Friday, September 28, 2007

Vacation (finally) and tidbits

So, we enjoyed our first big family vacation a few weeks back. Seven wonderful days in San Destin. We went with some great friends and were even fortunate enough to have my mother come down for a few days to help out. We actually even went to dinner and out- TWICE! For the most part, the weather was great and there was hardly anyone else around, as the peak season is over. Ava was a fish, constantly in and out of the water. Also, she wanted to play/talk to anyone around other than us. This was a cause of irritation to a few grumpy vacationers. We pretty much let her do her own thing, to the dismay of others, but hey- we've had a rough year, and we will never see those people again. Wow, I used to hate people like me. Eli loved the water. Once again, he was such a good boy, hardly heard a complaint out of him. He had the best time floating around the pool in his tube. All in all, a very successful and enjoyable vacation.

As we began our trip home, we were quickly reminded that the vacation was over. My sweet, easy going, little boy screamed the entire way home. And I do mean the entire time. So, the trip home, not so good. Soon enough we were back to laundry, school, and a slew of doctor and therapy appointments. Did we go on a vacation?

Eli had his nine month (6 month adjusted) doctor appointment. HE IS ON THE CHARTS! My big boy is finally in the charts for his actual (that's right, actual, not adjusted) age. Eli is in the 5% for weight and 10% for height. I knew he would get there but am happy it is so soon! Also, Eli started his Synagis shots for RSV yesterday. He will receive a shot in each leg each month from now through May. It is horrible, he screams and I cringe. The only way I can tolerate it is knowing that this may keep him from any trips to the hospital as we hit cold and flu season. Luckily, he doesn't cry long, but it's still awful. My poor baby.

In other news, Ava has moved to a big girl bed. It was much easier than I anticipated, though you do have to stay in the bed with her until she falls asleep. for naps and at night. The best part is that Eli is now in his own room and bed. He has been sleeping though the night and seems to really like having a real bed.

Unclue Benny came to visit. Ava wore her Playboy shirt he and Aunt Camille got her.

Both have colds now.........I am off to suction a nose.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mommy Instinct and hope

I was watching Oprah the other day, and she had Jenny McCarthy on as a guest discussing her new book documenting her life with her son, who has been diagnosed with Autism. During the show, McCarthy kept referring to her "mommy instinct" when discussing her life with her son. Her "mommy instinct" kicked in when her son was diagnosed with Autism (her instinct told her the diagnosis was correct), and as she learned to define a new "normal" with her son (her "mommy instinct" told her that things would be okay). I think every mother has that "mommy instinct", whether you have actually ever experienced it or not.
I think I first became aware of my "mommy instinct" when I was pregnant in the hospital with Eli and went into full labor after receiving steroid shots at 24 weeks gestation. The doctors and nurses thought a delivery was inevitable. Truthfully, that thought never crossed my mind. I spent three days in Labor & Delivery, but knew I would be leaving there pregnant (maybe the drugs clouded my thoughts a bit). Again, at 24 weeks, when I was advised to remove my cerclage because of the high risk of infection due to my membranes rupturing, which would have led to an immediate delivery, my "mommy instinct" told me to wait. I understood that there was a risk of infection leading to the death of Eli, and possibly myself, but mommy instinct told me to wait. "Mommy instinct" was still there at 27 weeks when Eli made his arrival. Not once did I ever think that I wouldn't be bringing my boy home. Though Eli had a much more difficult NICU stay than anyone could have anticipated, I knew he would be coming home. That doesn't mean that those 148 days that Eli spent in the NICU I didn't worry. I worried every minute of every day, crying more than I ever thought possible. As difficult as it was to leave him there every day, I knew he would eventually be coming home to us.
The worrying did not end with his homecoming, just a new set of worries replaced the old. As each day passes though, my "mommy instinct" tells me that things will be okay. We are slowly progressing toward Eli being "normal" but definitely getting there. Every time I look at him and he gives me that beautiful smile, my "mommy instinct" tells me that things will be just fine.
Which leads me to what I hope for. When you have a child that faces more than your average challenges, I think you spend some amount of time starting thoughts and sentences with "I hope". Some of my "I hope" list for Eli includes, in no particular order: 1. I hope that Eli's breathing quiets down, so that I don't have to hear comments like "oh, poor baby", 2. I hope Eli's breathing quiets down before he understands comments like "oh, poor baby", 3. I hope we make it though Eli's first winter home without any major illnesses or hospital stays (my "mommy instinct" says that all will be fine), 4. I hope I love, hold, and kiss Eli enough to make up for the four and a half months he spent in the NICU and not being held, 5. I hope Eli doesn't remember his time in the NICU, 6. I hope the scars covering Eli's body fade enough with time that they are not a source of future questions, 7. I hope that Vic and I some day forget the NICU, 8. I hope that some day soon that sentences spoken with Eli's therapists and doctors don't include "compared to a normal baby", and 9. More than anything else, I hope that soon, we and everyone look at Eli for the sweet, silly, beautiful baby that he is and forget that he was born three months premature.