Nine years ago today I had an emergency c-section to save the life of our first-born child, almost 2 months before his due date. I got only the briefest of glimpses of him before they whisked him out of the OR and into the NICU. When I finally was able to be wheeled down to see him, I was stunned by how tiny he was -- 2 lbs and 14 oz, with his head the size of my husband's pager, and a foot the size of the top two joints of my pinkie.
The next 50 days were a true roller-coaster of a ride: one day he would be doing great, the next he would have a set-back that would put him in the more critical section of the NICU. We learned how to read the monitors, feed him through a tube, and care for him as best we could in such a foreign environment.
Finally, the big day arrived. Sean had reached the magical weight of 4 lbs 6 oz, and was ready to be discharged. His primary care nurse -- a big burly woman with a truly no-nonsense attitude -- cried when she carried him around for the last time. "Take care of that little guy," she choked out.
And we were scared.
He still needed daily medication, and was on a heart monitor for the first 6 months of his life. We were warned that RSV could easily be fatal to someone like him, and to take him out only when necessary.
It was not an easy time for us as new parents.
And yet, with God's grace, we made it. Despite his rough start, he never had any health problems associated with so many preemies, and grew up to be the wonderful boy he is today:
Ever the leader, opinionated, caring, helpful, intelligent, funny, and loyal. He tells the most impressive stories, is extremely creative, and has a beautiful singing voice.
It was Sean that led the way, teaching us how to be parents. All the "newbie" parenting mistakes, we made with him. And even now, he still leads the way, teaching us how to parent (slightly) older children. God gave him the temperment he needed to fulfill that role, and he does it beautifully.
So, in honor of my son...
Happy Birthday, Sean! We are so proud of you!
(and, since someone wanted to actually see the bionicle cake I made for him, here it is. Those of you whose sons live and breathe bionicles will recognize the writing immediately. Those who don't, don't worry about it... it's a 9 yr old boy thing...)