3 years ago...
We really had no idea. When asked, we confidently responded that we were prepared. We really believed that we were. The onsies were folded neatly in the dresser. Diapers and wipes were stacked on the diaper changing table. Powder and cream placed in the bins. Phone numbers listed in order on the sheet for when the time came to make the calls of the joyous news.
I didn't worry about having a newborn. I had years under my belt of taking care of kids. It is of course what I have studied since I was 14. Of course I was ready to have my own. I laugh now about how much I didn't know.
We patiently waited as the due date drew near. All the fantasies of those TLC baby shows played in my head. The perfect birth scenario was quickly changed by the recommendation of a C-section. Hours later we came face to face with just how much we didn't know.
Our daughter was born with a tumor. She was whisked off to the local Children's hospital. While there she was taken care of by a great surgical team and lots of very caring nurses. She was 9 lbs 1oz when she was born and 6 lbs 10 oz after surgery.
She was born with a Sacrococcygeal teratoma. Roughly translated a "monster tumor of the coccyx aka tailbone".
My darling husband spent his time in two different cities at different hospitals visiting his girls and went home to an empty house at the end of the night. I still to this day cant imagine the magnitude of how hard that was for him.
We waited for the parade of visitors we had originally prepared ourselves for. Even though what we were going through was hard we greeted the brave few with a smile. I hold those who visited very dear to my heart.
For three days I focused on getting out of the hospital and seeing my daughter. That and the Carmel Delites that were in my gift basket that the hospital gave us. Every year I buy a box specifically to have on her birthday.
Even though I was in mental shock there was one thing I was sure of. I knew in my heart that my daughter was going to be fine. After all she had been growing inside of me for months. She had a power kick that would make any ninja action star jealous. I knew that she was stronger than anyone gave her credit for. Now days when she ends up sleeping next to me, I get bruises thanks to the power kicks. Which is why the co-sleeping didn't work out.
Thankfully, she was only in the hospital for six days. The day that we took her home was one of the happiest days of my life. Little did I know, our adventure was just about to begin. As cliche as it sounds, adventure is pretty darn accurate.
Being a new parent is exciting, thrilling, scary and rough all at the same time. We had so much to learn and in such a short time to soak it all in. Everything that we bought sat on the shelf for a month. Every time we had to change her we had to wash her down with soap and water until her little butt-butt had healed.
We patiently sat in waiting rooms and waited to be called. Preoccupied on the outside, fearful and scared on the inside. Scared by each article we read online. We believed that if we could knew more about SCT that maybe we wouldn't feel so helpless. We endlessly searched for any piece of information that might help us understand what was happening. Each Dr's visit went better than the last and we always left feeling better than when we entered.
Between the diaper washing and the juggling our new rolls there were lots of sleepless hours spent wondering why? It was my own personal internal struggle. It took me a little while to figure out that sometimes there is no why.
We leaned on each other, our family and a few friends. We eventually learned how to stand on our own. During a lot of dark moments, we held on to each other, a bit of faith and a spark of hope. Until eventually that spark grew brighter and brighter until we could once again see the future.
Three years later, I have learned that we truly are stronger than we ever thought possible. We have learned how to pull together and face whatever life hands us.
Not only have we survived, but we have thrived.
As her birthday approaches this year I noticed that it seems a bit different. I seem more reminiscent than apprehensive. Time has seemed to take a little more of the sting out of the memories. Her birthday is such a joyous occasion for us. But it also happens to be the anniversary of her surgery and the start of this adventure.
Things have calmed down a bit since that day three years ago. Now we find ourselves worrying about regular kids stuff. Bumped heads, skinned knees, her fear of dogs all fit into this category. At times it's nerve wracking but at the same time we take comfort in the fact that it's all normal. Every three months we worry about her routine blood test but then after we get the results, everything goes back to the somewhat crazy routine.
I have to say that I find myself just as amazed by my daughter now as I was three years ago. Most parents gush about their children…but I am truly in awe of her. Her strength continues to astonish me. Her emerging personality surprises me at times and leaves me bewildered. We are constantly impressed by her ability to go with the flow. She is always up for another adventure.
We never thought we would find ourselves so preoccupied by something so little.
I never thought I would find myself so preoccupied by poop.
We never thought we would find ourselves so wrapped around the little finger of that amazing curly red haired cutie!
Like I said before…
We really had no idea!