...and quite a year at that. Over the holidays, as I prepared my 2012 best of posts, reviewing my high and low points of the year, I found myself in a funk. Really unable to think about my favorite things until I'd sorted out the crazyness that was last year. What follows has nothing to do with books, geekyness or any of the fun stuff. It's probably the most serious I will be this year. I'm indulging myself a bit.
2012 was an insane year for me and my family. Other than a welcome to the world of skin cancer (I'm OK! Just a proud wearer of hats along with buckets of sunscreen), we welcomed a new little future reader to the group, but her start was more than a bit rocky.
About a year ago we found out that our baby was going to need surgery soon after birth and would be spending an indeterminate amount of time in the NICU. I don't think I can ever put into words what this felt like. Sitting there as the doctors tell you the news, expecting just to hear if we're having a boy or girl, and then getting hit with a bombshell. And I know it could have been worse. The little pamphlet they gave us had some very terrifying information on other disorders. I actually think this piece, "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley sums it up when you look at the experience as a whole.
Several things happened in our favor - for one, both the hubs and I were on the same page with what to do. There were several different decisions to make, and if we had been arguing about each one that would have made a hard time a million times worse. We also have a great supportive group of family and friends. Also, we chose our doctors well and got hooked up with a rockstar surgeon who is one of the best in our area. It was scary, but knowing that she was in good hands made a huge difference.
We actually didn't spend a lot of time pouring over the internet, trying to ferret out the tiniest detail, the most obscure treatment. For one, and this is probably the most important, her prognosis was actually pretty decent. They try not to get your hopes up too much, because there were risks, but largely the chances that she would live a full, fairly normal life were good. The other is that I am not new to the internets and I know that if I searched I would just find horror story upon horror story and no thank you.
Being in the NICU is not fun, but it also wasn't the worst thing in the world. Many days I felt like a hamster spinning nonstop in a wheel and going nowhere. But, I was there daily, saw that she had wonderful nurses and doctors and that she was improving, even if it was slower than we would have liked.
Can I just send a ginormous THANK YOU to nurses everywhere. You are the backbone of the medical profession, Without you it would be chaos. There are not enough words to express my gratitude.
I also have to say that I think it was in my favor that I had done the mom thing before, so I was not as intimidated by going into the NICU and caring for my baby under the watchful eyes of the nursing staff. We also got to tour the NICU before baby was born, so we had a good idea of what to expect. While we were there, a couple came in whose child was undergoing a similar procedure. The nurse asked if they could see my daughter so they would have some idea of what to expect. I agreed. It had helped me, and I hope that their tour helped them.
The day we got to go home was probably the most nerve-wracking. We had been looking forward to it so much, and there was this fear that at any moment someone would come by and say, No, something has changed, you're staying another day. I don't think I really breathed until we were finally on the freeway.
When you look at my little girl, you would see probably one of the happiest babies you've ever encountered. She smiles, she tries to engage other people, she laughs at her big sis and bro, she snuggles, she babbles, she love to read (oh yes, she loves her books), and most of the time, we don't really think about how this whole journey started. I know we are lucky in that. Of course, there are still challenges. I have discovered that babies have physical therapy, and while I always thought that early intervention was obviously a good idea, I am now a fighter for it. Overall though, we are happy, together, and moving forward.
While some knew what was going on with my family, for the most part, I kept pretty quiet. Mostly for the completely selfish reason that I needed a space where I didn't have to discuss what was going on in my life. Where I could talk about books, escape into fantastical worlds, all of the fun stuff that first made me write a review (as crappy as that first review was). So, even though you didn't know it, you helped me through a very difficult time, so I thank you. Thank you for chatting with me about books, sharing your favorite reads, understanding when I went a few weeks without a post. This has been a lifeline. I will always appreciate it.
And now back to our normally scheduled programming - kick ass action, amazing characters, awesome worlds, and the readers who love them.