Saturday, March 24, 2012

Happy 6th Birthday, my little preemie miracle

Wow, little man, you are six years old today. Where has the time gone. I'm sure I say that every year, but every year, I look at you, and I am truly in awe of what and amazing little boy you are. But of course, first I'll remember the day you born. That was such a scary day. Truly. You never moved a whole lot as a baby but it was getting to be less and less. I didn't know if I should worry or not, but as we had an ultrasound scheduled, I figured my mind would be put at ease. How wrong I was!! We got to the ultrasound and it started out normal enough, but pretty soon, the tech student was getting the tech to come and check things out, and that tech wanted the senior tech, and of course that tech wanted a doctor, and then that doctor wanted a second opinion. I mean really, we knew something wasn't right, but we also knew there was a heart beat because they kept checking that as well. We were trying to stay composed, but inside freaking out. I suddenly just felt like we'd be meeting you that day. And, once the doctor came to talk to us, and give us our choices, that's when we knew we would. We had two options. We could continue the pregnancy, and you would die, or we could take our chances, and deliver you, and you still might die, or you might end up with all sorts of problems, but really, we wanted to take that chance, to give you a chance in this world. Normally, with a preemie, they try and give the mom steroid shots to help the lungs out of the baby, but there wasn't even time for that. You had to come out, and you had to come out now. It was scary. So scary. I remember so many things about that day. But mostly that I wanted you to have a chance at life with us and in this world.

You were born weighing 830grams (just 1lb 13oz) and you were 28weeks, 5 days. You were small for your gestation, and you were overloaded with fluid. I remember being in the operating room, and seeing a whole team of doctors and nurses there waiting for you. We bumped a bunch of other births, because you needed help and you needed it now. They intubated you right away and soon you were whisked off to the NICU. Your dad got them to stop and let me see you. And then you were off getting the help you needed. I had to wait for my legs to get their feeling back before I could come see you. In the meantime, we were inundated with visits from doctors and specialists, quizzing out everything to try and figure why you had developed hydrops. Despite all the testing and questions, no answer was ever found. Life continued to get a bit worse for you, every day. The regular ventilator wasn't working for you, so they moved you to the oscillating ventilator, then you were maxed out on it, and nitric oxide was added. You were on drugs for pain, blood pressure, heart problems and even a drug to keep you paralyzed so you wouldn't move. It was scary. There were so many lines going into you. You needed blood transfusions. And then, your heart stopped, not just a slow down, like a brady, a full on code blue. Your bowel had perforated and your poor little body, just couldn't handle it. Lucky for us, a bit of CPR and some emergency surgery, and your heart started once again. Scary, I tell ya!! After that, your journey in the NICU became a fairly typical one. There were always risks of infection, and they were testing your blood quite often for that. And slowly you grew. Line by line, tube by tube, machine by machine was slowly removed as the medicines had done their work, and you started doing what the machines had been doing for you. At six weeks old, you moved from a level three NICU to a Special Care Nursery. It was a huge accomplishment for you and meant you were one step closer to coming home. Four more weeks, and we finally got to take you home. I remember the silence. How quiet our house seemed compared to all the noise and machines at the hospital. Sadly, you were back in the hospital two weeks later as your ROP had gotten so bad, it needed to be operated on immediately. Since then though, we've had you home.

Over the years, it's been such a pleasure to watch you grow and change. To see you sit for the first time, and rollover, and crawl, and walk, and talk. Most of these milestones took a bit longer, but you were on your own timeline and we were happy with that. But let's just talk about five. You were great as a five-year-old. We watched you finish your second year of preschool. We watched you take swimming and finally, after several tries, passed sunfish, and then flew through crocodile, and now you are working on the final preschool level of whale. We saw you complete your first two kids of steel triathlons, including an open water triathlon. We watched you run your second Mother's Day race raising money for NICU along the way training for that. You've also been in a gross motor group working on different skills for physiotherapy. You spent the summer learning your letters and practising various fine motor activities. And then you started kindergarten.

We put a lot of thought and research into where to send you for school, knowing we could always change our minds if things didn't work out. We toured schools, we chatted with parents, therapists, and weighed out the pros and cons. In the end we settled on a French Immersion school. And it is just an amazing little school. It's Catholic, so you are getting some spirituality that we have not been very good at providing to you. Your teacher is incredible. Mme Trish. With 16 boys in your class, it sure is busy!! Msr Nathan is helping now, and I think that has helped a lot!! And wow, the French. It's crazy!! You are just soaking it up. It's actually quite fun to see.

Chapter books have become fun as well. We started with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, moved on to Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach, the original Peter Pan, and are just now starting Harry Potter. We've read some really cute French books as well, but these are shorter stories. Your favourites are Cocorico and Bonjour Docteur. Even you brother loves those ones. And you are starting to recognize words and it's so exciting to see!! Reading is so fun, and I sure hope you enjoy reading!!

Sebastian, you are an amazing little boy. I love your passion for life. I love your willingness to try new things, even though sometimes those things can be a challenge for you. You wow'd your physio group with your amazing climbing this year. And I try and find time to work on letters and such with you since I know it is a huge challenge for you. Some favourite foods: tacos, mayo cheese pickle sandwiches, nutella toast, pancakes, quesadillas, pizza buns, Clif bars, groovy strips, BearPaws. You have a weakness for cookies and chips!! Oh, and you love popcorn. And let's not forget all the time you spend outside exploring in our yard, on snowshoes, building obstacle courses, playing in the sandbox, the playhouse, you truly have an incredible imagination!!

Next up, your school is starting a running club. This is perfect timing as you are going to be running for the third time in the Mother's Day Run. The race always raises money for the NICU units in Calgary, and buys equipment for those units. Equipment that will help future babies get the same sort of amazing care you did while in hospital. (Hello reader, please consider donating to his run by clicking this link for the Sports Chek Mother's Day Run). You've also been doing gymnastics this year, and are learning cartwheels and working hard on the bars as well. These skills work well for your Cirque inspired dances you and your brother do to the music of Ovo.

Oh, and I should mention your brother. You have been an incredible big brother. Sully is very lucky to have someone that looks out for him, plays with him, and shares with him. Of course you have your moments, but that's true of all siblings. And you are always so excited whenever you get to see any of your relatives, but especially your grandmas!! It's a treat to see you dressing up, and using your imagination, Harry Potter, Captain Hook, Public Safety, Firefighter, and now you long for a Spiderman costume (just a tough time of year to ask for such a thing my little man!!

Today, as I watched you be the special helper for the Mad Scientist, I just loved the wonder and excitement both you and your brother had, as you got to learn about how science can be almost like magic!! And let's not forget your cake. You asked for Harry Potter, and you got it!! I love you, my little super trooper!

Sebastian, I wish you another year full of wonder and excitement. Thank you for making me smile every day. Thanks for the incredible things you say.
Thanks for the incredible things you do (like your amazing squeezey hugs). It is such a treat to be your mom!! Keep on smiling and being the incredible boy that you are!!

Love, Mom