Today P. turns 13. It has been wonderful watching this child grow and mature over the past year. Always one of my more quiet children, P. is gaining self-confidence and a real sense of self. It's lovely to watch. P. is also my extreme horse lover. Along with the weekly riding lessons from her grandmother, she is plowing through the horse curriculum I found for her and loving it. I so enjoy watching a child energetically pursue an interest.
I realize that I don't think I've ever shared the story of P.'s birth here. It's actually a parental cautionary tale with a happy ending. Everything about my pregnancy with her was fine and we weren't expecting any complications... I even went into labor on my due date, something that the previous three had failed to do (they were each 2+ weeks late). So we were weren't prepared for P. to be rushed off to NICU after she was born with only a brief moment to hold and kiss her. There was meconium present when she was born, but that wasn't the problem. She was also born with a very large raised swollen place on her face between her eye and her nose which was large enough to push the one eye up and out of alignment. So when a doctor sees that, knows there's meconium, believes the baby is having trouble keeping an open airway, it is enough to land the 8 pound 4 ounce baby in special care. Oh, but not before looking at J. and asking if we had a history of facial deformities. Nice, huh?
By the morning, there was a different doctor doing rounds in NICU and I was allowed to go and nurse her. He had done some research and decided that she had a drainage duct between her eye and nose which had not opened and had filled with fluid. He also determined that she was breathing just fine on her own and we could all go home. I was given the name of a pediatric opthamologist to look at her eye and home we went.
A couple of days later, my sister-in-law and I took baby P. to the doctor where she announced that this was something that was not going to fix itself and it would have to be very soon, especially if it showed signs of being infected. I was so grateful to have my sister-in-law with me to comfort when I broke down in the elevator over the though of my new baby having surgery. (Up to this point, parenting had been pretty uneventful and this was far, far out of my parenting experience.) Wouldn't you know it, not 12 hours after that appointment, the swelling on P.'s face turned bright red indicating infection and she was scheduled for surgery with full anesthetic.
I was a wreck that entire first week of her life. I never put her down, I was stressed beyond belief (that coupled with post-partum hormones did not make for a pretty sight), and I took no pictures. That's right, there are no pictures of P.'s first week of life. I was too irrational. It makes no sense, I know.
Obviously, P. came through the surgery just fine and nearly immediately her eye started to move and even out with the rest of her face. After about a week post-surgery, you would never have known something was wrong. And at that point, I started to mourn the loss of that first week. What if something had gone wrong? What would I have had? Nothing but panicked memories. Even today, I can still feel that remorse welling up inside. The moral of my tale? Do not lose possible good memories to worry. It doesn't help. If the worst had happened, I would have lost even more because of my unhealthy level of worry. As it was, I really did miss a week of my child's life.
But thankfully, that's all I missed. I have had the great pleasure of watching this child grow into a beautiful young woman. Happy Birthday, P. I love you so very, very much.