Friday, July 27, 2012

A bit of normal

My little family of six is vacationing at the ocean. We drove for two days to get here, to be near the water, the rhythms of the tides as pulled by the moon, the salty air and slow pace. I have all the regular delight and gratitude at being able to have a holiday with my family.

I also have an extra dose of delight and gratitude for the "normal" that is represented by this trip. We have not had a family vacation the last two summers. Two years ago I was too sick with the early pregnancy to be any fun. Last year Sam was newly home from hospital, on oxygen and tube feeds and with a schedule full of appointments that kept us close to home. My boys have never complained about this, even once. They have been through a lot too and it was time for us to be able to get away, to recover a little from all that the last two years has brought us.

So here we are. We are hours and hours away from Samuel's hospital people. We did not bring oxygen or NG tubes or any medical equipment, just a couple of flats of his high-test formula. I did consult several of Samuel's folks before we left, making sure that he was okay to travel, that I remembered the protocols for managing his femoral blood clot, that I could look after his dietary and physiotherapy needs while we were away. I have a list of phone numbers and explanatory documents. The pediatrician printed off his growth charts for me in case we have to take him to hospital and they weigh him and freak out. I've counted his respiration rate much more often than I did at home. But otherwise, we are just doing this vacation thing. 

Boys with Buoys at low tide

Playing in the sand

Samuel is an awesome traveler. He complained very little during the long van ride and has slept well in his new digs. He has become extremely mobile during the past couple of days, to the point where we are saying, "has anyone seen Sam?!" and fanning out around our little house to see where he's hidden himself.

Just to be clear, it's not like we're ignoring Sam but he is quick with his new skills and he delights in tucking himself behind doors. He is creeping but not well and he is cruising but there is not enough furniture to get him everywhere he wants to be. So he uses a planful combination of rolling and bum scootching to get around. This is quite effective except for the fact that our skinny boy can't keep his pants up at the best of times so the backwards scootching motion does eventually relieve him of his trousers.

I'm heading for the exit (but will be pants-free by then).

Off to the beach now... 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

One Year Ours

A year ago today, at exactly five months of age, Samuel was officially discharged from Alberta Children's Hospital. He came home. He became all ours after months of being part ours and part theirs. I was happy to share him with those lovely people at the hospital; they saved his life. But I was also happy to have him be all ours.

A couple of CDH babies in our midst have just come home - Clay and Jude - and Killian is [this] close. Going home after so many months is a breathtaking, amazing time. I remember feeling like it could not be real that we were walking out of the hospital with Sam and all his stuff. I had imagined that moment so many times. I had watched other families walking out of the hospital with their child and with bags and bags of things, stopping every few feet to take another photo of the route home. I had joked with nurses about making a run for it, how I would grab my baby and would need at least two of them to run down the hallway with us, pushing his IV pole and various other life-saving accessories.

Now he is home a whole year. Ours for a whole year. Seventeen months old. Eighteen pounds (if you hide a 3 ounce weight in his diaper). Since then, he learned to breathe on his own and to eat and to dance. He had two more surgeries. He grew 6 teeth and a head full of hair and he developed a giggle that rocks our world.

School's out and we're entering another summer with all four of our boys. Sam's rocky start has faded in ways I didn't think it ever could. He is ours.

Oh, and happy, happy Canada Day. Happy day.