Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tomorrow is Dylan's birthday. A whole entire year old. A lot has changed in a year. He's less a baby and more a little boy. He can shake his head "no" (hooray.), he is eating more and more regular food, he can dig around in the toy box to find a toy he's looking for (and sometimes tumbles in) and he can walk a bit, but chooses not to. He's no longer content to just veg out on your lap. He's no longer easily held and cuddled. His motto - as was his brothers' - is "Anywhere But Here." But he's definitely still a mama's boy; the only one of the three who is. Sometimes it's a delight. Other times, like when he's refusing to leave the kitchen, choosing instead to stand there pulling my pants down when I'm trying to make dinner - not so much.
In the first few days of his life, I didn't know whether to let myself imagine any of this at all.
Right after he was born,when I finally was able to try to nurse him, he couldn't. He would try, but then unlatch, and he was making funny sounds. The nurse took him and listened carefully with her stethoscope, but when I asked her, "is everything OK?" she wouldn't answer me.
She took him to the Dr., and Dave went with him, and I was in my room alone. I still wasn't too worried. He wasn't premature. I had no reason to think anything was happening.
Another nurse came in and said exactly this, and only this: "We're going to send him to Dallas. Your doctor will come talk to you." And then she walked out.
And I didn't start crying, really, well, maybe just a little, but mostly I just went into full-blown anxiety attack hyperventilation. I worked very hard to stop, though, because I didn't want reams and reams of paper from my monitor hookups recording for posterity my emotional breakdown.
I had just gathered control of myself when Dave and our pediatrician walked in. She explained what was going on - that he was suffocating because his lungs were sticking together, basically. He could breathe out, but then he couldn't breathe in again. (I don't know whether she told me this at the time, or later on when I was better able to handle it, but there was a time that his stats dropped dramatically and he turned a dangerous shade of blue. She thought they were losing him.)
At some point I called my mother and told her to come and bring the boys sooner rather than later because we didn't know how long he'd be here before they took him away to Dallas. So they came but didn't stay long; the kids got restless and needed lunch and naps.
Finally a few hours later the team from Dallas came and got him all hooked up in his travel chamber and they brought him to me to see him before he left, and they gave me a Polaroid they had taken of him. He looked so heartbreakingly tiny in that chamber, but he was already proving himself a fighter - he was trying desperately to raise up on his arms (they later told me he didn't fall asleep like most babies when they get out on the road - apparently Dylan did push-ups all the way to Dallas).
I'd been trying to start keeping down a little food (I'm always very very nauseous after my deliveries), and I think I got sick twice while they were in there, and one of the two ladies on the team told me she'd never seen anyone get sick so gracefully! That was a moment of levity at least.
So they took him away and I felt very lonely. It felt very strange to have had a baby and not have that baby with you.
Our pediatrician came in again and we prayed together.
One of the nurse's assistants came in and told me she had prayed over my baby.
I was let out of the hospital probably way too early - I was in a lot of pain. We drove to Dallas every day, and Dave would drop me off at the door so I could try to get a wheelchair while he parked. I felt like I had to defend myself, since I apparently didn't look like I needed a wheelchair - the guest desk was invariably skeptical. It was tempting to lift up my shirt and show them the incision when I said, "I'm Post-Op." I wanted to tell them, "It was all I could do to make it in the door. There's no way I can walk this labyrinth of a hospital all the way to the NICU."
He was mostly sedated the first time or two we visited. I remember the day we were finally able to hold him, he started fussing a little so I picked him up and talked to him and he stopped crying. Until then I didn't know if it was true that a baby would calm at their mother's voice. It never worked for my other two. But with Dylan it was like magic.
Anyway, to cut a long story short (too late!!!) he healed, he came home, he grew and grew and GREW.
And he's 1.
Happy birthday, baby.