Wednesday, September 5, 2018

NOT MY SUFFERING

Hello son!


Morning sickness, dizzy spells and a labour that went on for more than twenty hours could not prepare me for what the doctor told us on the third day after Singlet was born. “Your son has a murmur in his heart”. Its loud enough such that you could hear it if you put your ear against his back. A dull thump, an extra beat akin to someone clapping off rhythm during a song.

Heart murmurs were common enough, apparently I had one as an infant and mine closed naturally. So naturally I don’t even recall ever having one, my parents tell me it barely affected me at all. But the cardiologist who did an ultrasound on Singlet’s heart measured the gap to be 4.98mm, a staggering size for a child who was only 3.5kg and 53cm in length. What could this imply? Well several things.

The potential of an overworked heart meant it could become enlarged over time. A swollen lung, because of the leakage of de-oxygenated blood into the lung chamber. In the worst-case scenario, he would require open heart surgery. Were there any alternative types of surgery? Not in his case, no. The position of the hole, right under the septal flap meant it needed direct intervention.

Getting over the shock of the news was one thing, dealing with symptoms was a whole other tricky situation. He has been on medication since he turned three-weeks-old. He takes two doses a day, the medication is meant to alleviate breathlessness by removing excess fluid built up in his swollen lung. This translates into more thirst and therefore more feeds. Additionally, this extra effort required while breathing makes drinking milk tiring and so he often has to take breaks every few minutes else he might choke and at times he just falls asleep panting mid-feed. Post-feed sees him breathless, panting, as if he as run a 100m sprint. This too means more feeds a day, we are talking about 10 to 12 feeds where the average infant does 5 to 8.

Sure, its tough having to feed that many times a day. But honestly, watching him struggle to catch his breath is worst. Seeing him throw up after putting in all that effort to drink is all the more painful. The real suffering is not parenting, not sleepless night, not constant fatigue. The real suffering lies in the fact that the suffering is not mine, but his and that I cannot bear it for him.

Moving forward?

We are praying the hole closes spontaneously and that he will be spared surgery. But we are also doing all we can to gear him up should the need for surgery become a reality. He now weighs nearly 5kg and is going into his sixth week. We are beyond happy that he decided to join our little threesome and our family is now more complete than ever with us four. And we savour each and every day with one another because everyday is a miracle.

Thank you for journeying with us, asking us for updates and sending us so much love and encouragement. Parenting a newborn is no easy task, but each day's struggles translates into another day of growth and another day of hope.

Grateful,
Amy

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