Andrew’s 10th Birthday
Originally posted November 14th, 2016
Today Andrew turns 10. I usually don’t post on birthday’s because we all get older, but I wanted to share this story.
The day Andrew was born and we were getting ready for our third c-section in 3 years, the NICU nurses came down to tell us they were planning on taking him to the NICU when he was born because of his brother and sister’s history. “Of Course you are!” Joe and I exclaimed, not bothering us a bit our child would go to the NICU. Our sense of reality was so warped at dealing with medical crises with Christopher and Katie, we wouldn’t have expected anything less. I remember even giggling when the NICU nurse left the room, telling Joe that was nice of her to come, but we had the ICU thing down.
When Andrew popped out and I was in recovery, he was in his little basinet beside me. I argued with the nurses, I didn’t understand why we was here. He needed to be in a NICU. They told me he was healthy. I didn’t understand. They told me he could go to my room… I didn’t understand… I spent three days in the hospital with a hawk eye on the nurses making sure they didn’t miss anything.… I didn’t understand any of this. My mind was so warped from his siblings, I argued with the pediatrician for months how only one doctor could take care of a child. Christopher had a geneticist, oncologist, hematologist, nephrologist, cardiologist, dermatologist, orthopedic, PICU doctors, pediatric surgeons, ENT surgeons and vascular surgeons. I’m sure I missed a few. Katie spent her first year with a cardiologist, hematologist and oncologist… The fact that one child could have one doctor and only needed a bilirubin blanket, how LUCKY we were. (but I still didn’t get it)
As I spent three days in the hospital after having Andrew, trying to figure out if this third child was truly healthy I ran into an old doctor from years ago. She asked me why I had more children when my oldest had died, she told me I had NO right to be having any more children. Her ignorance and stupidity are what causes heartache in this world. I hope there is a “special place” for her one day where all people go that breed heartache onto others. The pain and the words a bereaved parent here after losing a child, and the ignorance that comes with that are never ending. I could write a book on all the things people have said, or DONT say to me. I will never understand why when you tell someone you lost a child they look away, they walk away from you or won’t talk to you. It’s not a fun topic, I know that, it’s cool. But if someone loses a spouse, if they lose a parent, you continue to engage with them and ask them questions. People don’t realize that child is still on your mind, every second of every day. It only brings sadness to ignore the pain, not to ask about it.
I tell my kids that even though they don’t have their big brother, something that is still a great source of pain for them, how incredibly lucky they are. For they were each handpicked, Christopher knew what he was doing when he picked them out of all the babies in heaven to send down. One child NEVER replaces another, but I can see a twinkle in each one of them that came from big brother. Andrew tilts his head a certain way, and his baby pictures look like big brothers if Christopher had been “unaffected”.
I see so much sadness in the world, especially since the election. The future is uncertain for all of us regardless of who would have been president. But ultimately, our happiness and our future lies within each of us and what we make of this world. I almost went into heart failure a week after I had Andrew, rushed to Fairfax, lungs filling up with fluid, passing out on a stretcher, the whole dramatic scene. I woke hours later in the Emergency Room realizing how lucky I was to have gotten to a major hospital quickly to get help and things could have gone much more south. I had pushed my body to its limits. I had gotten my babies, something we never thought possible. Again, how very lucky we are.
So many things in life come down to just today and the present. It comes down to being healthy and living through today. Today another miracle child turns 10. Another child gets to live another HEALTHY day and what I pray for my children and all children, many more birthdays ahead.