I’ve been doing a lot of comparing lately….not in destructive sort of way but in a way I imagine moms with three little ones do. Which birth was easiest, who was the fussiest, which little darling had the longest toes.
Reality sliced a nerve as I realized that today Augie is 19 days old. The same age that Judah was when we were admitted to the hospital for 13 debilitating days. December 18th, 2014 is a day so ingrained and a part of me that I can smell the same crisp air as I rushed Judah to the doctor… leaving my helm at red lights to climb in back and make sure he was still breathing. I can touch the trauma, I still shiver at the uncertainty and feel the crippling guilt of how Down syndrome still enormously overshadowed his illness.
Augie is 2 pounds bigger than Judah was when he got sick but he seems smaller and newer somehow. We had been through so much with Judah by this time. Each day was a year as we continued to grip our new normal. We were told by his pediatrician “he had that thing we thought he had” Four ladies had just been in my house evaluating his every coo and move. There were some close to us who were unsure how to handle the diagnosis. Some overcompensating , some wanting to be the ones to tell the world, some acting like nothing was going on; most at a loss for how to help. We had a revolving door of visitors by this time; people trying to keep me grounded. Christmas was so close you could smell the pine and sugar cookies. And through it all we were still attempting not to disrupt the world of our little 2 year old. All of this swirled around the short days of falling in love with Judah and so today the comparison shakes me a little.
I think I will always cradle the post-traumatic-stress that surroundsJudah at 19 days old. I will always hold tight to the hospital and breathing tubes and RSV and dreams of Christmas shattered. I almost want to keep them close. I think it’s important. Adversity breeds strength and it breeds appreciation.
As I sit here cradling my 19 day old, I wonder how the hell I was strong enough to copilot another 19day old baby in an ambulance and watch him fight for his life. I wonder and I cry about it. Perhaps it is unhealthy to relive Judah’s past and compare what I have with Augie to what I went through back then?? Or perhaps, our pain should remain in some diluted form to serve as a reminder of how we survived it, how we handled ourselves with grace and how human beings are incredibly capable of moving past what we thought might destroy us.