Sunday, January 20, 2008

Number 10, for Buddy

Tomorrow, my first baby - my 2lb, 5oz. 3 months early preemie - will be 10 years old. Hard to believe. We had no clue if he'd even survive those first few days. Not only did he survive, but he did very well. And, after 2 and half years of early intervention and therapies, he's grown to be a very typical child.

His eye were damaged - it's called Retinopathy of Prematurity - where the blood vessels grow all haywire and needed laser surgery to prevent blindness. He has worn glasses since he was 18 months old, but hey, it could have been MUCH worse. He is smart, funny and since he does look like his mommy, a very handsome young man as well (Tee hee).

He had his very best friend spend the night last night. We started off by having dinner at Shoney's, then came home for presents and cake. After that, we watched "The Simpson's Movie" - which was a BIG deal. See, we don't allow him to watch the TV show, but he really wanted to see the movie. His best friend did too. We discussed it with his parents (a couple I would describe as some of our closest friends) and they were okay with it, too. There were only a few moments that I wished hadn't been included, but I'm not going to post spoilers, so see it for yourself!

The boys stayed up ALL night. When Sissy woke up this morning, they came to the dining room for breakfast and went back to Buddy's room to play more games (I woke up at some odd point in the early AM and they were playing chess). After I had a shower, I noticed that it was really quiet in Buddy's room, so I peeked in and they were both in bed, fast asleep. LOL. (around noon!). They slept 'til 3:30 - I had to get them up and while groggy, they managed to stay up.

Believe it or not, this is the first year - a decade - that I have not had maddening anxiety as his birthday approached. It's a hard thing to get over - seeing your baby in an isolette with IVs sticking out of his head, belly button and feet, tubes down his nose and a respirator breathing for him. Wondering if he'd suffer long term mental or physical problems.

I keep this poem on hand and read it every so often.

Jefferey's Poem
By Garrison Keillor

When I first saw you, kid, you were tiny and thin,
And slimy and red and your head was mushed in,
I says to your mother, "He looks kind of sloppy,
And two pounds four ounces ain't big for a crappie."

But something about you, the look in your eyes,
Said you fully intended to grow to full size,
They slapped your backside and you let out a cry,
And I said, "We will keep him, at least we shall try."

Some babies are born in nine months, by the clock,
Some babies are born, and they sit up and talk,
Some babies are born, and no doctor is there.
Some babies are born, on a wing and a prayer.

Poor little fetus, as big as your hand,
Poor little fish thrown up on dry land,
Who came in April, though he had till July,
Too small to live and too precious to die.

They shipped you downstairs to the big Neonatal
Intensive Care Unit's computerized cradle
And attached you to wires and stuck you with tubes
Monitored closely by digital cubes.

And thanks to the latest neonatal therapeusis
And regular basting with greases from gooses
And hot chicken soup intravenously fed
You did not fade away, you grew up instead.

We'll always remember those months that you spent
With tubes in your head in the oxygen tent
And the mask on your face with the wires attached,
Sweet little boy who was only half-hatched.

I'm sure you'll grow up to mature and extend,
To six feet six inches and become a tight end,
But I'll always remember each doctor and nurse in
The NICU who helped make you a person,
The kid who crash landed, who was carried away,
Who survived it, this bundle we bring home today.


  1. Congratulations, and Happy Birthday, Buddy!

  2. Oh geeze. I'm all sobby and crying and stuff. Happy Birthday Buddy, that's a great poem too!

  3. That poem made me cry. What a wonderful happy ending for you all. Happy Birthday, Buddy!

  4. Happy Birthday, Buddy! I am glad you thrived!

    Our twin grandson was a bit preemie;had lung problems and had to stay in the hospital for a week. You are so right about the tubes and wires and stuff sticking out of and into the abby. It is very hard to see. Our boy is now 11 and as healthy as can be!

  5. Happy birthday, big guy!

    And congratulations to Mama on a low-anxiety day. We needs more of those, I think.

  6. Happy Birthday, Buddy! (even if I am late)

    I love that poem!! You know, we know the NICU experience well. I can't imagine having the frame of mind to write such a true-to-life and wonderful piece.

    Here's to many more anxiety-free birthdays and a whole bunch of times when you'll say, "can you believe how far he's come?"

  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY!!! Everyone enjoy!

  8. Crying here, thankyouverymuch. But I wish Buddy the happiest of birthdays. I'm so happy he is healthy now and keeping you up all night!!! Happy Birthday to him!

  9. No, you all aren't late - his birthday is today - the 21st. Thanks for all the bday wishes.

  10. What a lovely tribute to your son....I get the Buddy nick name I think.

  11. Happy Birthday to your "little" man! Have you seen yet? I think that Nathan and Tricia would like to hear your little one's story.

  12. Happy Belated Birthday Buddy! COngratulations on ten years.

  13. I love that poem! And congrats to ALL of you for Buddy's survival :)

  14. Found your blog through Donutbuzz and was moved by this entry. My daughter, too, is an (ex?)premie, and that Garrison Keillor poem always made me feel a little less alone during the first hard year. I remember her first birthday and how hard it was for me to feel celebratory because that day had been soooo hard the year before nd how I still wished her birthday were in September instead of July. This year, she's turning six, and she's going to have her first sleepover.