These are the thoughts of someone who is only human. When I torture myself with thoughts of what could have been, it never occurs to me that I could have not gone into premature labor with some baby. That it seems to me, is my congenital gift. The thing I always knew was coming. Not that it was right, or meant to be. Or lord knows, that it happened for a reason. At some point when I was eight or nine years old, some family I don’t remember that lived near me gave birth to a little girl who was at that point the youngest premature baby to ever survive. I remember watching local news reports about her struggle to survive, seeing her mom hold her in a rocking chair struggling to manage all the wires and tubes. As if it’s not intimidating enough to hold a tiny baby, I thought, now she has to worry about yanking the very breath out of her lungs. Anyway she did live. And I don’t believe the news covered any subsequent issues she had with health or development. Wonderful for the family that she lived. Mixed feelings about the mythology that NICU’s aren’t so bad and that children survive (if they’re chosen and supposed to).
I think about my old friend/neighbor S and her family’s continuing struggle with some issues with her son, delivered at 31 weeks due to H.ELP syndrome. He seems developmentally fine, but a cold is still a scary thing for them. When I heard the news about the death of beautiful Maddie Spohr on April 7th, my obvious deep sorrow and shock for the parents was accompanied by worry for S~’s little boy, and a sense of exhaustion. When are these children free? When can their parents STOP worrying about cold and cough symptoms?
Baby Man has had a lot of illnesses this fall/winter. But with the exception of this weird eye infection he had thanks to his proclivity to wipe his eyes after putting them who knows where (and it was just gross, not rare or even terribly alarming although it required an overnight hospital stay), they are all normal childhood sicknesses for a baby in his first year of daycare. He even had pneumonia, but after a half week of home breathing treatments, he’s fine. Other people, like my in-laws, seem to think Baby Man is getting sick too often, but they never had children in daycare, or in the cold, wet, nasty unpredictable state we live in. Our pediatrician assures us it’s all normal.
Anyway, thing is, I get this feeling that anyone who feels bad for us over Baby Man’s illnesses just doesn’t get it. I have my own anxieties that something bad will befall him, but they’re paranoid worries. Because you see, life with Baby Man is so damn easy. It’s exhausting but overwhelmingly fun. I have no time for anything, but only because things are going as they’re supposed to with an almost 16 month old baby. He babbles, he walks, he plays, he laughs, he climbs. He breathes.
I had this recurring dream when I was a child. I won’t repeat it in full, but in it I faced this inescapable doom. Most nights, the inevitable apparently happened, and I’d wake up shaking and terrified. But in other versions a sudden and impossible escape route emerged and I’d jump through it to safety. I feel like that’s the life I’m living right now. The impossible one.
In other news, dissertation is in and I am trying to catch up on all other parts of life before I defend in a few weeks. Neither of us have jobs for the fall thanks to this shitty economy, so who knows what the plans are. No comforting words on that note though, please, because I’m dealing with it by just going forward day-to-day (as if anyone will read this post anyway 🙂 ). And the market is really so bad that it really may not be okay.