Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1st Birthday Pictures

Here are some pictures from this morning.  I have edited the blog and added more pictures for the whole day, so if you looked at this post earlier today -- it's changed now.  For the story of his birth a year ago, scroll down or read here.

Started out the morning with some light reading


Posing for the camera

Cute sibling pic fail. We'll try again this afternoon.
We began today by giving Jonathan his first present - the shirt he's wearing in these pictures.  The handling of how to hand it to him was traumatic, with the girls fighting over who and how they'd get to show him his shirt, but in the end they marched around the couch, each holding a shoulder of the shirt, and sang "happy birthday."  Jonathan was all smiles.  He could tell this was all about him, and he loved the gift.

Then came pictures, well-documented above.

Then we went to his weekly physical therapy appointment. This is at a clinic across from the children's hospital that was his home which, in turn, is connected to the hospital that delivered him and that took care of me while I was on bedrest.

So we started with PT. I told R, his physical therapist, that this was "Jonathan Appreciation Day" and that we were giving anyone responsible for his current great state a bag of treats.  I told her to make sure all the PTs and OTs that worked with him got some, as well as the folks at the front desk.

Next we crossed the bridge (watch for more on "the bridge" later on -- I have some memories of this bridge) and entered the children's hospital. We skipped through this building and went to the adult hospital, up to the fourth floor. First things first. I'm surprised I remembered the floor number. I walked off, checked, yep. I'd gotten it right.  This was where the patients of the maternal fetal medicine folks stayed. It was the floor for high risk pregnancies. I went to the front desk and delivered our package.  First a thank you card to the doctors and nurses for making the right decision a year ago on multiple occasions.  They made all the right calls that ultimately made it so that Jonathan had a fighting chance. It was a close thing. (Keep reading, you'll understand after tomorrow or the nest day's post.)

I also handed them a sheet with pictures and a birth story on it. They have a wall of baby pictures and success stories lining the hallway. When I was finally given wheelchair privileges while on bed-rest, I poured over those images. "How long until my baby can live?"  -- there were no images of 23 weekers back then.  I looked at the board again today as the nurse tried to find a spot for my success story sheet.  Again, no success stories or pictures of babies born at 23 weeks. Maybe this might give a mom or dad some hope.  Maybe. Bed rest on the brink of new life is so hard.
At the hospital, checking out the gifts we were about to give.

Then, finally, up to the NICU.  Most of my favorite nurses weren't around, but one of my favorite greeters was there.  Greeters -- the ladies (and gent) who remembered my name and kept me on track, delivered my NICU mail and encouraged me for five months. It was good to see her. There was also a custodian who remembered me. Actually, I think her badge said "something-environment specialist" -- not custodian -- but as far as I'm concerned that's a better name for her anyway.  These are the ladies (mostly ladies) who kept the hospital clean. A clean hospital means less disease. Less disease means less sick babies and a higher success rate.

They all ooohed-and-awwwed over Jonathan. They commented on how big he was getting.  For the mom of a "failure to thrive" baby, this is the highest compliment in the world.  He's BIG!  They think he's BIG!  Forget the lady on the elevator who just said "I forget that they come that small," here these people think he's BIG!

Jonathan, for his part, could care less. I tried to get him to smile, but he'd had enough of walking around. It was lunch time. After his bottle he was much happier, and in the car he fell asleep in about two seconds flat.

He was sound asleep at our second-to-last stop, the OBGYN's office.  He was sound asleep even after I transferred him to my shoulder. The receptionist offered to see if my doctor was available to come receive our gift for her herself. I sort of hoped she was. The last time she'd seen Jonathan was when he was in a transport, about to be taken down for surgery at two months old. She hadn't really gotten to SEE him then.  Before that she'd only seen him as a pop-bottle sized baby, newly born and with all the odds against him.  I wanted her to see this sleeping sack on my shoulder. The baby that looked and was a healthy, happy baby.

But she was busy with a patient.  I'd like to imagine she was busy saving another baby somewhere.  OBGYN in a super-hero cape.  "All in a day's work," she'd say.

But the staff got the candy, and I'm sure the doctor will get some too, I stuck in recent pictures for her, so she''ll see it wasn't all in vain. She can take back that sympathetic "congratulations" now and replace it with a robust, heart-felt, sung-to-the ceiling "CONGRATULATIONS."  THIS new life, he'll be staying around a while.

We then stopped by a bakery shop that is run by a respiratory therapist who works in the NICU. She agreed last night to cook up some one-but-not-yet-one friendly cupcakes for my son.  He's eight months adjusted, so his cupcakes can't include anything that an eight month old can't eat. She was happy to oblige, as her kitchen can do vegan, and so we have the obligatory cake pictures below!  We enjoyed a low-key birthday at the park with a few friends.  I should say, we as a family did.  It was a hot day, and Jonathan was tired. So he was more confused about why we were getting him stickier than excited about discovering sugar.

Since this blog is about lessons learned through a micro-preemie, and since this is his first birthday, I send you to a friend's blog.  She describes what a day like this means better than I ever could.

Happy Birthday J!

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