Sunday, June 16, 2013

When the First Baby Laughed

Laughter can cure all that ails you. Laughter cures fear and mends broken hearts. Laughter lifts your spirit and shakes off despair. Laughter gives you strength through pain, and celebrates your heart. A child’s laugh is a diamond that cuts through all trouble and gives hope for the future.
Ondine laughed today.  And The day before. and will again tomorrow. Weather  it was the funny faces we made, or that we elicited joy from her tiny form, she laughed.
Each day is unique, some good some bad. Somehow that small laugh made all our struggles vanish. That small laugh restored hope on a weary soul.
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about. And that was the beginning of faeries.”  I’d like to think the first laugh for each child becomes a faery. for how else do you explain the magic laughter of a child.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Counting Down the Days to See Her Smile

Most of the time, Ondine is so chill that everyone compliments me on how lucky I am. I protest that I’m just proactive in attending to her needs so she seems more chill. But the medical team seems to think so too so maybe I am that lucky. We are 50 days out from surgery and it feels like we’ve come a long way. But the journey is far from over.
Every week since she was 2 weeks old we have taken Ondine in for molding. Molding of her lip, now molding of her nose. Every week we adjust the device. Somedays she cries, somedays she sleeps right through. Today we added a piece of tape to press down the middle section of her lip just bellow the nose. She didn’t cry, she screamed.
Maybe she was hungry, maybe she was upset that it’s hot in Seattle and we don’t have AC. Maybe she was hurt by the device and couldn’t express it any other way. But she screamed. She screamed when she was on the exam table, she screamed in my arms, she screamed until she was exhausted and a cuddle on my chest seemed to dissipate it for a minute.
The doctors see her every week and comment on her progress. They’re great doctors. So kind and helpful. Anything I could need and they are there for me. But they aren’t the ones who have to put the tape on her cheeks. They aren’t the ones who take a wet cotton-swab to rub away adhesive so you can change the tapes on her device so she doesn’t accidentally swallow pieces. They aren’t the one who has to swaddle Ondine because she’s too strong and jerks so violently away from the tape that the threat of damaging her eyes is very real. I am. I am the mean person who tortures her and she looks at me with big wet eyes that ask one question: Why?
I’ve had to get creative to help expedite the process, otherwise I break down in tears myself and have to walk away for a moment.. I created a portable medical kit out of a diaper wipe container that goes wherever Ondine goes now. It’s more of a stock pile in case she rips tape off her face, which she does any time she’s angry.
I’m blessed that she has started to pacify herself with her fingers by sucking on her hand. The thumb-sucking doesn’t work because the device is in the way. She tried at the docs office today but it just wasn't the same. It took her until she had nearly cried herself to sleep plus a bottle plus a car ride before she actually settled down. Her brow was furrowed in sleep. She was anything but relaxed and I just sat there and cried. I cried like I cried when I went to visit my own mom.
My mom had taken the device out to let Ondine rest and I cried because it wasn’t fair. My mom got to see her smile. My mom got to see her at peace. And when I had her I had to be the adult and keep the device in, so she never really rested. I cried because I was jealous that I might never see her smile.  Silly I suppose. But it was how I felt at the time.
Just a few days ago she started to smile for real. But this device ruins it every time. She smiles for a moment then remembers that she’s not that comfortable, that there is this tape pulling her checks towards her nose, that there is a piece of metal and plastic pushing her nostrils open and a final piece of tape pulling her lip down. Molding her face for the future. But today… I just want to see her smile.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wedding Bells

Last Friday was Ondine’s first ever Wedding. There was some deliberation about what to do if she got fussy so as not to ruin her Godmother’s special day (Sean and Amy are now officially hitched!). Godmother #2 had offered to babysit since both Collin and I were set to be a part of the bridal party long before we even knew we were pregnant. The worry was that with the addition of the nasal pieces she might be more fussy than her normal chill baby state.
This kid lives to defy odds.
Comfortable in her baby Bjorn with “Aunties” Jill & Chelan in the back row (strategic location for a quick exit) the wedding begins. Mommy and daddy pass by and she is passed out cold in her pink party dress. Go team!
Of course to rapidly follow is the reception. I realize more everyday that a baby is like a hot potato that no one wants to let go of. Gimme-Gimme is the name of the game and after dinner once dancing started she was passed from one oohing woman to the next. Everyone wanted time with her. I came back from the bathroom to find her in the arms of a woman I never met- no Collin in sight. “Excuse me that’s my baby.” I said.
“Oh that’s alright, she matched our table.” said the grandma-type. “I’m ok. You go have fun.” Well alrighty.
It was how the entire night went. If they didn’t want time with the bride and groom, they wanted to check out their goddaughter. She got a dollar dance with the groom and with the bride (a little unfair because no one wanted to cut in on the infant) and danced with mom and dad a line dance. Our good pal Miles sang his epic “Milkshake” song and then it was time to get going.
Note to new moms: If you want your infant to sleep for a solid 5 hours and then most of the following day, take them to a wedding.