Happy 1st Birthday Corrigan. What a year it has been. I have struggled with how to write up this birthday post for nearly a month now. It is hard to tell you about the past year without talking about the hard stuff but people do not call you “tank” without good reason. You can handle things. Anything, really. One day, when you look at mommy’s blog I want you to know that I was honest…and it was hard…but baby, it was worth it. YOU are worth it…every single bit of it.
On May 28, 2008 we were thrilled to finally meet you. You were so small (yet kind of weighty!) and you were angry from the minute you were born. The first glimpse I had of you was from across the operating room and I only saw your butt and a glimpse of reddish blonde hair. I told your daddy that you looked just like Uncle Daniel…and boy, you were making a ruckus. Everybody commented on your frown line and the way that, after quieting down, you stared hard at people, almost taking them in and studying them.
…and then you sort of went away a bit. You would not open your eyes and you seemed uncomfortable…and a few days later mommy’s instincts ( and the keen eye of Dr. Jackie! ) thought that something was really wrong. Who knew that, at that very moment, an ugly invader was building up in your perfect little body. Who knew that in a few hours everything would change so quickly.
Corrigan, you gave us quite the scare. There were some really dark moments in the days following your birth…there were moments of optimism as well but mainly due to ignorance at what we were facing…and the most frightening moment of my life, the moment that will forever haunt me, is when they told me that you might not live…that your little body might not be able to fight long enough to win this battle…and then they put you in a helicopter and took you away from me. Standing in the parking lot, feeling the deep bass of the medevac’s wings rotating and hearing you lift off from that rooftop nearly did me in. To this day, the sound of a helicopter makes me cry. (and Aunt Erica too…one day, when you were very sick and in the P.I.C.U , Erica and I stood on a Baltimore street corner and cried, holding each other tightly as some other poor soul was dropped off in a medevac…it was too much and it still is)
…but Corrigan, you fought hard. There are ammonia numbers written in a notebook (tucked away in a box that I am not yet ready to open again) that meant very little to us then…620….740…that we now realize should have brought us to our knees. Perhaps that the second hospital you were sent to, the fact that they knew little of what you were suffering from or how to fix it, allowed us to feel a hope that we wouldn’t have felt if we would have known what 740…and climbing by the minute….meant.
We had to make tough choices 12 months ago. We had to give permission for a procedure that had rarely been done on infants your age. A procedure that was taking place while Daddy and I were racing towards your third hospital…just praying that God would keep you here, on Earth, long enough for us to get there to kiss you before you might leave us. I held your Aunt Erica and your Grandma, before we left, and asked them, if you left us, to please make sure everything was was gone from the house that was yours…before we returned. I didn’t know Faith the way I know it now Corrigan. YOU showed me Faith.
You pulled through Corrigan. You showed them who was the boss of YOU. Not Citrullinemia…not that day…no way. You fought hard to come out from under that blanket of silence, from under the medicines that kept you sedated, from whatever that nasty ammonia had done…and you have shown us how tough one little baby can be.
Ten hospitalizations total. Two helicopter rides….8 ambulance rides…hundreds of needle sticks, hemodialysis and surgery to install your medi-port…YOU are one amazing kid. Through it all you are smiling. Oh, you still frown and study people…but you still manage to smile in a way that makes my heart still skip a bit, even after seeing it a thousand times.
“They” said that there would be ramifications from such high ammonia’s…we were given grim outlooks on how you would develop. The internet, my goodness Corrigan whatever you do when faced with a medical dilemma do NOT Google it, told us that we would bury you before your 2nd birthday. We read statistics that could cause a person to give up hope…but then you smile at us..and you work so hard that you no longer need physical therapy….and your occupational therapist is thrilled to tell us that you are meeting every.single. milestone…and we know that you are special, sweet baby. God didn’t bring you this far for no good reason. God has a purpose for you…and you know what it is. I believe that in those days when you were here in body…but deep in sleep and unable to respond…that your conversations with God told you many things. I pray that you will live every single year of your life fulfilling the purpose…I pray that you will honor and glorify the Lord with your life. No matter how long that might be.
Twelve months ago we welcomed you into this world with tears and hugs and many many kisses. We were overjoyed to meet you and marveled at the wonderful creation that God had made. Perfect.
Even now, after watching you struggle to return from the fog of Citrullinemia those first few weeks and the ensuing hardships of your disorder, we feel the same way. Perfect.
God made you the way you were meant to be. I do not know why. I struggle to understand ( with my human mind/reasoning) the reasons you suffer but I know that you were wonderfully made by the Creator ( who does nothing by accident!) and given to us to love and adore. I am so thankful to have you here to celebrate your first birthday. You have had one heck of a year, little C…but you handled it so amazingly well. You inspire me to be better, to be stronger and to love harder. Every single day. I love you Corrigan. Love always, Mommy.