This is what you want to know: The surgery was text book, no surprises, and Ulysses is doing beautifully!
I’m sitting at his bedside in the picu, lulled into pensive sleepiness by the aquarium sounds of all those liquids dripping in and out of him. I have a bed reserved in the intensive care parents’ quiet room, and I should get over there soon.
Once Uly was stable this late afternoon, the husband and I snuck away to a restaurant a couple blocks away. We really needed to eat. Anyway, the server teased us, “are you texting sweet nothings to each other?” as we both were buried into our respective iphones. I looked around and realized we were surrounded by couples, dressed nicely and looking relaxed, happy. Valentine’s dates! She left before we could explain, but as soon as she was back to our table I blurted out, “we have a baby in intensive care at the hospital! he just had heart surgery! we’re messaging friends and family with updates!”
I always thought heart defects (if I thought about them at all, which I doubt) happened to other people. I’d been in an ignorant fog. Other people have babies with serious health issues. Other people have babies with limb differences. Other people go to pediatric specialists and worry about insurance lifetime maximum payouts. Other people.
But now I realize that I am the other people. Some other ignorant lucky bastard out there is me, before I had the life experience to learn that we are ALL other people.
It only takes a little time spent in a hospital to see that all types are represented. Every kind of family is here. And we’re all as out of place as we all do belong.
I could’ve passed tonight at the restaurant, I could have allowed the server to assume we were just employing poor date etiquette, with our technology all up in our faces and hardly any words spoken between us. But I wanted her to know because this is such a huge thing and because I want to represent what families with children with birth defects look like. Which is the same thing as saying what families look like. Like us. Like you. Like anyone. The more we talk about it the less anyone can dismiss the possibility as something that happens to other people. We are all other people. We are all just people.
And people!! You all blew me away today with your constant and true stream of kindness. Every comment, every text or message, would cause my phone to chime and even before I read your words (and I read them all, I did.) I would breathe deeply and smile. Love. I depended on that stream of love so much.
Ulysses will remain sedated and on the ventilator until tomorrow. I rub his head, stroke his fingers, fat from retained fluid, and tell him I’m here. That’s all I can do for now.
(will try to post more tomorrow)