Monday, 22 September 2014

#Microblog Mondays: On the road

She is the daughter of this vagabond family, alright. At last count, we've called five countries in the last six years home-or-something-like-it. And in her 4.5 months of age, Girl Wonder already has six seven countries under her belt, courtesy of a west-to-east trans-continental road trip that's been part of planning our future whereabouts.

She took it all in her stride, intrepid barricade stormer that she is. (And was kept in happy company by a much beloved toy gifted to commemorate her Year of the Horse arrival. She loves that horse, but when we realized its magical, mood-changing qualities, stopping tears in their tracks, we loved it more).

Thousands of miles by car with an infant. Crazy, you say? Yeah, that's just how we roll.

Written as part of Mel's Microblog Mondays. Check it out here to participate.

Monday, 15 September 2014

#Microblog Mondays: Family of four

'How are the three of you doing?' 

'The three of you'; they say it so innocuously.

Or, 'Is this your first?'. An innocent query from a passerby. I stumble, pause for a second too long. Guilt. Sadness. Pride. Uncertainty. Love. So much love. How do you reply?

I have become resigned - after so long spent loudly and furiously grieving - to the fact that people can't won't don't acknowledge or remember our first born. Though to H and I, this is a family of four.

He is there in his sister’s sparkling eyes; in her secret dreaming smiles.

He is there in his parents’ impossible-to-realize determination to let no moment go unnoticed, unappreciated, uncelebrated. We want to stop and savour; to capture everything.

For babies grow so fast, you know. Except when they don’t. He never will.

And yet he is here. We are a family of four, but one of us - a son, a brother - will always be missing.

Written as part of Mel's Microblog Mondays. Check it out here to participate.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

So right

So yes, I am totally that cliché. My communications post-baby have faltered, and I no longer feel like I have the time to post regularly, never mind constructing lovely sentences to adequately convey our here and now. I marvel at those mamas who continue to post with regularity through early parenthood. There are posts I write in my head several times a week. Things I want to say, or record for posterity, or share. The thoughts come, sometimes even the words, but I struggle to find the time and space for such pursuits. Part of me still feels attached to this space and the outlet it has provided, while another part feels it is inextricably linked to a past from which I've been wrenched by these momentous past months. Months that were sometimes horrendous, but which have become filled with delights large and small with increasingly regularity.

And so I find myself back in this space to update on one such of the larger variety. Girl Wonder had her first long-term follow-up appointments last week, at a new hospital, to review both the situation with her ventriculomegaly and the possible consequences of the CMV. We knew this was coming but in the final delight at having her home, have tried to leave it to one side as we enjoyed family life for the first time.

In brief: everything looks wonderful. Her heart scan showed only minor anomalies (all of which are resolving as they should), and her brain scan found no signs of calcification, while her ventricals are measuring at the right size and growth rate for a baby of her size and age. We were thrilled. Prosecco was consumed at yet another chance to celebrate our amazing wonder of a daughter.

On leaving the hospital, having arrived with the first light of day for an early appointment and spent many long and anxious hours into the afternoon awaiting procedures, transferring clinics, and then waiting again for meetings with specialists who would interpret all the results for us, we were exhausted and elated. There was the briefest of moments when we looked at one another and felt a strange kind of disorientation.

H turned to me and said: 'Do you realize this is the first time in what feels like forever that we came to the hospital and received nothing but good news?  

It's true. Almost from the start, hospital visits kept throwing us for one loop after another. I think part of us both expected someone to say: 'I'm sorry, but we're going to have to admit her again'.

But they didn't. And she's doing awesome. The experience did indeed feel a bit (delightfully, intoxicatingly, ecstatically) strange.

I was reminded of that Paul Simon song. To paraphrase: getting used to something so right is going to take some getting used to.

And that's an endeavour - short as we are on time these days - that we will joyfully run towards.