Friday, July 15, 2011

He's not Heavy

"Take him and get him weighed, Please", I command my husband. He seems too little. I refuse to panic. Preston has always been smaller than the average child. He went three weeks without gaining any weight at all, and then months where a diuretic ensured that he never carried any water weight. I naturally assumed he would bulk up the longer he was off the Lasics. He hasn't. When he started to eat solids, I told myself, surely now he'll gain weight, he'll start to put on baby fat. He hasn't.

"Take him and get him weighed, Please", I demand again as Scott heads to the walk in clinic. The antibiotics Preston was put on has caused a rash. Is it an allergy? Perhaps. In any case, I reiterate once more, please, get him weighed.

Scott returns home, Preston settled on his hip. I smile at my baby and look at him expectantly.

"Do you want the good news or the bad news?" he asks and I get the sudden urge to disable him with a quick, sharp kick to his shin. I play along anyway.
"His ear infection has cleared up!"
"And the bad"? I inquire.
"He's allergic to amoxicillin."
"Crap...And how much does he weigh?"
"17lbs 11 oz"

I do the math in my head and I know it's off. I hand the baby over to him and rush upstairs to his baby book. The last time he was weighed and I had recorded it was two months ago at his last cardiology appointment. He weighed 15lbs 10 oz. Hes only gained two pounds in two months.

"Shit, shit, shit" I think to myself. The doctors told me he was in the 25th percentile for weight that day; that fateful day we got the news no surgery would ever be needed, that he was doing great!

My nimble fingers type 'baby percentiles' into google. I pull up a growth chart and discover his weight is at the 9th percentile now. I choke. I bite back the bile I hadn't tasted in months and that disgusting, slimy feeling of panic begins to settle in once more. My heart pounds in my ears, my mouth goes dry, I stumble down the stairs to Scott where I find him relaxed and smiling at little Puck. The minute his eyes meet mine I can see he's already determined that the news I have to share isn't good. He reaches for Preston and subconsciously clings to the baby who just yesterday had given us so much joy.

"It's not good. He's dropped to the 9th percentile for weight"
"Shit" Scott states, his words eerily matching my own.

In desperation I turn to the women who know this path intimately. "Heart moms". It's a club I haven't been fully adopted into, or so my own guilt tells me. Preston's miraculous gift; the news that he would never need surgery ousts me from the support group I had once leaned so heavily upon. How can I request help and ask for advice from the mother's who have walked that insidious path of open heart surgery? They rejoiced with me when my news was happy. They no doubt had hoped the same for their kids once upon a time. But I'm that mother now. The one who gets to step outside the confines of the diagnosis.

I'm a mom whose escaped the heavy fear that surgery brings with it and consequently, it's not as easy to step back into that club when his heart never needed a surgeons scalpel. Still, I know my own feelings don't matter; Preston's health does. So I request Michelle's advice once more and she happily gives it. And as much as I feel like an impostor in their world, they embrace me none the less, and I am grateful.

I admit that being Puck's mom is sometimes a struggle. And so I do my best not to buckle under the weight of it all; because despite his dimunitive size...sometimes he feels so heavy.

And then miracle of miracles, yet again, I discover he has not tumbled outside of his percentile after all, and in fact that the doctor misinformed, or I misunderstood, the "25th percentile" information. Preston has remained steady in the 10th percentile for his age for as long as his weight has been recorded.

And it's moments like these I find myself ever stronger. And I realize that as a heavy as he can seem, he's still my son, and I will carry him as long as I need to.

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