He came into this world a solid 8 weeks too soon.
He called to tell me that she was in labor. She was being transported by ambulance to the university hospital 3 hours away. The baby would be born – there was no stopping it. He was scared.
I told him it would be ok. I told him his little person was much older than my 3. He cried a little over the phone. I told him it would be ok. I promised I would come.
He was born with a healthy weight. No breathing interventions needed. He was able to eat from a bottle after a few days. He needed some help with keeping his body warm and with his high bilirubin count. The physicians warned of a grade I brain bleed that could cause some concerns. Nothing to keep this little man from surviving. Nothing to keep him from living lift to the fullest.
He came home after just a four long weeks in the NICU. He was a little prince living in the castle his mommy and daddy made for him. But things were hard.
She called me asking what she should do. I gave her the number of the local early intervention program. I assured her they would help. And they did.
He had a magnificent physical therapist who led them toward other doctors. Doctors who would help him.
Slowly he progressed. He crawled. He was given a walker that his cousins encouraged him to use. He learned to walk just in time for the wedding of his parents. It was precious. He was to walk his mommy down the aisle… but the stairs were so much more fun. She took it in stride. He was her baby and he could walk up and down the steps on his own. She smiled as she moved gracefully toward his daddy.
Doctors told them he needed braces on his legs. Not Forrest Gump style. No, AFO’s that came up to his mid-calf. They had to find him larger shoes to accommodate the insert into his shoe. They discussed the possibility of Botox injections to help his muscles relax. The diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy was given.
Through time the AFO’s got taller. They crept almost all the way to his knees. He wore knee-high socks in the heat of the summers to protect his legs from the AFO’s. His parents took it in stride, as did he. He knew no different and nothing attached to him could stop him from keeping up with his crazy cousins.
His mommy dreamed of a day when he would no longer need these braces to walk and run. She hoped they would do their job and help him through this developmental challenge.
Sadly his mommy would leave for Heaven before she could see his AFO’s disappear. Still the dream was there.
Last week I received a text from him. My sweet nephew is done with his AFO’s. He will be able to wear sandals, he will be able to play barefoot. He really could care less!
But for my brother-in-law it’s huge. He is beyond thrilled. It is an enormous milestone for both of them.
I only wish my sister was here to celebrate with them. Still I feel her peace and know she is smiling.