Thursday, August 07, 2008

The week leading up to Ella's first birthday was a decidedly emotional week. Not so much because she was leaving the realm of babyhood, that's actually something I sort of welcomed. (Not knowing that the next 6 months would be among her grouchiest.) I just felt like I was kind of reliving the dramatic events surrounding her birth 1 year prior, and it kind of made me shudder, thinking about what might've been.

Last week, the week of our son's birth was equally as emotional. The highlight being when Pat came home from work Friday evening, I had been home all day with particularly demanding kids and a spinning plate of neighbor kids/repair men/phone calls,/birthday preparations, so when Pat had the audacity to ask if Conrad had any dry clothes to wear to his birthday party at my mom's, I burst into tears. Sheesh, I hate when I'm that girl!

And I find myself in a familiar place, the words of doctors and nurses echoing in my head from a year ago. The middle of the night knock on the door from the nervous if not frantic nurse..."I'm not sure what happened. I just got here. She wanted me to come get you. He was blue. But he's okay now. I think. But you need to come down there. He choked. I just got here. I'm just not sure.

By the time we got down to the nurses station, they were starting an IV, ordering chest x-rays, and paging doctors from their slumber. The next eight days went something like:

"What's wrong with him?"
"We don't know...maybe nothing..."
"So we can take him home?"

Eight days later, we brought home a little boy who probably did NOT have a hole in his heart but probably DID hold his breath in his sleep. That'll buy you an expensive monitor and lots of wires hooked to your kid for a few months. Unlike his sister who gave us no cause for concern after her first week of birth, he's only made the more story more complex, adding to the list "floppy trachea", "asthmatic symptoms", developmental delays, and a lot of sleepless nights, chest x-rays, and rounds of medicines that I'd rather not even take myself...let alone give to my infant son. And now his physical therapist is quietly muttering, "His feet don't...we might have to...orthotics...special shoes 8 hours a day...blah, blah, blah..." and the pediatrician is muttering "More steroids...tubes....blah, blah, blah" and the pulminologist is muttering "Sleep study...adenoids out...blah, blah, blah"...La, la ,la...I can't hear you!!

I joked with his pediatrician this week that he's spent more time with her this year than our he has with most of relatives. She chuckled, then paused, and then sincerely offered "Maybe this year will be a little better."

Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. Much of what I read and hear from others says to expect more of the same this year. But next year? Next year could be a little better. Apparently 2 years old is often a magic number in cases like these.

The other day I walked into the bathroom and found a small yellow block peeking out from the bottom of the toilet. I smiled, in spite of knowing that I'd have to fish it out because it felt like a sign from a little boy not yet old enough to tell me himself (because he's too busy saying "dada" and "Ella" all damn day, but never "Mama") that said "I'm just a little boy. A little boy who likes to unravel the toilet paper and throw blocks into the toilet, just like any other little boy. I'm okay." Yeah, maybe I'm reading a little too much into the Lego at the bottom of the toilet, but we take what we can get, right?

Happy Birthday Conrad!

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