certain things are just hard to swallow.
It's been a while since I've actually mentioned anything about Elliott's health, although, if you follow me on Facebook you'd know I took Elliott to a rather lengthy doctor's appointment to the Cranio-Facial Clinic last week. Like many of the specialists visits, I felt this particular appointment was a bit more of a pain in the ass than it was productive, watching the plastic surgeon feel the roof of Elliott's mouth for a non-existent problem with his palette and talking to the ENT doctor about "scoping" Elliott's airway in a few weeks... (um, hi? Have you seen my bump? This is not a beer, gut, lady, there's a baby in there making her way out any day now, you ain't scoping nothin' in a few weeks). All the concerns I actually mentioned to the (four) doctors I saw that day were brushed off, meanwhile they continued to probe me with questions about his eating habits, his hearing, his swallowing... all of which, coming from the person that sees Elliott everyday, appear to be normal and doing fantastically.
But then, there's that cardiology appointment I scheduled months ago, for the beginning of my maternity leave... hoping baby Sweet P wouldn't come too early so we could have this appointment and be done with it. Minds at ease for a few more months, with the comfort of knowing Elliott's heart is doing fine and that we can forget for a few more months that Elliott actually has a heart condition, just like the months that followed his last three appointments with his cardiologist.
Unfortunately, this time, though, Elliott's appointment was a bit different.
Elliott's heart was functioning well, yes, for someone who was born without a major artery and had it repaired by a piece of artificial material at the age of three months. But, as expected, the conduit is starting to narrow, increasing the pressure gradients and making his heart work harder. This was not unexpected, that at some point the conduit would narrow and surgery would need to be performed, again, but I didn't think we'd need to address this kind of thing so soon. Has it already been 10 months since Elliott's heart had been repaired? It had, and while we aren't looking at surgery quite yet, we are having to plan a visit to the cath lab so that the conduit can be ballooned and a stent can be placed. A night or two in the hospital, away from home, putting my sweet boy under... the cardiologist feels that while it's not completely urgent, it does need to happen in the next four or five months.
As someone who has had a lot to swallow in the last year, having a baby, hearing a diagnosis and going through the pain of surgery and recovery for said baby, then finding out about an unplanned pregnancy... it should be no surprise to be that Elliott's heart heath would require intervention again. When Elliott recovered from surgery, his heart condition did not simply go away, in spite of the fact that many times it had started to feel like it did. I can't ignore the fact that Elliott has an artificial conduit in his heart, keeping his flow of oxygen in it's happy place.
I guess what I really need to swallow now is the fact that things are not what they used to be. In chasing my 13-month old heart baby around the house, feeling more exhausted than he is half the time in my last two weeks of maternity leave, I was thinking back to the time we didn't have any kids. We spent money on nice dinners and clothes for ourselves whenever our hearts desired. Now: formula, diapers, medial expenses are having us keep our finances in check. Nap times, meals, and basic toddler needs is keeping our life in check. Things will only intensify when baby Sweet P gets here and Elliott's health issues aren't going to go away just because things will be extra hectic in our household. I don't even want to think about what it will be like when I have to return to work in a few months. Life as a parent doesn't stop, life as a parent only gets crazier the older your child gets.
What I've learned from all of this is that it just isn't about me anymore. When Taylor and I decided to have a baby we didn't have any idea of the road that lay ahead of us, but we knew our lives together was lacking children. We knew there was more to our marriage than just each other. And now, we have two more mouths to feed, and at many times I feel like my life no longer belongs to me. I guess that is the way it's supposed to be. It's not about me, and really, it's not about what I want anymore... my "wants" in life have changed. It's about Elliott and baby Sweet P, and really, I just want what's best for them.
This week, I've spent a lot less time preparing my Etsy shop (as I mentioned last week) and more time preparing for the new baby. I've installed convertible car seats in both of our cars and washed Elliott's (old) infant seat so the new baby can use it. I've got my hospital bag (and Elliott's bag for his slumber party with Grammy) partially packed. My to-do list and shopping list for last-minute things is a mile long, meanwhile I am trying to get our financial house in order so that we can ignore it for a few weeks. So here we go, life. Don't stop. In spite of everything, including the hard-to-swallow things... we are ready for you.