Jacob is nine months old today. Hard to believe that he's been with us now for the same amount of time as I was pregnant...and I didn't even know I was pregnant for a month. It's pretty crazy. I was hoping to do a fun, happy post today for the occasion, some sort of looking back and getting nostalgic sort of thing, since I haven't done much of that lately, but honestly, it's been a rough day. I can't even really get my brain oriented in that sort of mode. Part of the problem is that I've been sick for a good chunk of the week--a cold with lots of congestion, and a bit of fatigue--and today it really seemed to catch up with me. Even though the congestion isn't as bad, I just feel really tired. That's never a good basis for the day. Then Jacob woke up with a fever. It was about 99 when I first took it, then it went up to 101-102ish, depending on which ear I took it in. Tylenol seemed to help, and he didn't have any other symptoms. He was happy and smiling and seemingly otherwise fine. He's always congested, so it's tough to pinpoint another cold or anything like that. He hadn't been pulling at his ears, and as of Monday his ears were fine, so an ear infection seems like only an outside possibility. Apparently over the course of the day he's gotten a little crankier and a little more clingy, but beyond that it's tough to tell. They said he was drooling and chewing on his hands like crazy, so it could be teething, but that's a pretty high fever for that. His fever went back up despite another dose of Tylenol, so of course that worries me a bit. The doctor said that if it goes for three days or anything gets worse, then we can take him in. Otherwise we just dress him lightly, push fluids, and wait it out. It may put a crimp in our fun plans to go up to Toronto for the weekend, unfortunately. We'll just have to see how he does, I guess. It's hard to just sit and wait, though, because there's always a concern that more is going on than meets the eye. I hate that he's not feeling good, and I hate even more that we keep having to deal with this stuff and he can't just be a healthy little boy for even a little while.
Of course, even worse was that I heard today that the almost-two month old baby of an acquaintance of mine (a classmate of my brother's from way back, our moms are close and we've run into each other at the cafeteria in her office building a couple times...and she randomly met Craig on a plane once) just passed away. They knew pretty early on that she was going to be born with Down Syndrome, but apparently she had a lot of other problems beyond that and she just couldn't overcome them. I can't even imagine what they're going through. To go from the joy of finding out they were pregnant, to the distress of the positive Down Syndome test, to bracing yourself for life with a disabled child, to dealing with all of the other issues they may not have anticipated, to finally losing her...such a roller coaster. If there's any bright side here (still quite dark, I'd imagine) I suppose it's a bit of a relief if only because she's not suffering anymore. They do have another daughter, and while the loss has to be difficult for all of them, I would have to think that she will have a more "normal" life because so much time and energy would have had to go into care for her sister. I'm sure that's little consolation, however. Losing a child is beyond horrible no matter what, and they were apparently well prepared to deal with whatever challenges came their way with this baby. It must be such an empty feeling...not just that they no longer have their child, but just the emotional downshift. I'm sure they spent a lot of time praying and preparing for the inevitable challenges of a Down Syndome baby, but I have a feeling that they weren't expecting the other problems they came up against...and even if it was a possibility, I think the tendency would be to assume you'd get through the immediate stuff and psyche yourself up for the long haul. And now, after much time in the NICU, where do they go next? How do you fill your time and mourn and move on? Do you just close the door to the baby's room and leave it as is? I can't even imagine. As I'm sure I've mentioned numerous times before on here, I can't even fathom losing Jacob and how empty I would feel. I think about how hard that week was when he was in the hospital, and can't even imagine extending that to two months with an even sicker baby to worry about. And to never be able to bring your baby home? Absolutely beyond my comprehension. It's heartbreaking. I think about how much every smile and laugh from Jacob brings joy into my life, and I don't know what I would do without that. Sometimes I'm not sure what would be worse--to experience that and lose it, or never get to experience it at all. Safe to say that neither of them is a good option. Ever.
So, with all of this floating around my head, I feel a bit stuck. Sad that Jacob's sick...again. Thankful that it's not something worse. Worried that it could be something worse and that in a flash everything could change. Such is life as a parent, I guess. I'm beyond grateful for Jacob's nine months and look forward to all of the milestones and experiences that lie ahead. He amazes me every day, and I feel so blessed to have him in my life.