Tonight I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. A little part of me feels a bit silly writing that but you know what fuck it! I think I deserve to feel this way. This morning we attended Oli's 12 month developmental assessment. This is routine for babies who were premature or spent time in the NICU for whatever reason. I felt a little nervous, as you do before any kind of test. It was as if my 'work' was being assessed! Every little thing that I had put into Oli over the past 12 months was being inspected in the form of his developmental abilities.
We were laughing yesterday about having a cram session all night and trying to boost Oli's IQ for the big day today. As we were talking I looked over to Oli who had the TV remote in one hand, chewing on an old piece of toast he found on the floor and trying to break into my lame attempt at baby-proofing with masking tape on the cupboards. As Ian and I said "No Oli, come here" He simply looked up at us and returned to what he was doing. Instant FAIL at following commands! But hey at least he understood and was just being mischievous? Instant FAIL! Cannot follow instructions...! Oh god I thought, Oli you are going to make us look like fools.
If theres something I have learnt about being an outpatient it's to be prepared. In an environment where anything is possible it's best to cover all bases. I'm talking food, water, toys, nappies, wipes, blankets, spare change of clothes, the kitchen sink and phones because it's a jungle in there and you have no idea when you will get out! Trust me you do not want to be in the position we found ourselves in a few weeks back. The smell of the poo started wafting into the front of the car as we zoomed through the tunnel nearing the hospital. After 15 minutes trying to find a park we face the beast and get Oli out of his car seat and into the pram for the big change. With Ian providing the nappy and wipes I'm the lucky candidate who has to deal with this poo first hand. Yes literally FIRST HAND! There was poo all over my hands, the pram, through Oli's shorts up his back. It's not often that I think my marriage is really in trouble, but I can assure you as I was chasing shitty wipes down the roads of Subi with Oli screaming half way out of his pram and Ian yelling "What the FUCK are you doing, you are USELESS!" I was secretly planning my divorce. The moral of the story is, take EVERYTHING with you to important appointments. They probably didn't even care but taking Oli inside in a nappy and a spare singlet that was three sizes too small for him doesn't win you mother of the year award.
Back to this morning, everything was just going right for us. We snagged the best car park money could buy, we even had time to walk to the coffee shop for a drink. As we entered the outpatients department the familiar somewhat sickening smell of alcohol gel hit me. It instantly took me back to the NICU and I got goosebumps. There were at least 30 kids playing and waiting for appointments in the small waiting room where we sat. A few weeks prior we waited about 3 hours for our appointment. I had just nestled into my plastic chair for the big wait when Oli's name was called! In we went to weigh Oli, the little bugger is 9970g. He is HONESTLY killing me! What is it going to take to get him to that 10kg mark!!! I have been lacing his food with every type of fat you can imagine for months now. Damn that gastro bug we all had last week. After he was weighed we waited for about 5 minutes and were straight in to see the doctor, this is completely unheard of in the world of hospitals.
I was so pleasantly surprised with the lovely doctor we had. An older lady, she was just beautiful. So kind and really interested in our lives. Nothing like the nazi I was expecting! Oli played so well and all of his developmental abilities got the big tick of approval. Well almost all of them, when he was asked to put the toys back in the bucket he threw them on the floor and cackled. I think most babies do this though, as its just the funnest game in the world watching mum pick up the same thing over and over! The doctor asked me if I had any concerns and I mentioned Oli's speech. He says a few words - Mama, mummy, mum, daddy, dada, dog, whassthat, no, there. Until I listed them to the doctor I hadn't really realised how much he does say. She reassured me that he was ABOVE average for his age. Well wasn't I proud then!
Since Oli was born I always prepare myself for the worst. I think this is what happens when you get bad news. You suddenly become accustomed to receiving information that you really don't want to hear. I was expecting there to be a list as long as my arm of things we had to do for Oli to get him up to speed for his corrected age. Today this was not the case! I should have known really, Oli is going at a million miles an hour lately. He has started to RUN, yes not just walk but run away from me. He's just perfect and tonight I'm so proud of him!
I'm also proud of myself and of Ian! For the past 2 weeks Oli has woken every night at 3am screaming inconsolably and ends up in our bed for the rest of the night. He screams and tosses and turns and we wake up with his feet digging into my back and his head right under Ian's armpit. We stagger out of our room every morning and say to each other 'last night was so shit!' Just when we feel like life is really crap this happens. A little win. Something to tell us 'hey you are not doing bad at all!' We had this baby who had such a rough start to life but now he is thriving, healthy and oh so determined. We are doing okay! More than okay we are winning at life! Today anyway...ask me in the morning and I might give you a different answer.