Oh, my darling girl, you do know how to give your mama a fright.
December through February, I fear, will always be difficult months for my heart, after what we’ve been through together.
The year I carried you, I went to my routine antenatal appointment at 28 weeks, and my belly was big. It got brushed off, but I knew it was big. Fast forward a couple of weeks, to a Gold Coast holiday, and I started to have constant, strong but painless contractions. The hospital said to lie down and take a panadol, but go to the local hospital to get checked if they persisted. There, they confirmed I was holding a lot of amniotic fluid, and to get an ultrasound as soon as possible when I went home. Then we found out you had a bowel problem – duodenal atresia, they called it. Your stomach and duodenum weren’t connected to the rest of your intestines.
They told us to think about termination options. I was 31 weeks pregnant with you. Termination wasn’t a consideration for us; we would press on, no matter what came next. The next week we saw a different doctor, who was beautiful and supportive, and explained all the possible problems and outcomes and helped us decide what to do next. I had two litres of fluid drained from my belly with a giant needle, but it kept you in there, until you were ready to come.
Then we faced your first surgery. You were small for your gestation, but you aced it, and we went home earlier than expected.
Ahead to the next December and we wound up in hospital (once again, on the Gold Coast), because you had an intestinal blockage, which caused uncontrollable vomiting. We got it sorted, and two weeks later you ended up back in hospital in Sydney for another blockage. They put you on a feeding tube and booked a second surgery. It was scheduled for your birthday.
Last week, you thought it would be fun to have another of your regular episodes, but this time we struggled to manage it. We’ve gotten pretty good at seeing them coming, but we didn’t quite catch it in time. My heart fell apart, because this time, you knew what was going on. You understood when we uttered the word “hospital”. The look in your eyes was heart-breaking. Fear and lots of questions. I hated it. But we got through it, and now I’m researching, once again, so that I can figure out why this keeps happening and talk to your surgeon about it all, and what it means for you, band th now and in the future.
Your eyes say so, so much, and your face has such character. Everyday, I laugh at the expressions you pull. Your mouth makes funny twists and turns to express displeasure, surprise, joy and everything in between. I’ve never seen anything like it. Girl, you’re a special one. You’re sweet and you’re sassy. You’re feisty and you know what you want. I joyfully look forward to watching you grow up, to see where the world takes you.
Right now, though, you’re a perfect little girl. You love shoes and hair clips (but you hate headbands). You love Peppa Pig and Mister Maker and Playschool. You love to read, and this week your favourite books are The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider and God Knows All About Me (oh, yes He does).
You’re doing all the funny things a two year old does. You run, you climb, you like the swings (although you aren’t keen on trampolines, or dogs, for that matter). You still love Colin Buchannan, and your favourite song is still Isaiah 9:6, but you’re learning more words of the song (in your toddler garble). Some of your words are very good and others take a bit of translation. You can string four or five together to make a toddler sentence.
It’s so lovely to see you growing and learning, now that you’re mostly well. To say you’ve come a long way in twelve months is a complete understatement, and everyone who knows you marvels at your progress and your strength and character. Precious girl, a lot of people pray for you so very often, and they have been very good to our family. We are so blessed to have them in our lives, and we are so blessed to have you.
// Special thanks to your Poppy for the birthday pics. Love you Dad. //