Saturday, July 20, 2013

Third day - bee stings, baby, and birthday

The weekend that Jonathan was born, Steve's mom had gone up to her mom's house to check in on her.  Steve's grandma lives a few hours away, and I think of her house more as a cabin than a home. It sits on a hill overlooking a large, deep blue lake.  It is blocks away from a fabulous little sail boat town that specializes in selling coffee, books, specialty jewelry, clothing, and fudge and chocolates to tourists who come in the summer.

It's nearly always the perfect blend of sunny and breezy. It's a haven.  It is also home to my favorite biking and running trails.  The view is like the Mediterranean, the weather is like heaven.

That's where Steve's mom, Karen, had been, and other than the call from us announcing our return to the hospital, and a few pesky bee stings she'd gotten, I think she had enjoyed her time.

That would have been about a year and five days ago.  By a year ago today, July 20, 2012, Grandma Karen was back in our town watching our girls so that Steve could be in the hospital with Jonathan and mom could be in my hospital room watching me.

I'd had a good rest, though, and a decent day. The antibiotics were doing the trick and I wasn't feeling so ill.  And my mom, "Grandma Rachel," looked exhausted. So I told her she should go home for the evening, have a real night's sleep.  Steve, too, was exhausted. I assured them I'd be okay on my own.

At home that evening they looked at Grandma Karen's bee sting.  It looked bad. It was red, and streaks were starting to climb.  She'd been in to the urgent care clinic the day before.  They'd had her draw a line around the rim of the red.  The red had now outgrown that line, and the bee stings, concentrated around her toes, hurt.  They went into the ER.  She was nearly admitted for overnight observation.

She was treated, and it was decided that as soon as she was well enough, she would be driving home.

She had been battling a small cold, so she had never been to the NICU.  This infection in her foot solidified it. Despite the fact that she had been our biggest supporter and help while I was on bedrest, she wouldn't be meeting her grandson.  Not yet.


A year ago today, J was doing ok.  They had started and stopped feedings a few times, nervous that he wasn't handling them well.  That was fine by be, because I was nervous about this too. Jonathan's blood pressure had stabilized and they'd taken him off of blood pressure medicine. Not surprisingly, he was jaundice and so they had him under bilirubin lights. Steve and I were getting a lot of information, but not necessarily processing it. Our care page a year ago today was full of statements like "some of his levels are slightly off, but machines are helping with that" and "Jonathan is off food again for 12 hours or so, some chemical I've forgotten was off or something." I read back and wonder "what chemical? Was it his kidneys or did we hear 'residuals' and think that was a chemical?" but back then all this was new to us, and all we could really absorb was if he was alive or not and if he was progressing or not.  These were our concerns.  We'd learn the medical side of it all eventually.
J under a bilirubin light, 2.5 days old


Today, July 20, 2013 We are at Grandma Karen's mom's house on the lake.  Grandma Dorothy's home. All of Steve's sisters are here, as is his niece, an uncle, and several cousins.  My daughter Ella and my sister-in-law Katie went with me for a run/walk along my favorite jogging path this morning.  We passed a small building that looked like it was supposed to be an old church, with white crosses all around the back.  But it looked too perfect and the crosses looked too close together to be a cemetery.  They looked all the same, and without names on the white wood.  We wondered at what it could be.  "Maybe it's a dog cemetery?" I offered. "Maybe it's a cemetery for little babies or kids or something," Ella offered.  "I hope not!" said her Aunt Katie, "That'd be sad!"  "I'm glad Jonathan didn't die." Ella returned. Katie laughed nervously at the six year old's raw honesty, "Me too." she said. "Let's see if we can run to that tree" I offered, and we left the pseudo-cemetery behind.

After running off our first breakfast, Katie and I joined her sister down town for a brunch outside at a favorite restaurant.  Jonathan joined us. We enjoyed the breeze and the sun. Jonathan has finally gotten used to the outdoors thing, and was having a decent time.  He loves his aunts, and showed off his standing for them. On the way home we dropped by a few garage sales so I could get school clothes for Ella, who is growing faster than my pocket book can afford.  As we walked along, looking at the tables of clothes laid out in the sun, my sister-in-laws asked me about his eyes.  "So, he can see like a normal baby, then, they think?"  "Yes," I said, "At the last eye appointment, he could see perfectly."  "That's amazing!" they responded, "That is so cool."

Sometimes I think he looks and acts like a normal full term baby. And he does. But there's always a bit of awe in that around our family.  Normal eyes on this little guy?  Amazing.  He's not dead?  A bit shocking to hear stated so bluntly out of his sister's mouth, but - amazing. I guess I'm not the only one who has a hard time believing it.

J under a blanket, 1 year and 2.5 days old.
At home, while Jonathan (oblivious to our awe of everything he does) alternated between playing with his new-found (finally!) toes on the floor, and pulling the blanket over his eyes to hide himself so that he could roll over and reveal himself to us again, Mimi went to bring the loot from the garage sale to the car.  We had been sure to buy Mimi (who normally only gets Ella's hand-me-downs) a few outfits of her own. She was especially excited about the comfy looking brown corduroys.

"Don't go out without shoes on!" Grandma Karen reminded her as Mimi stumbled forward, barefoot, arms full of clothes, "There are bees that live under the porch, so you really can't go out without shoes.  You might get stung."

Getting stung at Great Grandma's house was not a good idea.  Grandma Karen would know.

Now I leave you with a few pictures of J doing cute Jonathan things. I'm off to celebrate his birthday - again!
J and his aunt

J and his other aunt

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