Well today is a little landmark for our baby boy – it is exactly 3 months since his life saving open heart surgery. Like lots of the life changing events I have experienced, in some ways that day seems like yesterday, in other ways it already seems like a long time ago. I describe 3 months as a landmark as we were advised to wait 3 months after surgery before picking him up under his arms, before then we would have to cradle him in our arms and ‘scoop’ him up rather than lifting him straight up. This is because his sternum needed time to heal, they cut through it for the surgery and it is then held together with wires while the bone fuses back together – the wires remain there though and no, it wont make him set off alarms at airports apparently!
So when the consultants explained this to us, I didn’t think it was that big a deal – we just had to remember to hold him in a specific way. However, it has really surprised me how much of an impact this had on our handling of baby boy. At the start, there was always that feeling of having to stop and think before picking him up, my heart would skip a beat the times I almost picked him up the wrong way through habit. Then of course, it became second nature, but remained a constant reminder of his fragile state, of all that he had been through. I think it has not helped us in our journey to establish breastfeeding (sheesh… the breastfeeding – thats a post in itself) I was always nervous to manoeuvre him too much, imaging these tiny bones jerking around out of position – I’m sure it doesn’t really happen like that, I still have a pretty poor understanding of anatomy!
Anyway, the day has come where we tentatively tried picking up our baby boy under his little chubby arms, holding him upright against us, allowing a little pressure on his miraculous chest. I cowardly made my husband have a try first, still worried that baby boy would yelp out in pain – of course he didnt and just looked at us with his usual bemused dribbly grin!
So the fun can now begin – tummy time, chest to chest snoozes, holding him outstretched and making him giggle. More than anything, its a helpful shift in our perception of him as a delicate little thing, moving on to seeing a more robust chap that we can cuddle with a bit more confidence. Onwards he goes, moving speedily along that road of recovery – its a remarkable journey to witness.