knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Letters to Liam - Month 4

Dear Super Bean,

You are so ridiculously cute as you turn four months old that I can hardly stand it.

This month has been very, very eventful. We've been having the best time watching your personality blossom, and trying to keep up with your advances. Sadly, not everything this month has been so wonderful. For starters, we lost our first "baby", Murph dog. We miss him so much. I'm heartbroken that you won't be growing up buds. He loved you so much. He was especially fond of passing you and taking a small lick of your foot or your head on the sly. Mmmm, baby. Your Daddy is lost without Murphy. It's been a couple weeks now, and he still can't help talking about him, or worse, to him all the time. I'm so grateful that you're around to occupy his time and thoughts. And can we please talk about the Daddy-worship?

Not only do you appear to have your Daddy's growth genes, but you have the most spectacular reaction when you catch sight of him. It's about on par with the way people react when they win Miss America or $350 million dollars. You positively scream with delight. It's the best. thing. ever. But let's not forget your Mama quite yet, eh?

I really had to strain to remember all the milestones you've reached this month. For starters, you've discovered the baby in the mirror. And you are in love. Also this month, you've found your toes, and your giggle. You can put everything you grab into your mouth (including your toes). You show unerring depth perception when going for my necklace or my hair. And you can now roll over front to back. Actually, based upon the last few days, I'd say that you can't not roll onto your tummy. On your mat at work, I put you down on your back. You flip onto your tummy. I put you back on your back. You immediately flip right back onto your tummy. And so goes our day.

This wouldn't be quite such an issue if you actually liked being on your tummy. But after a few seconds, once the novelty has worn off, you get cranky. And apparently, you've forgotten how to get from your tummy to your back. So I come rescue you, flip you back over, whereupon you turn right back over onto your belly. This has become your favorite game. Especially at night. So here's my advice: We'll all sleep better if you just stay on your back, okay??

This month, you have outgrown your cradle. Well, technically you still had a couple inches to go, but the cradle is wooden, and at night all we could hear was thunk thunk as you turned from side to side. We tried co-sleeping for a while, but no one was getting any rest, you included. So you're now up in your crib, which you seem to enjoy, except for the tummy problems mentioned before. Otherwise, you're golden. I can put you down while your awake but drowsy, and with the help of the incomparable Sleep Sheep, you're happy to nod off.

And even though you're supposed to be four months old first, this week I started you on rice cereal. You LOVE IT. I've never seen a baby not make faces and spit it everywhere. It's practically a rite of passage. But no. My baby loved cereal from the first mouthful. You get so excited. You demand more, faster. Gigi says you're going to be smoking cigars by the end of the summer.

This month, we've come through one of the most difficult things I hope you'll ever have to experience. You had an operation to fix your spinal cord. You were such a trooper! Despite the poking, the lack of food and the strange environs, you snuggled off to sleep in pre-op. I carried you into the O.R. and held you close as they gave you gas to put you to sleep. Then the surgeons went to work on you, and your parents aged ten years in the next four hours.

I had one of my first experiences as a parent coping with something bad happening to their child when you came out of surgery. You were so upset. And you hurt a lot. There isn't a thing in the world I wouldn't give up to have spared you that. Still, you're a resilient little baby, and you started to become yourself again after just a few hours. We spent three days in the Pediatric ICU and let me say that it made me grateful that your problems are all so solvable. When all this is over, you're going to be just a regular kid. Can's say the same for a lot of the children we met in the hospital. It really makes your appreciate the row you've got to hoe. As bad as it is, we can see it's end.

You flirted SHAMELESSLY with the ICU nurses. They were charmed. On your second night, when you were unhappy, one offered to take out your crib and replace it with a regular hospital bed that Mama could also climb into. That night we slept so well, I curled around you. Another nurse snagged you this awesome quilt made by some very caring grannies for all the sick kids. It's a great keepsake, and goes to show you how much everyone cared for you. Your surgery team was huge, and so talented. Thank god we had access to one of the best children's hospitals in the country. Thank god.

