It’s the end of April & the month of May is around the corner. More specifically, May the 2nd. The day our baby boy turns one. And the closer this day comes, the more emotional I’m feeling about it. You see this celebration is not only a wonderful & happy period celebrating our boy’s first year of life, it also brings forth some very painful memories of the past 12 months for me. And in addition to all these memories, the day itself is extremely bittersweet as my baby is growing up & given I’m not having any more, this period & phase of my life is over. Just like that. Like a snap of the fingers, pregnancies, newborns, newborn cuddles & tiny clothes are now part of my lifes memories.
Even though it’s a conscious decision to not have any more kids it doesn’t mean I can’t allow myself to grieve this decision or period of my life. Each time Flynny grows out of a size, I fold up the clothes ever so delicately & gently imagining the little boy in them who used to fill them, but knowing also, that he nor anybody else of mine will fill up those sleeves & pants. And it’s not like he’s grown out of his clothes so quickly either – he’s still wearing 0-3mth tops & I just moved him up to crawler sized nappies – it matters not. The clothes are too small for him & they’re put away with bigger ones put in their place. (Some days I think it’s natures way of providing me with a mini boy so it would give me a ‘baby’ for longer & ease me into the realisation that there will be no more).
I often wonder where the days went as the past year has gone so very quickly since Flynn came into our lives. Sometimes however, I feel each & every waking minute, like when he’s up in the middle of the night in pain or sick & time stands still & the days following until he gets better go ever so slowly. Thinking about him as a newborn sometimes feels like years ago & often feels just like yesterday.
I know the feelings I’m having leading up to Flynnys birthday are extremely common with those mums (or even parents) that have decided not to have any more kids, but I have a few additional things to celebrate, deal with & work through during this period.
September 2010 the wee stick went positive & in January 2011 my 20 weeks scan revealed I had a bipartite placenta, placenta previa & vasa previa the latter giving my baby a 20% chance of survival. I was prepared by my OB that I was going to be admitted to hospital early (as Orli came unexpectedly at 36 weeks & my membranes weren’t able to rupture at all with the baby) & was also told that if I bled at all at any time to get to hospital immediately as the baby had to be taken out asap in order to survive. To say I was anxious from 20 weeks until 34.5 weeks until my early admission would be an understatement. I felt responsible for my placenta not protecting or giving my baby the best chance & start to life. I also knew that if I didn’t get to theatre in time for the baby to come out alive, I would be responsible for it not surviving. I had ongoing internal scans to assess the baby’s growth & see how the placenta was holding up & where it decided to be on any given day. I had very low amniotic fluid intake (AFI) so each leak was a worry that the babes health would be compromised. Each leak was also checked in case it was blood so there were many times I would leave my groceries mid aisle to check myself in the nearest toilet. By 34 weeks I was a mess & we went to the hospital for CTG & obs late one night. I asked the midwives if I could stay there & be admitted a few days earlier but the nurses had no reason to keep me…. they obviously had enough anxious mums on the ward already!
After a week & a half in hospital, we made it to 36 weeks & on May 2, just after 3pm, we met Flynn Jack Rozenblum. He came into the world weighing in at 2.165kgs & not requiring an urgent blood transfusion which was something we had been warned about many times over. After a few minutes of gazing at him & being relieved he was alright, he was taken to special care for observation.
Fast forward to a week of being home & we were readmitted as Flynn was having issues with feeding & was considered ‘failure to thrive’ only gaining 50g since discharge. The nine week admission consisted of Flynny being fed nasal-gastrically (having the tube changed each week & each time he pulled it out by accident which happened quite often), having x-rays, a barium swallow, urine & blood tests, a brain ultrasound, an ECG, an Echo, trying nine different formulas, having chronic constipation (& the many suppositories he had to help) & the violent reflux which was so very painful for him & made me feeding him completely disheartening & heartbreaking. At ten weeks of age (six week corrected), he was diagnosed with Laryngomalacia & started drinking enough to not lose any weight & we were discharged the next week. I found an amazing group of mums with beautiful Malacia kids who have provided us with advice & support as we embarked on a journey of having a son with LM & all the concerns associated with the condition. Thankfully Flynny’s condition is mild but we’re still having a few issues with his feeding 12 months down the track which remains one of my main anxieties.
There were days during that nine week admission that I thought I was losing it & that we would never be going home. I just could not see past being in hospital & us ever going home to Seon & Orli. In that time, I managed to keep my head above water & also dodged any PPD/PND demons that came chasing me. As I’ve said before, there were times I thought I was slipping, however with the help of Seon, close friends & The #PPDChatArmy I managed to keep it together despite everything going on. The difference this time round was that I knew I had bonded & loved my baby boy. No one in the world knew him better than me & our connection was forever forged. Given the circumstances, I had to continuously remind myself that I was having a normal experience in an abnormal situation & that is was the circumstances not my mental state that was affecting my mood this time round.
When I look at Flynn today I marvel at his strength & at his nature. I adore him so much that I often find myself staring at him with tears running down my cheeks. His face is so familiar (he’s looking more & more like Orli), so happy, so inquisitive, so engaging & takes my breath away many times over. His smile in infectious, his nature is beautiful & he gives me joy each & every day. He is just the happiest little boy.
So as May the 2nd gets closer, I’m not only grieving that I won’t be having another baby & feeling nostalgic about my baby growing up, I will also be celebrating the fact that the PPD/PND demon that robbed me of my first experience of motherhood didn’t appear second time round & nothing got in the way of me bonding with & loving my son. I was able to have a better experience with my baby despite the circumstances which is a direct result of lots of hard work, hours of therapy & plenty of planning. I am also so very proud of myself for not allowing my PMD to impact our decision to not have another baby. It would have been the most tragic outcome of my PMD had it convinced me not to provide Orli with the gift of a sibling & it would have been even more heartbreaking had I allowed my PMD to rob me of the experience of enjoying & loving my baby. Not a day goes by, that I’m not reminded of just how far I’ve come & just how very blessed we are.
As I sit here & reminisce, reflect, gather & share my thoughts, I’m overcome with emotion about the week ahead. Many tears will flow, many memories will be revisited but I will also be constantly telling myself just how lucky & blessed we are. I’m going to allow myself to grieve the fact that my baby is growing up & won’t be an older brother & I’m not going to block out any painful memories of the first three months we had together. I’m going to try really hard to live in the moment & enjoy the celebrations that come our way. I cannot imagine our lives without Mr Flynnstone nor my Flynny Floo Floo & will never ever take for granted the best birthday gift I ever got.