Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Tummy Hurts

After not seeing her for seven weeks, I finally got to spend some one-on-one time with my granddaughter, Josselyn.  I still cannot get over how much her almost-three-year-old vocabulary has grown.  Yesterday, much of our conversation included three words: "my tummy hurts"

In the car:  
She:  Are we going to Nanna house? 
Me:  Yes we are. 
She:   Mommy and daddy coming later? 
Me:  No, baby, you'll see them tomorrow. 
She:   Oh.   (Silence).  My tummy hurts. 
Me:   I'm sorry your tummy hurts.  Do you need to throw up? 
She:  No.
Me:  Why does your tummy hurt?
She:  Me don't know.

In the living room:
She:  Me want Dayday and Dodo.
Me:  We left them at your house, baby.  You'll see Jayjay and Jojo tomorrow.
She:  Me want them now.  Me want to up-up them now. Me want to tuddow Dayday and Dodo.
Me:  I know baby, tomorrow you can pick them up and cuddle them.  Tonight you can pick up and cuddle Lulu and Lula.
She: Oh.  (picks up Lulu and Lula).  My tummy hurts.
Me:  I'm sorry your tummy hurts.  Do you need to throw up?
She: No.
Me:  Why does your tummy hurt?
She:  Me don't know.

At bedtime:
She:  Me lala Auddie.
Me:  I love Auggie too.
She:  Me want up-up Auddie. Me want tuddow Auddie.
Me:  I want to pick up and cuddle Auggie, too.  But we can't.
She:  Why?
Me:  Because they live too far away.
She:  Why?
Me:  Because Uncle Jimmy's work is in Alaska, so they have to live there, and we have to take an airplane to go see them.
She:  Auntie Dattee and Unca Beeday live faraway too!
Me:  Yes, they do. 
She:  Oh. (silence) My tummy hurts.
Me:  I'm sorry your tummy hurts.  Do you need to throw up? 
She:  No.
Me:  Why does your tummy hurt?
She:  Me don't know.

At breakfast:
She:  (Running into my bedroom) PAAAAPAAAAH!!!
Me:  He's not there.
She:  Where Pappah dough?
Me:  He went to work.
She:  Me want to lick his teek.
Me:  You can lick his cheek the next time you see him.
She:  When I shee him?
Me:  I'm not sure, baby.  Maybe Saturday.
She:  When is Shatday?
Me:  Four more sleeps.
She:  Oh. (silence) My tummy hurts.
Me:   I'm sorry your tummy hurts.  Do you need to throw up? 
She:  No.
Me:  Why does your tummy hurt?
She:  Me don't know.

In the car, on the way to her home:
She:  Nannah stay my house?
Me:  No, baby, I'm only dropping you off.
She:  Nannah play a lidda bit?
Me:  I'll come in for a little bit.
She:  Then?
Me:  Then I have to leave you with your mommy and I have to go to work.
She:  Then you come back my house?
Me:  No, then I go back to MY house.
She:  Me want go back YO house.
Me:  Not today, sweetie.  Another day.
She:  Why?
Me:  Because I need to work, and your mommy and daddy need you so they can hug you and cuddle you.
She:  Nannah stay at my house.
Me:  I can't.
She:  Why?
Me:  Because I belong with Pappah, just like you belong with mommy and daddy.
She:  Oh. (silence) My tummy hurts.
Me:   I'm sorry your tummy hurts.  Do you need to throw up? 
She:  No.
Me:  Why does your tummy hurt?
She:  Me don't know.

And then it hit me.  All these tummy hurts --  I noticed she gets silent just before she announces them...she gets them just before she turns her head to one side or just before she looks away, just before silent tears fall.  There is no crying sound, like when she's hurt, or when she's angry, or when she doesn't get what she wants when she wants it.  Only silent tears that she doesn't really even want me to see.

Gone are the carefree days of nothing but pure joy and laughter, when crying was merely an audible indication of a physical discomfort, and a drink, a cracker, a boo-boo ice, a tic-tac, or a snuggle could make it stop almost immediately.

My almost-but-not-quite-three-year-old granddaughter's tummy hurts when she is sad, really sad, and there is really nothing I can do about it.  She will experience many more of these tummy hurts, and eventually, she will experience her first heartbreak, and there is really nothing I can do about it.

My tummy hurts.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Six Weeks of August

     I met him exactly six weeks ago today, and it was love at first sight.  I spent every day of the last six weeks with him, and I watched him develop a personality that will forever be etched in my mind.
     He likes his sleep and his meals, in that order,  much like his Auntie Jacky.   He gets  cranky, makes frowny faces, and snarls when awakened, much like his dad.  He makes contented grunting noises when one  rubs his back, much like his Auntie Jhen.  He makes faces in his sleep, looking innocent and angelic much like his cousin Jossie.  He kicks suddenly when you touch his ankle, much like his pappah.  He smiles and drools when in deep sleep, much like his mama.  He snores and snorts even when he's awake, much like his Nannah.
     Six weeks ago I didn't know this little one, and now I cannot imagine this world without him.  He is a living, breathing example of the phrase "against all odds".  Born at 37 weeks and 5 days, his entry  -- or rather, exit -- into this world was not without incident.  His dad had just finished texting me that his mama's weekly OB appointment went well, and the plan was to induce labor on July 29, with the hope that he would be born on July 30th.  Within ten minutes of his last text, his dad texted me again, saying they are en route to the hospital to be induced.  Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, my flight for July 30th was changed to July 21st.
     While his mama was well into her labor and as the medical staff had just administered an epidural, the 3'x4' decorative metal grill directly over her hospital bed suddenly and unexplainably snapped off the ceiling.  For some reason, it did not fall directly her, but rather at an angle, the corner of which hitting and bruising her knee.  Little mama didn't feel it for the epidural, but dad and the medical staff were shaken, and a couple of them had to leave the room to gather composure.

     When he finally made his appearance with the help of forceps, the staff was ready to whisk him away to NICU, and this little one was only 4 pounds, 5 ounces.  Because of his size, he was considered a preemie, even though he was term, and machines were in place to ensure he could breath outside the womb.  This little one surprised the staff by his immediate and make-no-mistake-about-it-I -am-not-a-happy-camper wail of protest that could be heard by the entire unit.  The NICU team went back to NICU empty-handed.
     They expected him to have a heart problem, as he had fluid in his heart sac in utero.  Cardiology said he was fine.  They expected him to have little to no muscle tone.  They were wrong.  His arms may have been "floppy" at birth, but he was soon flailing and kicking, and even raising his head off the cribette in search of food.  They expected him to have a name, but they were wrong.  It took his parents the entire pregnancy and six days after his birth to deliberate and come up with the perfect name for this little guy -- August -- inspiring reverence or awe; impressive; honorable.  And they were right.
     And now, six weeks later, he and his parents have established somewhat of a routine.  They're still in the process of learning to distinguish his cries:  the hungry from the hurting, the angry from the annoyed, the "burp me" from the "hug me".  They're still working out the kinks of being new parents, but those will get ironed out in time.  They have the love, support, and prayers of friends and family.
     In two more days,  I can go back home and leave August in the hands of his mom and dad.  Let me rephrase that.  I can go back home and leave August in the CAPABLE and loving hands of his mom and dad.  I am grateful for the six weeks I've had to get to know August.  I look forward to regular communications and updates, thanks to technology.  And I'm excited for the next time I get to spend time with him and witness awe-inspring and impressive changes that make him August.  Not against all odds.  FOR one God.  Through one God.  Because of one God.  And that makes all the difference.