Friday, September 14, 2012
I will never forget the car ride home from the hospital when Ari was 2 days old. Matt and I both sobbed. We were exhausted and petrified, and shocked we were allowed to leave with a newborn baby when it was clear we had not the slightest clue what we were doing. And yet, we had a nursery set up with color coordinated furniture, bedding, and decor. We had baby supplies and bottles. And we had every detail and doo-dad ready for when we stepped foot in our front door. We both stayed home all week, we had family on hand to help, and we only had 1 baby for whom to care.
And still, I spent the first week (maybe two) of Ari's life a hormonal, emotional, neurotic wreck.
This time around, we left the hospital 1 day early. Matt used a baby wipe to clean out the infant carrier before placing sweet Alison inside Ari's dirty seat. We sped home to a nursery devoid of dresser, crib, glider chair and, heaven forbid, a changing table. The room had a few newborn essentials (thanks to our dear friend Danielle who took a trip to Babies r Us on our behalf) in little pink canvas baskets (we stopped at Target on our way to the hospital to deliver the baby). Our energy had been consumed by three scary months of procedures, medications, and chemotherapy to save Ari's life. We simply didn't have the time or capacity (okay, I'll admit, or desire) to prepare for the new baby.
Yet, after 5 days of her life, (and still without anything in her nursery), Alison is eating and sleeping and thriving. And I'm calm and relaxed and have only cried once. And that was today, when I realized I could love another baby as much as I love Ari.
All summer, I thought of nothing but my sick baby boy. I spent every waking minute in his hospital room, by his side, giving him love and support and praying he would be okay. I ignored the kicks (and indigestion and constipation) because I couldn't bear the thought of sharing my love with another child. In fact, I was scared that I would never be able to do so.
But as I watch my 5-day old tiny miracle grow, and as she gazes into my eyes as I feed and cuddle her, I am filled with more love than I ever thought possible. Already, I cannot imagine a life without her. It will take time to figure out how to care for both kids but I feel so much more confident in myself as a mother than I ever expected. And I feel so overwhelmed with my ability and capacity to love.
Woah, that was a deep post.
(BTW, I may not have a changing table, but that hasn't stopped Alison from pooping every time she eats. And naps. 18 times a day.)
In other news, Ari is home!! He stayed in the hospital for 2 nights, had no serious side effects, and was cleared to resume this phase of treatment as an out-patient. He will visit the clinic today and tomorrow for chemo and eye drops and steroids (Steroids! I thought you were gone forever. I didn't miss you. Go away soon.) and next week he will go in twice for some other stuff (I haven't been the one with him so I'm a little unsure of the details, but I think a shot in the leg is involved. He will love that.). Then, we wait as his counts drop and then his body recovers. In the meantime, he is full of energy, a bit feisty (and indecisive and cranky... thanks again steroids), and based on the enormous amount of emesis I witnessed yesterday, he is nauseus. But, that doesn't stop him from kissing his sister, pushing his lawn mower, driving his car, and running up and down our street chasing turkeys. Yes, turkeys. Packs of wild turkeys. I can't wait for Thanksgiving.
I gotta go feed a baby and change two diapers! And take a nap around midnight.