Friday, November 14, 2008

Tough Day

...More for me than Jacob, but he didn't have such a great evening himself. Jacob was exceptionally fussy last night, crying a lot. Even when he was being held, he tended to either cry or whine a bit. He didn't feel warm and didn't exhibit any signs of illness beyond his still-present cough and congestion. As unpleasant as that stuff is, I'm grateful he hasn't yet had one of those massive runny noses you see so many kids with. Knock on wood. But regardless (particularly in light of the stories below), I couldn't help but be concerned that he was so much fussier than usual. I kept asking him, "What's wrong?", hoping he'd magically answer. In between crying spells he still had his moments with smiles here and there, and he went down to bed pretty well after about two minutes of fussing. Seemed better this morning, so I can only hope. I'm concerned enough about how this weekend's visit to Grandma and Grandpa's will go...first trip away since his overnight meltdown at Craig's parents' house a few weeks ago...but I think I'm going to bring his humidifer with us (worth the hassle if it helps him sleep, and based on what I've experienced, it does.) so hopefully we'll be ok.

As for me, yesterday was a tough parent day, emotionally. It seemed like I kept running into unfortunate stories about sick kids and the impact on their parents. Two of the blogs I read each day dealt with this topic--one discussing miscarriages, the other talking about a two month old baby (the nephew of the blogger, as told by her sister, the mom) who was having seizures and was diagnosed with this horrible problem--though a second opinion gave them a little more hope that he could still end up pretty normal. Even still, not something you ever want to think about. The miscarriage one obviously had less of an impact since (for now) I'm past that stage, but now that I have a baby and know the joy of watching this little baby turn into a little person, the thought of losing one and wondering "what if..." is hard to think about.

Just those two blogs alone made me feel incredibly blessed to have a healthy baby, and slightly fearful that something could ever happen to Jacob. As I've mentioned here before, the mere thought of it makes me absolutely distraught. You never want to expect something to happen to your child, but there's always the thought that things happen to very ordinary people, and who's to say it couldn't happen to you? Why one person over another? This particular family has already been through cancer three times (once for the blogger and twice for the mother of this child), so there's obviously little justice in the world sometimes. So while you shouldn't expect it, there's always that little part of you that thinks about it and prays that your family is spared the pain.

As if that wasn't enough, last night's ER nearly brought me to tears. The appearance of the long-deceased Dr. Greene was pretty cool, but the general topic of the show was sick children. One storyline took place in the present, dealing with a little girl who feel into some freezing water and was unconscious. Of course her parents were devastated while they were doing everything to revive her. That storyline ended pretty well, but I don't know if they ever discussed what shape that girl's brain might be in after all that trauma. The other storyline took place in the past, with one doctor thinking back to when her otherwise healthy son was started having seizures and ended up at that same hospital (with Dr. Greene as his doctor). After one particular seizure, as the boy woke up, he started vomiting blood, and it all went downhill from there. Ultimately they discovered that he had leukemia, which caused a stroke. The boy died. Healthy to dead in one afternoon. I know it's TV and I know they do stuff like that to get a response from the viewer, but as a parent, it's hard not to put yourself in their shoes. Even if the stroke wouldn't have done him in, the leukemia would have been a tough battle on its own. And we've all come across stories of kids with cancer and been heartbroken at the thought of it ever happening to someone you love. But at the end of the storyline, the dead little boy on the gurney hit a little too close to home and I was moments away from breaking down. Sad, scary stuff.

From cancer to autism to accidents, there are so many things that can happen to kids--so many that are completely sudden and shocking--and when you have something so precious, the thought of losing it is horrifying. And from the moment you find out you're having a baby, that is your existence. It intensifies when you have the baby and can hold it in your arms, and from what I can tell so far it becomes even more intense as they grow and develop into a complete person with so many different qualities to love. No matter the stress and problems of the day, I know I should be grateful for every single moment I have with Jacob. Even when he's crying, I know I should be thankful to have that crying baby to hold and comfort. It's not always easy, but deep down I know it.

Parenthood is an amazing experience, for better or for worse, and I don't think you can ever grasp what it all means until you're in the middle of it. A friend of mine just told me that he and his wife are expecting. When I asked if it was planned, he responded that they weren't doing anything to prevent it, but they weren't specifically trying, either. It's not my place to make a judgment on their intentions, because he's a tough guy to read sometimes and there's probably more going on below the surface, but I genuinely hope that deep down they really did want this to happen. Parenthood is not something to be taken lightly...there's way too much that goes into it and it's a lifelong commitment. I'm sure they will take a lot of joy in their baby once it arrives, but my hope is that they know (as best they can) what they're getting into!

Have a happy weekend everyone!

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