Four years ago today, everyone’s eyes were on the Mayan calendar which seemed to be proclaiming the end of the world.
For our family, though, it pretty much WAS the end of our world. Because four years ago Calf #6 was born and our lives changed so drastically that there is no other way to describe it.
Hours after her birth, she developed respiratory distress due to a massive pulmonary hemorrhage. We didn’t understand what was going on or why, we just knew she was in trouble and that it was very, very bad. We immediately changed our plans to include an impromptu stay in The Big City while she was in the NICU there. Our family’s life changed again drastically 12 days later when she and I flew out of state for another 6.5 weeks in their NICU.
It was some weeks after her birth before we knew we’d be able to take our daughter home. And weeks after that trying desperately to get her healthy enough to go home. (I’m sure that if Dante had known about the NICU he would have included this in one of his levels of hell.) Four weeks later she was back hospitalized again, a side effect of the awful stuff that kept her alive early on when she was critically ill and her body’s peculiarities. It was devastating for us.
It was two years after her birth before we finally found out that this pulmonary hemorrhage was NOT just a one time event, that it was recurring, and had recurred nobody knew how many times. And the past two years since then, with test after test after test after test, trying desperately to understand what is going on, why her lungs bleed, and what we can do to stop it and hopefully save her life.
During this time, Calf #6 has grown from a cute “little” 12-pound baby to a fun-loving preschooler who is wild and rambunctious, smart as a whip, outgoing and helpful and energetic and full of life. We can’t imagine our family without her.
We are forever changed by these experiences in many ways: little and big, the blatantly obvious and the not-quite-so-visible. Personally, I still can’t really tolerate Christmas music as that’s ALL we heard while she was in The Big City’s NICU (and even on January 1 as we were preparing to life flight her out of state!) Particularly cannot stand that song, “I’ll be home for Christmas.” So, so many tears.
The journey has been long and arduous and frustrating and amazing. There have been so, so many people over the past four years who have loved and supported and helped and prayed for our family. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve lost contact with so many, being unable to keep up with life these past four years.
But thank you all for following Calf #6’s journey and keeping up with us. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. (And forgive us for not keeping in touch better!)