Ten little fingers and ten curly toes…it’s one thing that every mother does when her bundle of joy is placed into her arms. It’s natural, an instinct, although had there been an extra one or perhaps one less, her love would remain unchanged.
Our little ones are perfect. Our love unconditional…it’s something I finally understood when I had my own. From the day he was born, I was irrevocably smitten by him, would do anything for him. I went from me, me, me to placing the wants, needs, and life of a babe that fit into my hands before my very own without a single regret.
No mother likes to see her child suffer, and no mother wants a “label,” a limitation, placed upon her child. For those that know me and have followed this blog way back know how we rose above those challenges early on from severe postpartum depression and six long months of colic to nine months of acid reflux that required little man to be held upright anywhere from 30-45 minutes to sometimes an hour after each feeding and several food and environmental allergies.
From the moment we took him home from the hospital, it was clear to us that Alejandro inherited not only his papi’s stubbornness but also the stubbornness from mami too. Funny, because he slept perfectly fine in the hospital ward. :/ Man, I bet our parents were doing the “Uh-huh, now you have a taste of your own medicine.” No, in all seriousness, our family and our close neighbors were God-sent (you know who you are), and we knew how lucky we were to be surrounded and enveloped by such love and support.
The day he was born I knew I lived for little man. Whatever he chooses in life, he’ll grow up knowing that mami and papi are in his corner, supporting him all the way.
Since he was a wee babe, we’ve also fought numerous viral infections that always seemed to hit little man harder than other babes his age. He always kept colds twice as long, always developed secondary infections because of them, always spent fall/winter/spring on a nebulizer. His pediatrician threw around the term “asthma,” so we went to another one, who shortly afterwards would soon throw it out as well. We’d continue this pattern through at least five pediatricians, all labeling him as having “chronic airway disease.” Disease…isn’t a disease progressive, I thought? Upon research, I saw where this was going.
So for the past year, we’ve turned our heads and closed our ears, not wanting to hear what any pediatrician or GP had to say. We tuned them out and along came spring. Alejandro’s colds disappeared, so did his ear infections, bronchial infections, etc.
…then came fall.
Little man has spent the past three weeks struggling to overcome a cold and a persistent cough that got so bad, he was unable to sleep. Fast-forward to yesterday…little man’s coughing became so bad, he threw up several times and appeared to be “holding” his breath in between coughs, his color just a mite off. We took him to urgent care, and the doctor, upon listening to his chest, furrowed his brow. He checked him several more times, raising my suspicions that this wasn’t an ordinary cold. Then, more tests and three breathing treatments. After checking him again, he turned to us and said Alejandro had been having an asthma attack and that what we thought was Alejandro just “holding” his breath was Alejandro not able to take a complete breath. There was that word again, asthma.
The doctor took his time explaining to us what asthma was, how it presented itself in children this young, and letting us know that it wasn’t due to anything that we did. He placed his bets on the numerous infections and secondary, respiratory infections that he had over his young lifespan, as neither papi nor mami has asthma.
The treatments they did helped quite a bit, and his oxygen level went up, enough so that we could go home, digest the information and sift through the prescriptions given to us. Lucky for us, Alejandro’s asthma is mild. By this morning, it was clear the doctor was indeed correct. Alejandro woke up like his old self again, his color just right, a twinkle in his eyes.
The diagnosis is bittersweet. Bitter because deep down, we both knew what it was, yet neither of us wanted to believe it. Bitter because we were so focused on “labels” that we were blind to his previous attacks. Sweet because we finally had an answer for why he always kept colds so much longer than other kids his age and why every cold led to an inevitable secondary infection, which led to rounds and rounds of antibiotics. Sweet because nothing more serious ever happened. Blessed watching his chest lift softly and evenly without effort, as he sleeps….one arm hugging his favorite blankie, the other his “KoKo” train. Blessed knowing, that despite what we consider to be “big” things in our world, we know that we are fortunate, beyond belief, to have a healthy, little boy, who still gets to do all the things he loves.
The day [he] was born was the happiest day in [his] parents’ lives.
“[He’s] perfect,” said [his] mother.
“Absolutely,” said [his] father.
And [he] was.
[He] was absolutely perfect. –based on Chyrsanthemum by Keith Henkes