did a wonderful job and he was able to come home. What they did was opened up his chest, opened up the esophagus, pulled it down to connect to with the stomach. And where those stitches were they kept tightening up so that he would choke on any kind of solid food. He would choke and it would back up into his lungs. So we had about three months of touch and go, whether he would live. One night Tim started to choke and turn blue, big blue splotches over his back. So I called Dr. Mac, and he lived about three blocks away. It was eleven o’clock at night and he came over in about two minutes in his shirt-sleeves. He put oxygen over Tim’s face right away, and the blueness went away and he was able to breathe sufficiently.