1993 to 1999 – Part 4 of Our Story
We took our precious baby home on Halloween 1993. Parenthood began! Michael was early so his sucking mechanism had not been established. I tried, for several days to breastfeed but it did not go well. Finally, we decided that bottle feeding would have to do. This worked great for us because it allowed David to help with Michael at night. He really enjoyed this time with him.
Michael was a good baby. He had to eat frequently so I got to enjoy lots of cuddle time with him. We were lucky that my Grandmother came to visit and ended up staying with us for 4 months. She kept Michael during the day when I went back to work part time.
Since Michael was premature, he was constantly in the 50% percentile for his weight but his head was growing at the normal rate. Our pediatrician at the time, had us convinced that he had hydrocephalus. We went through several tests. We were scared. I cried daily. After trying for so long, “why would God do this”, was my recurring thought. Finally, they sent us to a specialist at Vanderbilt. When we walked in his office he could see the fear on our faces, he didn’t even give us a chance to sit down before stating that he did not understand why we were there. “Your baby is perfectly fine”. I can’t express what a relief that was, I cried again and changed pediatricians that afternoon.
Some highlights of our life during this time:
Ear surgery(ies): When Michael was about 8 months old, we flew to see my Mom in Florida. This was the start of recurring, chronic ear infections for him. Finally when he was about 13 months old, we had tubes put in. After a few days home from the hospital, Michael started talking in full sentences! He would go on to have 3 more surgeries because when the tubes came out, they left a hole in his eardrum. Today he only has about 95% of his hearing in his right ear.
Routines for Michael that he thrived on:
Night time ritual: We would always let Michael know that it was “5 minutes until” bath time, bed time, reading, etc. Each night we would give him a bath, get him ready for bed and read to him. We would take turns putting him down at night, each of us rocking him and singing to him.
In early 1996, we sold our house and purchased a new one closer to David’s parents. In February, I found out that I was pregnant with our second child. We moved into the house knowing that there would be another baby in our life (take that fertility specialist!)
Shaun was born on October 23, 1996. He was a big boy at 7 pounds, 15 oz. So much so that the doctors weren’t sure I could deliver him but I did. I was amazed at how much bigger he was than Michael. David brought Michael to the hospital. Michael immediately loved his brother! They were very sweet together.
Again, we were lucky. My Grandmother came and stayed with us until Shaun was about 6 months old.
I worked part time until Shaun was 2 years old. Then I went back to work full time. I always knew I would work after all, I went to school. My career started in the real estate field and has remained that way through today.
We kept the same type of routines with Shaun as we did with Michael. They both thrived on them.
1999 was a busy year for us. It was our 15th wedding anniversary and we went on a cruise. My Mom and Grandmother came to stay with the boys. We had an amazing time but we missed them terribly. We called from every port.
Michael started kindergarten at St. Edward’s Catholic School. The same place my husband and all his siblings had attended.
Life was humming along for us. We had two amazing boys, good careers and we were happy with our little life. We should have known that life likes to throw curveballs!
We started noticing that David’s Mom was showing signs of memory loss. Since my Mom lived in Florida, we had hoped the boys would be able to have a great relationship with David’s parents but that was not meant to be nor was it meant to be that my Mom would be around to see my boys grow up…
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