Happy ‘should be your birth’ -day

Well it’s Day 98 now, a day I have had in my mind for such a long time now, today is Isaac’s Due Date.  The 7th of November, the date we have held so much expectation and hope that we would have to wait until to meet our second little man.  Not many people hope to go full-term and beyond but for us this was so desired, but not to be.

We were very nervous getting pregnant again when we did because it was a possibility that he would be born on Josh’s Birthday, the 18th October, which would have just been too much for us to handle as we strive to remember Josh while we rejoice in Isaac.

So today is the day that we were told to look towards all the way back on the 1st August when he was born, 3 months of waiting and then we should be planning to take our ‘new baby’ home when he was fully cooked. Well, we are still sitting here at Monash Children’s, waiting patiently, but he still has a little bit to achieve before his time comes.

I am extremely proud of both my sons and what they have fought so hard to achieve.  Josh was such a brave little guy who worked right to the end and just kept on fighting.  Isaac has spent 98 days of ‘bonus time’ with us fighting off infection, underdevelopment in so many areas, surgery, difficult delivery, breathing on lungs only beginning to ‘grow’ 1 week earlier and relearning how to pump blood through the right places.  Such a trooper who has grown 24 weeks the easy way and 14 weeks along the road less travelled.

We have had amazing support, highly skilled doctors and nurses and so many beautiful moments along the way but we will certainly tell the full story soon, hopefully on the day this part of the journey is over and we take our 3+ month ‘newborn’ home.

What I really want to share today is how amazing my wife has been through this whole saga.

Pregnancy is hard, particularly if you are well informed, and even more so when you have lived through what can and does go wrong in so many families. It’s not my place to tell her story but as a husband watching on helpless to do anything, I think my wife has handled it all better than most.

Isaac was born just 56mins after the moment that they say ‘things could go well from here’, 56mins minutes, that’s not enough, 141064minutes short of ‘normal time now, take him home’.

Being a NICU mum sucks, 22 days before he could be held, up to 5 leads to negotiate while trying to pick him up, constantly fighting him to keep his prongs or masks in his tiny nose, only buying clothes that have double zips so his wires can come out somewhere other than his chin, finding clothes in 0000000 so that he can wear more than a nappy and swaddle, learning how to give medications that he hates and can’t go together every few hours, dealing with a strict routine and washing your hands approximately every 2.7 seconds because you just touched something ‘unclean’.

Her life consists of spending 14 hours a day of feed/pump/wash/nappy repeat and if you get time in that window before it all happens again and he’s awake you can hold him.

For me, watching my wife trying to bond with a baby is really heart warming and heart breaking.  This child that really only just got to hear her voice for a week before he was born, who has spent more time in the last 3 months looking at a monitors rather than at her face and listening to his alarms rather than her voice.  This was never more evident to me than listening to her sing ‘Part of your world’ from The Little Mermaid to him last night after he had a bad day and all his friends had left to start their ‘outside life’. We are so thankful for the bonus time and I am so proud of my son and thankful to God for all he has overcome to be where he is today but my hero of this story is a faithful mum who walks in to hospital at 8:30am every morning with her bag and snacks, sits by his side, attends his every need, is forced to just be part of ‘his team’ and comes home exhausted at 11pm to do it all again tomorrow.

It’s hard to watch so many of his friends come and go, leave hospital (hopefully) forever and be left sitting staring at uninhabited cots and empty spaces that used to be his, and our, friends.  So many relationship and journeys of baby’s and parents have been shared together and now we are left all alone on a big ward with only the really fresh babies who need attention and who’s parents we don’t know, while we remain alone, very stable and not needing any attention, in the room that used to be a hive of activity for him and his friends.

So Happy ‘should have been your birth’-day mate, you should consider yourself very blessed that the best, one-of-a-kind, gift you could ever have been given today is a mum like yours, She’s the best thing I’ve ever seen and I’m happy that you get to have her too.

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