Louise has reached the grand old age of two months. It seems to me like much longer, her birth seems so long ago. When she was discharged from hospital, our main instruction was to get weight on her and after a slow start she’s chubbying up nicely and now has cute little chipmunk cheeks and is starting to get little baby fat rolls on her thighs. We had to bring her back to the hospital a few times to have the wound from the chest drain looked at but after a few weeks on two different antibiotics it’s looking well now and healing nicely as is the operation scar. They’ll use the same spot for each of her operations so she’ll ultimately only have the one scar and babies heal so well it should look fine.
On Monday we had Louise’s outpatient appointment with her cardiologist. I really appreciate the fact that our drive to the hospital is so short, especially outside rush hour. I overheard another parent telling someone they’d been up at 4.30am that morning to drive from another part of the country to make the appointment. I wasn’t waiting too long but I’ve always enjoyed people watching, be it in airports, shopping centres and now children’s cardiac clinics. Without being rude and staring (I hope) I observed this mixed group of parents, all different backgrounds, from every corner of the country, young, medium (and even one couple I wondered perhaps they were the grandparents, but then again, maybe not) I looked at one couple, the husband handsomely dressed in a finely cut suit and expensive shoes, his wife well turned out and baby sitting in her top of the range buggy. Beside them a mother more ordinarily dressed sitting with her young teenage son, probably coming to the end of his stint in the children's hospital, soon to be transferred to the care of an adult's hospital. Sitting next to me was a young Mum playing rock paper scissors with a little boy of about three, he won each round as he'd wait until his mother had shown her hand then ponder carefully before making his move. On my other side was a cute little girl with Down's Syndrome chuckling away to her doting parents. It struck me as poignant that thing each of these different families have in common with each other and with me is a little broken heart that needs repaired. I'm sure none of these parents ever thought it would be them either and like me would have driven past this hospital in a past life with nothing more than an abstract thought and brief pang of sympathy. Maybe we might have even passed each other in a crowd, or passed one of the doctors who would later save their child's life. Life is funny.
When our turn came I brought Louise into the doctor's room. The minute he saw her he said she looked great and commented that she was really alert and interactive! He got a few smiles out of her, which was a compliment as she only distributes a limited number each day!! I suppose he sees so many children he can make a pretty immediate judgment just from the look and colour of the child. I was delighted at that. He went on then to do an echo and said he was really pleased that the band is working very well. He weighed her then and was also pleased with her weight gain. He's prescribed something to help her keep down her feeds as she's a pretty colicky baby and said she could drop the iron supplement just now as it's probably causing part of her discomfort. To be honest, tummy discomfort seems to be Louise's biggest issue just now, though she could have been like that even if she'd not had surgery or any other condition. I think babies settle more at about 3 months of age.
The course of action the doctor proposed is to do a heart mri and when that's reviewed he'll discuss with the surgeon when they would schedule Louise's surgery. Since we already had an appointment for Louise's brain mri he said he'd contact them and change the date to coincide with the heart one and do both at the same time. I now have that date 29th June ( Rebecca's 14th birthday) . She'll have a general anaesthetic now for it instead of just sedation. On the upside, I'll now be able to attend Miriam and Isabelle's ballet show, Swan Lake, which I was going to miss as it was on the same day as the first scheduled mri. I'd been very disappointed to miss it and had been gutted when the note came home giving the date of the show. It was almost the straw that broke this camel's back. We're waiting now for a new date for the neurologist's appointment now as that needs to be changed too. I'm sure if he sees anything showing up in the mri he'll call us up quickly if a shunt is needed. That's my niggling concern. Hopefully it'll be all right.
In the meantime, Louise is really just like any other baby. She's loved and adored by her sisters and brother, in fact maybe they have her a bit spoilt! Her tummy is at her a good bit so she likes being held in her personally designated position, but at least when she settles at night she really settles and even sleeps most nights now until 5 or 6 am. I keep her in with us then, she's so cuddly and snug and smells adorable.
For the bank holiday we grabbed the opportunity to head to Connemara in the West of Ireland to introduce Louise to her (maternal) ancestral home. It was a lovely refreshing and well needed bit of escapism. I love it there, it certainly recharges the batteries. I hope we make it in the summer if the dates we've booked don't clash with Louise's surgery.