I don't talk much about Chris in the blog. I am aware of that and have thought about it a lot. I've asked him to write as well - I think it would be useful for people to hear a dad's perspective as most of these blogs are written by CDH mamas. But he hasn't wanted to do that and I have come to respect his privacy to the point where maybe the blog makes it seem like he doesn't matter in this whole thing.
So privacy be danged, this blog entry is all about Chris. Because you should know, if you don't already, how amazing he is. And that I couldn't have done any of this without him. And that, when it comes to being assigned a dad, there never were luckier children than our 4 boys.
When we were expecting Samuel and being told at every single appointment that he had a very slim chance of surviving, my husband remained steadfast in his hope. Specialist after specialist detailed the dire prognosis, gave us numbers and walked us through how our baby would die. And Chris would hear it, nod, look sombre, and then ask about how our baby would live. Honestly, sometimes I thought he must be daft. I would try to make sure he understood and a couple of times he broke down in fear and grief. Then, five minutes later... hopeful again.
One day, as we walked and I cried and anguished, Chris said to me, "I have had a really hard life. And now I have a really beautiful life. And I am not going to let anything happen to my family." And I knew that we would be okay, that my husband's unbreakable hope was his strength, was OUR strength. Whatever happened, we would be okay.
For the last year and a half since that day, Chris has quietly held us up. When I had severe polyhydramnios and a separated symphisis pubis and could hardly walk, he cooked and washed the floor and took the boys bowling while I laid in bed. When Samuel was born, Chris stood between me laying in one part of the room and Samuel laying in another. He kissed our Samuel for both of us before the entourage left for the NICU.
|Chris with Samuel, a few minutes old.|
During Samuel's months in hospital, Chris took care of our family at home so that I could be at the hospital as much as possible. He still made time to go there every day, to sing to Sam and read their favourite book so that our fourth baby would know his Daddy too. Then Chris went to his really demanding job and gave of his intelligence and commitment there so that we could still have food on our table. I became the master of medical language and managing Samuel's care but I couldn't have done that if Chris wasn't doing all that he did.
|Together as we wait to send Samuel for surgery, 25 days old.|
Samuel was two months old. I think that moment has gone down in ICU history because Chris was so effusively joyful, so awed by the experience of holding his fourth son, so overcome by his own love and pride and love.
|Chris holding Samuel for the first time, 2 months old.|
And that is my husband. Awed by the miracle of life, overcome by joyfulness and love, full of passion and reverence for each experience. Hopeful. Strong. Quick to celebrate others - including me - and wanting nothing except to be with his family.
Our three big boys have come through this ordeal and are not just okay, they are awesome. There were a lot of people involved in helping us but it really is their amazing dad who gave them stability and comfort every single day. Somehow, even though he was exhausted and emotionally drained too, and even though he worked all day, he found the energy to play soccer and have a never-ending Monopoly game and take them swimming and cuddle them to sleep.
And now Samuel has been home for nearly a year and I love watching him with his Daddy. Chris takes Samuel for little walks outside, cuddled in his arms, as he did with all the boys. He is never too tired to snuggle or feed him. Their special thing is when Chris plays his guitar and Samuel dances and plays along with him. It is seriously the sweetest thing ever.
|Playing guitar with Sam, 16 months old.|
Chris and I are finally out of this survival mode enough to glance up at one another in between things that need doing and little people that need parenting. When I look at my amazing husband now, I see... he is tired, battle-weary. He doesn't know this, but I pray for him. Not just because I could not do this life without him (although I couldn't!), but because I would never want to. He drives me crazy sometimes and I can be a crabby sort. So maybe he forgets that I adore him, that I deeply love and respect him, that I waited for him because he is exactly who I was meant to be with, and that I am grateful every day that my children got him for a father.
So, happy father's day. God bless my Chris. Amen.