Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Masters

The Masters Golf tournament is this weekend. That means that a year ago, by the sports calendar, our adventure began.

This is where we started. This is day zero before her first-ever surgery, notice no g-tube....

This is where we ended up:

One year ago, before the golf began, I got ready to cook pancakes and Jimmy Dean sausages. It is funny how the details stick around but I guess that the Breakfast of Champions and Pregnant Ladies has a way of staying in your mind.

I had just started cooking while Abby called the Obstetrician to see whether her symptoms-which included the words fluid and leaking and other words that make guys cringe- were a sign of labor.

Abby came in a few minutes later and told me to drop what I was doing and get ready to go to the hospital. The breakfast, incidentally, finally got cooked a few weeks later at the Ronald McDonald House in New Haven.

I ended up watching the Saturday third round from the hospital chair/bed in Rhode Island while Abby was in the early parts of labor. It was pleasant way to spend an afternoon even if it was a little boring for me since a slow labor is very slow.

Little did I know how many days and nights I would spend in a chair exactly like that one in the coming year.

Abby has much different memories of this part of the adventure and tells me that hearing the announcers on TV makes her want to barf. Since I have never felt contractions or had my cervix examined, I can only imagine what she was feeling as I watched the calm green golf on TV.

A long 24 hours later, I watched the Sunday fourth round in the hellish waiting room of the Yale NICU surrounded by dozens of people (link) while I waited for the surgeon to give us news and for Abby’s ambulance to get her to New Haven.

One very long year after that and I am home watching Tiger Woods do his thing from the friendly ass divot in my favorite rotten chair.

It is odd but it is the golf that really started me thinking about the entire last year. I knew that it would be coming but the golf was the trigger. With a milestone like a first birthday coming up I guess we will be thinking about the last year a lot in the coming days and remembering some of the really dark days that we had in the beginning.

Fortunately we have days like today to contrast against the crappy days.

One trip to Stride Rite today to buy real babygirl shoes:

does a lot to overcome the uncontrollable tears as my Mom forced me to eat breakfast in the lobby at Yale on day one.

Likewise, a weekend like we finally had last weekend makes up for the long string of days that I couldn’t physically talk to any of my siblings to explain what was going on and a period where my sister Kate and I avoided each other entirely for about a week because we both knew that we would be blubbering messes. Sitting on Kate's floor with Ellie a week ago made up for lots....

And even though reading a draft of this post made Abby and I cry, writing blog posts like this one makes up for the first one (link) that I couldn’t read to Abby aloud without sobbing in the hospital room at Yale.

As we learn of other short bowel families using this blog as a source to know a little bit about what to expect, I hope that it gives them a glimpse of the fantastic parts that go along with the crappy parts.

If we had known then that Ellie would be upstairs babbling in her sleep right now and the great progress that our little girl has made, those dark times wouldn’t have been nearly as tough.


kate said...

Cripes, Gib. It's not fair to make me cry at 11:42 on a Saturday night. You have a beautiful girl who, as has so often been the case over the past 364 days, has some stylin' socks.

Happy day 365. I love you all.

Anonymous said...

I didn't cry, but only because I self-medicated partway through when I realized what I was in for. She is glorious. I hope she knows what a big day tomorrow is. Her present will be late, but what's new. Happy Easter! I love you. See you soon

Martha Brogan said...

Even Stride Rites with pink hearts didn't stop the tears- It has been quite a year- Dad and I got to Westerly exactly a year ago, never imagining what was to come. Sometimes it seems like yesterday and another time it seems as tho it was in another life. You 3 have done an amazing job on so many fronts!

Anonymous said...

Martha read the first few paragraphs of this and went to the Lorizapan bottle. I'm not sure why, either. This is the story of three brave people. Sort of like Gilligan and the Captain, ya' know. You said it right, Gib. It's an adventure. Life is an adventure. It's sort of like a game too. The quetion is, how do you play the game?

You three plat the game in such a way that we all want to check and make sure we are of the same species.

Even the pictures of you in church didn't bum me out. Next thing you'll be praying for us, I guess.

Hey, whatever works.