It has been almost exactly four months since Addison got her new heart – Thursday is officially the anniversary date. Maybe it’s the interview we did for Global BC, maybe it’s post-traumatic stress just hitting me now, but I have had quite a few moments over the past couple of weeks when I look at my beautiful little baby girl and I am so thankful she is still here with us. I can’t imagine life without her.
In the morning after she wakes up, there is nothing like walking into her room, bending over her crib to pick her up and then seeing her beaming smile. Of course, that is usually followed shortly thereafter with cries of hunger, but it is a magical moment we get to experience every single day. Don’t get me wrong, Addison – or Baddison as Auntie Jen has nicknamed her when she is naughty – does have all those regular newborn baby grumpies. She doesn’t always listen to us (I’m hoping that’s only because she doesn’t understand us yet), she doesn’t always like to nap, she doesn’t always play quietly by herself while Mommy and Daddy hurriedly cram dinner into our mouths, sometimes she cries and I don’t know why.
People often ask me “How’s it going?”, or “How are you doing?” in such a tone that I can tell what they really mean is “How is it dealing with a newborn baby who has had a heart transplant?” Well, I’m doing great…most days!
The biggest difficulty for me right now is the loneliness. With Addison’s immune system at such low levels, play groups and drop-in time at the community centres are out of the question. I spend many days alone with her when Aaron is at work. Every afternoon, we try to head out for a walk. Lao-lao and Gong-gong (retired grandparents rock!) have helped out so much and usually join us once a week. The bumper crop of babies at Global this year has also provided some mommy companions. My older sister and best friend work part-time so we look forward to their visits too.
But there is another silver lining…Aaron and I have met so many wonderful transplant families who have walked the same path. It has been so great to get advice and encouragement from them, plus no one is upset if there are last minute cancellations due to the possibility of a runny nose or scratchy throat. Gotta avoid germs at all cost! (Click HERE for more on how we met Grace and Dennis, pictured below.)
I really don’t know what life would be like with a normal healthy baby because I only have Addison. To me, meds several times a day and paranoia about poopy diapers is completely routine. Now I actually spend most of my mommy moments trying to concoct new ways to get her to nap longer or trying to calculate when/if she has some kind of nap schedule. Sounds just as normal as any other time-starved sleep-deprived Mom, right? I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Elaine, Aaron and Addison