This space is for friends, family and sworn enemies alike to bask in and reminisce about parenthood. Discussion is being led by a fellow who enjoys being a Dad but is very much still learning what the job entails.
Hopefully we can have some laughs along the way. If we don't, it's your fault.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
For months we were told that our lives would change forever when our son was born. We were warned, so we weren't surprised that life has changed in such a brief span of time. How it's changed has been the surprise.
Today is Mrs. Blackwell's
tenth straight day in the hospital; ditto for junior. He still hasn't been outside yet.
She's healthy and he's also a perfectly healthy little boy so we're very, very fortunate and grateful. But, they're still in the hospital. Mrs. Blackwell (AKA Mom) and my mom (AKA Grandma) are with him as he plays out this string of days in the neonatal intensive care unit.
As anyone who's spent time under these circumstances knows, living in a hospital is trying even when the hospital is as nice as the one we're fortunate enough to be in.
For a time I was
there, but then reality struck and I've since been balancing
work responsibilities. Mrs. Blackwell's mom and my mom have since picked up
this slack. So, they too know exactly what the new mom is going
"What is this 'outside world' you speak of?"
I'm proud of how my wife
has stayed positive. She smiles regularly. She dotes over her son and, as
I've told countless people since this odyssey began, her cup is
perpetually half full, even if she is spending her waking life in the hospital lately.
This life, living in hospital limbo, is uncomfortable. It's frustrating, scary and tiresome. It also absolutely pales in comparison to the sacrifices other parents make, and for much longer periods of time than we are enduring.
Weeks, months and, yes, even years can be spent waiting, waiting, waiting for an infant's health to turn for the better.
I've seen it firsthand and now have no shortage of examples.
There was Tim, from Omaha. Tim took an 18-hour bus ride to be near his grandson as he awaited a new heart and then transplant surgery. Tim took his bus ride in December and has been living in a Ronald McDonald House since. His months-long wait is now his life and amounts to a perpetual, solemn, vigil. Everything else in Tim's life is on hold.
Tim told me his daughter has spent every, single night in the hospital with her son since December.
There was Aaron. Aaron has a beautiful 18-month old daughter who was born with club feet, brain and heart issues. She's had "several surgeries" and requires "dozens more." Her young life has been spent almost entirely in the hospital.
Despite this, Aaron smiles a lot. He too is grateful and he didn't hesitate to ask questions about my boy. He was genuinely interested in my son's well being and, in light of what he's enduring, I felt almost sheepish telling Aaron my son was going to be fine.
My reticence was unwarranted as he was thrilled for us.
Some folks have told us we've had a difficult ride. At this point, I'm inclined to say only that it hasn't been ideal.
My son's neighbors at the hospital the little kids who's lives are spent there they and their families have it difficult to a degree I pray I'll never know.
Our lives have changed alright. And we couldn't feel luckier.
Editors' Note: the above picture is indeed the son of Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell.