Friday, March 27, 2009

Five Months

Dear Peeper:

You are five months old today.

(That is a lie. You were, technically, five months old yesterday, because I'm writing this at like 3 am and back-dating it. I meant to write it earlier but you and I took a reeeeaaaalllly long nap, which I am not going to complain about one bit, then I spent the rest of the evening on the phone with AuntieKay. (I've decided that trips off the fingertips better than "Aunt LadyKay."))

So, as I was saying. . . . You are five months old "today."

That's kind of freaking me out a bit, because five months is almost six months, at which point you'll be half-way through your first year, and if the the second half goes as fast as the first half, then ohmyGod, you're almost a year old, and the next thing I know, you'll be grown!

Or, maybe, you're five months old.

Of course, for the past few weeks, everything has revolved around your surgery.

Preparing for surgery. Having surgery. Recovering from surgery.

I realized to day that I tend to think, not so much that "Peeper is recovering from surgery," but rather that, "We are recovering from Peeper's surgery," because I really think it was probably a lot harder on me and Mommy than it was on you.

We had to worry for months about whether you would need surgery, then worry for a month or so about the surgery that we knew you were having, then worry while you were in surgery, then watch and worry about you while you were in the hospital, now worry about you as you recover.

You, on the other hand, were a little trooper.

Of course, on the one hand, it may have helped that you didn't understand that it was going to happen, or the magnitude of what was going on.

On the other hand, though, you also didn't understand why we gave you to those strange men (the anesthesiology team) or why you woke up "a few minutes" (several hours) later with those strange ladies pulling tubes out of your nose and throat, or why your chest hurt so damn bad (I can only assume that it must have) or why you were in such a crazy place, and in a crib (for the first time since your newborn hospital bassinet) and where the hell were your mothers - and your goody?!?

But you took it incredibly well, and I just can't get over how quickly you were back to smiling and laughing and being more or less yourself.

I am so glad that is (mostly) over with.

I think it's safe to that it was the hardest thing that Mommy and I have ever been through, and I certainly hope that you don't have any plans to top it.

I am so looking forward to a few weeks from now, when you are completely off your medications, and to a few weeks after that when you're all healed up and we don't have to worry about handling you so carefully and such, and you can just be (as Dr. C put it) "a normal baby."

The whole thing just seems surreal, because things like babies having open-heart surgery is something that happens to "other people."

Today, I was talking with someone whom I don't know very well, (coincidentally, I learned that his dad is a professor of neonatology at SurgeryHospital) and I told him about your surgery, and his response was, "Oh my God!"

Yeah, exactly.

I guess we kind of tried to be a bit nonchalant about it (Yep, this is me, nonchalant. Lord help you when I start making a bit deal about something.) but this really is a huge damn deal, and it's really kind of hard to wrap my head around the fact that we have done this big damn deal thing, and that we've all come through it with flying colors.

I try to picture how we'll look back on it, years from now.

How you'll tell people (probably in response to questions about your "zipper.") "Oh, that? I had open-heart surgery when I was a baby," or we'll casually mention it in passing, "Yeah, when Peeper was at SurgeryHospital. . . . " or tell some other terrified parent, "Oh, my daughter had that surgery years ago. . . ."

But it's hard to imagine it just being "something that happened once" and not something all-consuming.

But, of course, I know it will, eventually, be just something in our past, which makes it all the more surreal.

Right now, we just need to get through the next few weeks of recover, so we can move on from this whole chapter of our lives.

Another thing I'd like to move one from is this whole question of what's going on with your belly and your booty and your poopy and whatever else that's about.

I'm getting very frustrated, because I hate the idea that you are hurting and we don't know what to do about it.

I'm not getting a lot of answers from your doctors, or from Dr. Google, for that matter.

Mostly, it just feels like a lot of speculation about what exactly it is that I am doing wrong, that's hurting you.

If someone could just tell me what it is that I'm eating that's not agreeing with you, I would be happy to stop eating it, but it's more like, "Well, try cutting out this for a few weeks, and we'll see how it goes," but then it's a few more weeks of not having an answer, and your symptoms come and go so much, we can't tell if we've solved anything.

So, far, I'm avoiding all dairy-containing foods, but I don't know if I've seen a difference. I just keep wondering if it's something else entirely.

And it's just killing me to see you hurting (which doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's awful - but is it even poop-related, or are we just blaming everything on that?) and it scares the hell out of me when I see the blood in your poop (even though it's only happened a few times, it's still terrifying every time, because it's just so wrong).

I just want an answer and a solution, so we can move on from that one, too.

Mostly, though, despite all that, you are great.

That's still my answer when people ask how you're doing.

"She's great!"

Still half sliced-open from surgery? "She's great!"

Spitting up all the time? "She's great!"

Bloody poop? "She's great!"

Crying her damn fool head off for an hour this morning? "She's great!"

Medications (only!) twice a day, and doctors at least once a week? "She's great!"

Because you are.

You are just great.

Reaching and grasping and shaking your rattle? You're great.

Laughing til you get the hiccups, just like Mommy? You're great.

Snugging beside me in bed at night? You're great.

Sucking both your thumbs at once? You're great.

Cracking yourself up in the mirror? You're great.

Giggling at BigGaloot's tail swishing around? You're great.

Enthralled with your Glow Worm (this has been a lifesaver lately)? You're great.

Nursing all night long? You're great.

Greeting Mommy with a big gummy grin? You're great.

Taking a "shower" in my lap, or Mommy's? You're great.

And for so many other things that I'm too tired to even think of, you are just the greatest.

And I am the luckiest.

Still, even after five months, every couple of days or so I still look at you and just think "Oh my God. We have a baby. How the hell did that happen?"

It just still seems so surreal and so unbelievable that we could possibly be so lucky.

Of course, I am also, over and over, overwhelmed by the huge responsibility that is you.

The idea that we have been entrusted with such a huge and important job as nurturing and molding and forming a human being is just absolutely overwhelming, and humbling, and just the greatest honor ever.

I only hope that I can live up to you.

Happy birthday, my little sweetness



  1. What love you clearly have. Radiating.

    My nephew had open heart surgery, too, as a one year old. Gradually the scar got lighter and lighter, but still. Never never something that doesn't catch the breath, when you see it on a little one.

    So very glad you all three made it through it.


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