Growing stronger, healing and finding his way in the big world. Jude had been through many different concerning health issues, battling severe pneumonia, low glucose levels, lack of temperature control and then finally suffering with a broken heart, which needed heart surgery and extra care.
Even though these trials were difficult, Jude was changing into a “normal” and very healthy happy little boy every day. We found ourselves living in the hospital for a while longer as Jude fought to catch up with all the other 3 week old babies. Feeding from a bottle was something new for him and the sucking motion started off as difficult. As he had grown accustomed to nutrients through IV drips and feeding tubes, manually feeding him was a significant challenge! Personally, this wait for him to adapt to the life of a healthy baby seemed to be the part that tested my patience the most. Knowing that he was now healthy and did not have any medical concerns was frustrating as we still lived in the hospital. I wanted to take my baby home and cuddle him without the worry of catching one of the many wires causing a monitor to beep loudly until a nurse came into check up on us. I wanted my role as a mother to begin. I wanted to be able to hold my baby and change him without being watched by a nurse and leave behind the feeling that I would be judged if I dropped my sons binky.
It seemed that overnight Jude went from a baby who didn’t want to feed very well to a hungry boy that developed the ability to suck on a bottle and eat plenty. This was an amazing step for us as a family and it meant that the doctors started speaking about HOME! Hearing these words come out of the doctors mouth was music to my ears.
That was it, my husband and I worked hard to ensure Jude ate plenty and grew strong enough to please the staff at the hospital. Even though he was doing well, the nurses trained us how to place a feeding tube and feed Jude through that to ensure he got a set amount of milk each feed. Most babies can take what they like and feed on demand. Not our little boy, he needed to take a set amount of food every 3hrs to keep his glucose levels stable.
I felt like a robot needing to tick many boxes in order to achieve the goal of going home and being a family. If this is what was needed to end my time living in a hospital then I was fully prepared to go forward with the requests of the nurses.
Waking up each morning and waiting for the doctor’s rounds was a normal part of our routine however, something felt different that final day. Jude had pleased the doctors in terms of his healing quickly, meaning that we were able to go HOME! Discharge papers were signed that same hour and the doctors sat and went through with us the basic care requirements for our son. Every single wire and monitor was finitely switched off and our little boy was free. I changed his diaper without juggling cords. Finally, I was able to pick my son up and cradle him as a normal mother could without the familiar artificial hassles. My life felt complete again, the worries we had been experiencing seemed a blur, and our future together was at the forefront of our minds.
Watching my husband carry Jude in his car seat away from the outpatient ward was the most incredible feeling. This truly marked the best day of our time together as parents. Love for my family excelled with each step away from the heartache and concerns. Each step forward was the beginning of our future and I was so excited to see what was in store. Jude’s road to recovery had been a tremendous trial of which we needed to overcome as a family. We had succeeded and were now receiving and experiencing the blessings of standing together as a strong couple – putting the needs of our son first and ensuring that he was well taken care of.
My love for my family solidified through each of those refining tests. I will never forget these experiences as I now continue to watch Jude live and grow each day. What made these heart-wrenching events bearable were the moments of coming together as a family, focusing on the love we had while pushing forward.