This weekend, our little man officially turned 7 months old. It’s amazing to think that 7 months ago Zach and I were so excited for the birth of our first little one and, at the same time, terrified for what was to come.
When Jackson was born, he was immediately taken to the NICU. A few hours later, I was allowed to roll myself (thanks, epidural) into a wheelchair and head down to see him, hospital gown and all. The room was packed – packed with doctors, packed with nurses, packed with machines and equipment and god knows what else.
At this point, Jackson still wasn’t stable. He was intubated and had just thrown the usually calm neonatal intensive care transport team for a loop they hadn’t seen in a long time. Only a few hours before, Jackson had been born unable to breathe, and Zach and I had agreed to an emergency tracheostomy in the delivery room that never happened thanks to the skilled hands of the fourth – or was it fifth? – person who tried to intubated him. Now he was hooked up to wires and tubes and we were told it would be at least five days before we could hold him.
Welcome, devastation number one.
The process was surreal. Exiting nurses gave way to space and a stark discussion with our Neonatalogy fellow. ‘Tell me what you were told before birth’, she said.
We did. Heart condition. Tetralogy of fallot. Repairable. Fixable. Survivable.
‘Tell me how long you expected to stay here.’
A month. Tops.
That poor girls face looked like I had just broke the news about Santa.
‘You’re looking at MONTHS. Multiple months. And the next few days are crucial. We’ll do everything we can to get him stable’.
Devastation number two.
Those first few days were hard, harder than we could have ever expected. If you had asked me then if we would know the kind of joy and love we know for our little man now, I’m not sure I could have said yes. At that point, we were focused on survival, making it through the next day, the next hour, and, at some point, the next few minutes. We were focused on the now and in many ways couldn’t let myself think about the later.
It’s officially the later.
We have come such a long way and are still moving forward. We get to enjoy the now, planning for what’s to come instead of focusing on what was. Survival is still on our list of things to do – for kids like Jackson it always will be – but it’s no longer our number one focus. It’s been replaced by things like rolling over and learning to sit, sleeping through the night and working on feeds. You know, the ‘typical’ baby stuff.
We are some of the lucky ones, and we know that, so high up on our list is being thankful for how far we have come. The last 7 months haven’t been easy and they haven’t been normal, but they’ve been ours and they’ve been wonderful.
Happy 7 months, Moose.