Today as I updated the picture at the top of your blog (4 months late, even though the pic itself was taken the day after your 2nd birthday), I stumbled across a feature of blogspot. I really only know how to write my posts and upload pictures…anything beyond that is too fancy for me. Our friend Mrs. Jenni says she knows her iPhone is like her brain…she is only capable of tapping into 10% of its capacity. That sums up me and the blog. I have seen other blogs with music and other cool features, but have no idea how to do them myself. Anyway, there is a page called site stats and it keeps track of how many people read your blog and what links they click on to get there. And here is the fun part. I discovered the blog of an old friend.
Noah was one of your roommates during our time at Texas Women’s. He was born 11 weeks premature, and his little isolette was right next to yours for a week or two before we moved to TCH. I remember what a feisty little guy he was. All of a sudden we would hear banging, and he would be slamming his little hand full of IV’s into the walls of his bed. Despite being so small, his face was full of expression and personality and he quickly stole the hearts of all who cared for and interacted with him. You grow to love and pray for those NICU babies and families around you—their victories become yours along with their heartache. And unfortunately, there is a lot of heartache. But Noah was such a fighter—I was just positive that given a little time to grow, he would be just fine.
I hate to say that there were times in the NICU, especially at Texas Women’s, that I looked at the situations around me and thought they had it so much better. For a while you were the only non-preemie on the floor. In fact, your birth weight of 7 lbs 3 oz meant already you were too large for the clothes provided in the NICU which were made for the teeny tinies. But I remember, as your situation began to look more and more complicated, wishing that you could be “just” another preemie. That you could “just” be small and early, and one day be healthy and strong and independent. I guess that was either my naivety—or perhaps, if I am perfectly honest—a root of bitterness and self pity that had to be cut out. I know that in some ways it was harder for the preemie parents. Those babies are so prone to infection, and there is absolutely no guarantee of survival. I was able to sit by your crib from early morning until midnight most days, doing nothing but holding and rocking you. Noah’s parents weren’t as fortunate. They were limited in the amount of time they could hold him. Often his mommy or daddy would swing by on a lunch break and just sit and look at him or hold his hand for a moment, because when it was time to take him out of his isollete, they wanted each other to be there too. I remember grandparents would also come and just sit, not willing to take that precious cuddle time away from Mom and Dad. (It was Noah’s grandpa that first told me your name meant “strength”.) A sick baby, no matter what the cause, is nearly unbearable to the entire family. Someone the other day was telling me how she had to leave her baby in the hospital for 3 days—and then as if realizing who she was talking to said, “Although I am sure that seems like nothing to you.” I told her it absolutely DID seem like something to me…that first night I left you in the hospital was the second most painful night of my life. My heart literally hurt, and I only made it to the car because Daddy helped. Eventually it got a little easier, but there is nothing like that first time of walking out of the hospital without a baby. You have to go to the car where an empty infant seat sits in the back, and then walk past the empty nursery at home. Whether one day or a hundred, it is probably one of the most difficult things a new parent could do.
I hungrily ate up his blog today to see how the last two years has been for him. Noah wasn’t discharged from Texas Women’s until a full month after us…meaning they stayed a whopping 23 weeks and 2 days. We thought our 9 weeks was tough! He was discharged after Hurricane Ike, and since their home still didn’t have power, immediately went on his first road trip to visit family in New Orleans. How fun!
I was saddened to see that Noah has ongoing complications from his preemie birth. It looks like his official diagnosis is spastic diplegia, a version of CP (cerebral palsy). As scary as the term CP is, he really looks to be doing great. He eats on his own, wears handsome little glasses, walks in a walker, is making good progress in OT and PT, and has moved (if somewhat reluctantly) into a big boy bed.
He has a beautiful, healthy little sister, named Maya, who I am sure has done as much good for Noah and his parents as your brother has done for us. And like you, Noah is loved, loving, and happy. And as parents, we can’t ask for too much more than that.