That is what life finally seems. Sibling quarrels over whether to watch Shrek or Doc McStuffins, negotiations about how many veggies need to be consumed off the dinner plate, dishes, laundry, changing diapers, arguments over weather appropriate attire, Sunday eggs, bacon and church and even an hour of TV on the couch with Eddie while all three littles were asleep. This is the normal I was hoping for last weekend as we ventured off to dinner on Friday night but my water broke signaling the beginning of "our next hurdle" given what we were told was imminent with Henry's ureters. While there are still some balls up in the air about what exactly will happen with Henry as he has some more tests this coming Wednesday, we got a week to adjust and bring him home "healthy" and a weekend of "ordinary." After William's ordeal, the "birth/Henry" hurdle was a 2.5 on the Richter Scale and we are confident that whatever the future of Henry's situation holds it will be completely manageable.
Normal is what I think Eddie and I have been longing for since this all began and there were times when everything seemed so chaotic, we wondered if life would never be normal again. For so long it felt as though William's wounds would always be open and painful, that we would always be doing daily dressing changes and hearing him cry out, "I'm all done, I'm all done!" from the moment we would start. We went back to the hospital for burn clinic on Friday and the doctor told us that the dressing changes are over. For two weeks, he is to wear normal clothes and take a bath as a normal 2 year old. The only challenges are his lotion massages on the burn sites 3-4 times a day and the sunscreen and hats he needs the moment he walks out of the house and eventually the special "shirt" he will be fitted for and wear 24/7 to hold the grafts in place. I'll take them...and I think he is quite relieved as well. Endless it seemed I would be living in a hospital but in the scheme of things, the 15 nights I spent drifting off to the noise of IV alarms and Shrek were not really that long given the situation. Now that I am home for good and in my bed it all seems a distant memory. On Monday I resume my normal routine of having two...well now three kids out of the house by 8am followed by groceries, dance class runs, doctor's appointments, "am I really out of toilet paper already," and "what am I going to put on the table for dinner?" dilemmas. I never thought I would actually crave this routine so badly.
It's funny...last Friday night, after we had rushed to the hospital "because third babies come fast" only to find out I was only 1 cm dilated and was sent out "walking," I found myself seated across from Eddie while we scarfed down stale turkey sandwiches. I was thinking, "wow, life actually seems normal - just me and Eddie together having a normal conversation over dinner on a Friday night." Somehow I wasn't focused on amniotic fluid or the contractions I was having or how delivery would go. William had let me leave without a blink and knowing he and Catherine were tucked in under a roof with both sets of grandparents, for the first time in weeks I wasn't worried about either of them. I was in labor and again in a hospital setting, but for a while the dust seemed to settle, my shoulders relaxed down my back and everything seemed calm in this stolen moment. Don't get me wrong, reality soon set in when my labor didn't progress and my fear of repeating the Cesarian I had with Catherine was brought to the surface at the insistence of Pitocin. I was so terrified that I managed 9 hours of my 19 hour labor riding the waves of artificial contractions without more than my IPod and a few back rubs until I was 8 cm dilated and could no longer bear it. "Restful" after this was the pain free 40 minutes where the epidural actually worked (after not working with Catherine or after two tries with William) and I drifted off before I was able to push Henry out in three tries. "Relieving" was the moment Henry was placed on my chest after having suffered two miscarriages and almost losing him before Progesterone kept him snug inside of me for 39 weeks and 3 days. "Miraculous" was when Henry peed all over me after I was told that his urinary tract wasn't working properly and he would need an immediate surgery.
I think that while I have grasped at reclaiming "normal" since William's accident occurred, now that we are settled back at home as a family, I am realizing that I haven't been normal since the first miscarriage that knocked the breath out of me last April 12th, 2012. I think it took William's four hour skin graft surgery taking place on the 12th day in April of 2013 for me to acknowledge this. The collision of these two events exactly a year apart brought me to the lowest I have ever been in my life. Since then, the fears, anxiety and guilt I have carried has slowly lifted as I navigate my life with both of my boys on the road to recovery and eventually perfectly healthy - because they both will be. Yes, finally, life feels normal...or maybe normal isn't the word. Perhaps given its abundance of blessings it can never be normal again and I will never be the same again. Now I see the love that surrounds me in so many ways and I think that my life now is extraordinary given its capacity for so much love and so many blessings.