Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 6: Before and After

Week 6 was the first week of Lemon's life during which he saw no doctors.  This brief respite from the medical profession left us free to enjoy family, friends, and developmental milestones.  We finished up our trip to New York with a birthday party for Great Grandma Virginia, where at last I managed to capture a "four generations" picture with Great Grandma, Grandma, Papa Bear, and Lemon.

I continue to be really touched by how much Lemon means to all of his grandparents, and the effect may even be magnified with Great Grandma.  While we were there, she was reminiscing about how she is the youngest of 11 siblings, and the only one still living.  She wondered aloud why it was that she had hung around so long, and then turned to Lemon and said, "Well, maybe it was so that I could meet you!"

After our last visit with Great Grandma, we caught the train back to Boston.  The feeling of relief at arriving home was profound.  Although overall our trip went very smoothly, Lemon's CF doctors had warned us before we left that, because he is so young, any kind of illness would likely result in hospitalization and lots of terrible-sounding tests.  While it is certainly true that I viewed the New York subway as a hotbed of contagion before this trip, my level of paranoia was orders of magnitude higher with Lemon around.  Every time I heard a cough or sniffle, I immediately scanned the car to identify the source.  Once the source was identified, I watched the person who made the offending sound to try and determine if this was a cough or sniffle caused by illness, or just a innocuous clearing of the throat or nasal passages type of thing.  We also went through an entire bottle of Purell.  Although there's no reason to think that the MBTA or Boston generally is more free of disease than New York, it certainly feels that way to me, so I was very glad to have Lemon back on his home turf.  No more rides on the A train until he's a few months older!

 I feel like Lemon's physical and cognitive development really took off this week (merely correlated with the lack of doctor visits--I make no claims about causality!).  He is much more interested in the world around him, and will track people and objects with his eyes.  He's also beginning to use his limbs in a much more purposeful way, even if his coordination isn't quite there yet.  His musical development also seems to have picked up.  In my first ever cellphone video, I captured this little clip of Lemon appearing to stomp his foot in time with his music.  According to Burton White (author of the indispensable classic The First Three Years of Life), Lemon is now a "Phase 2" baby (phase 2 being 6-14 weeks of age), and it's easy to see from watching him why White chose to draw the line between stages there.  Lemon is really substantively different than he was last week.  
Maybe because of these dramatic developmental changes, and certainly in part due to his CF diagnosis, I haven't felt even remotely ready to leave him and go back to work, even though my maternity leave is officially over.  Luckily I have some vacation time banked that will give me a few more weeks at home full time with him.  I do have a very strong incentive to go back to work at least part time, though--our whole family is on my health insurance, and we certainly need to keep that going!  We'll see how I feel about returning at 8 weeks.  I'm starting to be really envious of moms in European countries who get months (or even years) of maternity leave!

With the little free time I've managed to carve out for myself, I've continued to make progress on my fitness with the hopes of returning to athletic events sometime in the near future.  I can now run 5 km at a time, and am continuing to build on distance and speed.  I'm inspired by my cousin Miki, who had a baby two days after Lemon was born, and is already planning on doing a 10k in October.  In fact, she's using her 10K to raise money for CF research in Lemon's honor--click here to support her!

I'm sure many of you are wondering when I'm planning to return to cycling.  I'd been wondering that myself, and a few weeks ago I even went so far as to clean up one of my bikes and take it for a spin up and down the block.  It felt great, and I was eager to get started on some longer rides again.  Then I found out that one of my dearest friends was in a terrible accident--ironically on that very same day.  She suffered some very serious injuries and is facing a long, slow recovery.  That news really shook me up, and made me rethink a rapid return to cycling.  I still long to return to the open roads, but I also feel like I need to wait until Lemon is a little older.  I just can't afford the risks right now.

My friend who suffered this accident wrote a post on her blog about "before and after" moments, which was the inspiration for my post this week.  Obviously my friend's current accident represents one such moment for her--and by extension, for me as well.  It also made me reflect on the other "before and after" moments that I've experienced recently, and it made me realize how the moment of Lemon's birth is so much more significant to me that the moment of his diagnosis with CF.  I can remember both very vividly, but I feel like only one of them (his birth) really bisects my life into a true "before" and "after."  CF will always be a part of his life, and by consequence, of my life.  But the fact that he is here and has a life ahead of him is really what matters.

1 comment:

  1. Love this thought on before and after. I feel similarly. Although Clarissa's diagnosis was clearly a big event in our lives, looking back her birth and our life with children was a much bigger watershed event. And a good one too!