I am so thankful for the past six months. It is simultaneously the easiest thing in the world to be Kiran’s mom and the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. He is a sick little dude – you can tell – he wears out easily these days and sleeps a lot – but he is also a very happy, easygoing little dude. He’s my little dude. He’s my everything.
We are still waiting to hear from Stanford. Impatiently. I continue to feel up-in-the-air on whether I want to know the surgical plan. A part of me is loving the life we are living with Kiran – the moment-to-moment, seize the day kind of life – and I do not look forward to the hospital life we will have to start living at some point in the near future. A part of me wants to keep my head buried in the sand, for just a little bit longer. The other part? Let’s get this show on the road. This is the path before us; let’s go. I have things to plan.
It has been a long time since I have had sadness overcome me. At least, I feel it has been a long time because things have just seemed – brighter – lately, in some ways. But today, as I was feeding Kiran his bottle, it came in waves. The sadness and the fear. I am fearful the baby boy I bring home post-surgery, post-recovery, will not be the same baby boy I brought into the hospital. There are so many things that can go wrong in surgery and in recovery. It is the one negative thing about going to a heart support group – you are so aware of all the things that could go wrong (on the flip side – everything is so dichotomous in this entry! – you also know all the things to be prepared for).
But then I think about the past six months. I think about all the new things I have had to learn. All the times I felt completely overwhelmed – felt sure I couldn’t possibly learn this new skill or accomplish this piece of Kiran’s care. Guess what? I have figured it all out. And when I don’t have it figured out, I have grown confident in the steps to take to figure it out.
I’ve got this.
Whatever this is – whatever scary things we have coming on this path – I’ve got this.
I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible.
And the worries – when it comes to the moment I have to face them, they aren’t so bad.
I was so overwhelmingly sad that I may not be able to breastfeed Kiran. Guess what? That was our reality. But so many other things were going so well, it didn’t end up being that big of a deal. And we did okay. I am pretty much done with pumping – I made it almost exclusively to about four and a half months and have had to supplement more and more with formula since then – and you know what? I am relieved to be done. No more pumping! I have more time to focus on playing with Kiran and helping him develop. There is not enough time in a day to keep up with exclusively pumping, especially when you’re feeding orally and via tube, especially when he sleeps as much as he does.
I was so upset when we had to go back to the ng tube after Kiran had done so well for a couple months. I was so sure I couldn’t handle tube feeding long-term. It has become old hat. Then we got the pump, and I was nervous to be feeding a different way. And now, less than two weeks in, it’s just a part of our day.
I have always been a person who doesn’t want attention. When we are out in public, I want to simply fade into the background. A wallflower, that’s me. So, at first, when we would take Kiran in public, it would bother me that people would stare. Now, I simply hope they will be brave enough to ask questions because that gives me an opportunity to teach more people about congenital heart defects! Kids are my favorite, because they will often (loudly) ask their parents “Why does that baby have an owie on his face?” or “What’s on the baby’s face?”…and I answer now. I don’t ignore it or shy away from it, even though they aren’t asking me directly. I answer it simply, and I tell them it’s okay to look.
When I really reflect on the past six months, I realize: I am not the same person I was before giving birth to this child. None of us are. I get that. But I have grown in leaps and bounds as a person. Kiran has forced me out of my comfort zone in so many ways, and all the changes have been for the better.
I will go to battle for this child. I will do whatever it takes.
I’ve got this.
One thought on “Six Months: A Lifetime”
Holly, This is an amazing post! I hope you will read and reread your own words as you take steps in the future that are scary or worrisome. You are not only an advocate for Kiran, but also for every mother out there who faces challenges on a daily basis. You have gained a strength that surpasses understanding and that will only increase as you and Arif go along. Kiran is a very blessed boy to have you for his mama!