You've proceeded to recover with astonishing speed. We came back to work a week early, and you're already off all the pain meds. Your complicated 'poop drape' comes off soon, and I won't be sorry to never cut up another diaper or shellac fake skin product and plastic sheets to your bottom ever again.

Next week, we'll be completing your surgery needs when the same team of neurosurgeons who fixed your spine go in to make some adjustments to your noggin. I'm afraid this will be harder for you, although we're blessed that you won't remember. I'm taking deep breaths, and an occasional margarita. It's hard to know you're going to have to be in that kind of pain again. And your eyes are going to swell shut for a while. But just know that I'll be by your side every minute. Last time, I couldn't even bring myself to take ten minutes away to take a shower. So I mean it. Daddy and I will be there every step of the way. We'll help you through, and then we'll never have to think about any of this ever again. You've got a great family pulling for you.

And you better believe this means you don't get to do ANYTHING upsetting or stressful to us for a long, long time.


your Mama


Sunday, June 10, 2007

hospital pics


Feeling like himself again

With a little help from his friends

Saturday, June 09, 2007


When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Friday, June 08, 2007

down the rabbit hole

It's just after 8am on the third day of our hospital stay. Liam is sleeping, which is good. He had trouble settling down last night. Finally around 4am, we took out his crib and moved in a hospital bed. Mama climbed in too, and we both slept for a solid three hours. Bliss.

The funny thing about hospitals is that you lose all perspective about the outside world. The time of day doesn't seem to make sense, and weather has no correlation to either your mood or your comfort. Time goes in spirals.

My baby came through. His sinus tract was untethered from the spinal cord, and shows no signs of leaking or infection. We're still in pediatric intensive care, but it looks like we'll be going home at the end of today. Liam is very much himself again, just a little weepier. You would be too, if you saw how many times they tried to draw blood while he was under. Dozens. There are pricks on his feet, legs, arms, hands, even his head. Fat little babies with tiny veins are a tough case. His incision on his back is two inches long, and looks fine. No swelling, no leaks.

Poor little bean. Recovery was hell. Sheer hell. If you've never seen your child come out from anaesthesia, I hope you never do. He's scared and in a lot of pain. Besides the usual, changes in spinal fluid pressure apparently give you the world's worst migraine. AND on Tuesday, they discovered that his poor little penis had a little skin that had adhered to the tip. During surgery, they separated them, leaving a raw little peepee. Add a catheter, and you can just imagine.

The only way to manage post-op pain like that was morphine. It was a relief and a horror every time he needed more. He just got snowed under, but at least he was comfortable. He's been on nothing but ibuprofen now, and it seems to be managing the discomfort, although it tastes wicked bad, according to Liam.

It's now for certain that we'll be back in 2-4 weeks for surgery to correct Liam's craniosynostosis. The surgeon here showed us her powerpoint she uses for teaching with all the kinds of cases she's corrected. Very graphic. But at least we now know what to expect. The good part is they don't touch the brain tissue at all. The bad part is they take chunks of skull out, resulting in a tremendous amount of swelling post-op. My poor little bean. But once again, apparently once it's done, he'll look and be completely normal. But the experience will be sure to shave a few more minutes off the lives of Glenn and I.

I dread having to make the calls to all our family to tell them about the next surgery. Until we were certain he was saggital, we didn't tell anyone besides the grandparents. I shared it online because, you know, the anonymity of it all. Bizarre, huh? But now I have to explain it over and over again. Ugh.

I miss my poor pup horribly. I keep thinking about Tuesday. After the deed, we buried him, and then I had to take Liam to the hospital for preadmission testing. We were there for hours and it rained very hard. When I got back to the house there was the biggest, most intensely colored rainbow I have ever seen. A double, actually. I thought my heart would squeeze itself into my throat. Glenn still can't help talking to him. Unless you've met Glenn, that doesn't make much sense, but between them, they developed a private language.

Liam is awakening, and I feel the need to climb into bed with him. He's been kept flat for the past two days and it's only today I've been able to pick him up. There is NOTHING better than holding my little baby to my chest. Let the healing begin.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Goodnight, Sweet Prince

Murphy Ferriot
September 16, 2003-June 5, 2007

"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"