Today, Shrimpy is two months old!
A part of me can hardly believe it, while another part feels it in my soul. When I think back over the last two months, with its healing, heartbreak, and joy, I just tear up with an overflow of emotion.
Since we arrived home, we have done a great job of being able to leave her medical history at the door, while still keeping an eye on her and being sure to give her her medication 2x daily. Without saying it openly, Broom and I have been occasionally holding our breaths as we watch Shrimpy grow while her medication dosages do not. With each gram that she gains, we know that her medications get weaker. The lack of seizures give us hope, that this is behind us, and next week, they will do an EEG to see what her neurons are up to. Hopefully, we will get the OK to start weaning her off of both of them, starting with the barbiturate.
One thing is for sure, her social smiles, trying out her own voice, and mimicry (which started at the beginning of February- according to the midwife, babies who go through trauma like that often make developmental leaps to catch up), her increasing ability to hold up her head, continued weight gain, and more effective nursing all point to an incredibly healthy baby.
We couldn't be more grateful for the normalcy that we have had, and the chance to really enjoy our daughter. Our experience has really put things in perspective. Sure, when she is crying, it can make us distressed- but, she is able to cry and express her needs- something she was unable to do in the hospital. Some days, it has felt like all she did was nurse during a growth spurt- but, she was able to nurse after only being able to take a bottle in the hospital (due to exhaustion)- something that isn't always automatic.
My bond with her feels whole now- something that wasn't the case after suddenly dealing with her sickness. With all of my hormones raging and the fear and helplessness that we had in the hospital, it took her being able to nurse again to feel like I could bond with her. A part of me wonders what my reality would have been had she not gotten sick, but I will never know "what could have been" and have been able to keep any guilt about being distanced at first at a minimum. When I logically think about it, I know that our connection that would have been happening with nursing from the breast couldn't happen- combined with the fear of losing her and getting her through everything to being healthy again- I think my brain did what it had to do and put me on mommy autopilot. I was able to care and cuddle and be there for her (Neither of us, of course, wanted to leave the hospital.), but the bonding was able to be re-vamped after she was stable and strong enough to nurse. Now, I feel like our connection is solid.
I feel honored to be the Mom of this strong, beautiful, smart little girl, whose developing personality I relish in almost every day. It sure as hell isn't always easy, but I am incredibly grateful for her and her easygoing personality. After all of the stress of the hospital, she started sleeping in 4-7 hour blocks at night, and has never really been overly fussy- we usually get up to an our or so of processing crying that isn't straight through- and not every day. I feel so lucky, and am glad that our family unit is so strong.
My relationship with Broom has strengthened and deepened in ways that I never imagined. I watch her with Shrimpy and my body tells me, she won't be our last. She is so supportive of my new body (which is, much to my surprise only 2 kilos above where I was pre-pregnancy- something I never expected- and I am eating all the time, it seems, to cover the nursing calories) and has never expressed anything other than amazement and awe in what my body has done. I feel like we are such a team- a parental unit- Shrimpy's tribe.
In short, I couldn't be more in love- more in love with Shrimpy, more in love with Broom, more in love with life!
Things have been busy, with grandparents visiting from the US, but life is really, really good.