Friday, December 13, 2013

Second guessing - A parenting saga

Suresh and I were very impulsive people. We did things on the drop of the hat. Things were suggested and decisions were made in moments. For instance one evening Suresh walked home from his ongoing internship at Philip Morris and said he could not take waiting for the bus any longer. I think he had gotten rained on  or something. He had to buy a car! Some six hours later we bought our first 'decent' second hand car - A Mazda Protege.
A few months post our graduation and Suresh said lets buy a house ... a month later we were were signing papers and essentially upgrading from renters to mortgage payers (not an upgrade really!)
Then we decided we needed a second car. Which one ... how about a Mini Cooper...... a day later I was driving to work in a  pretty Grey Mini Cooper Sports Versions --- Stick shift, seat warmers and all!
Then there was the 'Let me take a job in Baltimore'. And I did ... and 'Suresh move up to Baltimore and he did.'
It seemed like we just took a decision and ran with it never second guessing or wondering what would have happened any other way.

And then things changed! And it seems that everything is weighed, evaluated and fretted upon in my tiny brains. I do not think Suresh does it as much as me ... but I still can see him stop and think about things. He just doesnt fret!
The reason I write this blog is because of something that happened this past Wednesday. It made me think about how much I had changed in terms of decision making. Decision making as far as Isaac was concerned.

Monday and Wednesdays may be Isaacs favorite days because he gets to go to dance and art class. All you have to say is Isaac lets go to Deepa and Kanchan aunty's place and he will dress him self up, drink his milk and sit silently in his car seat waiting for Brigade metropolis to come. We usually leave after Isaac takes a nap till about 3:30. I do have to wake him up from the nap and the words Artsy Craftsy or Kreative step are enough to get him moving. But on Wednesday he woke up on his own. I should have seen something amiss. He dressed himself up and went sat in the car as I got his bags into the  car. I had run back into the house to get something when Isaac jumped out of the car crying and not saying anything. He was walking funny and I realized he had messed his pants. I should have realized something was wrong. I should have known that he would not survive two hours without another accident ... should have should have!
Yet as I cleaned him I kept going back and forth in my head on whether I should send him to class. Finally I sent him ... and while he survived dance class he had a huge accident in art class. I was guilt-stricken and while kind Kanchan assured me and Isaac that it happened to kids older than Isaac, I knew that I had made a bad decision. I had second guessed myself!
It also got me thinking about other points after Isaac's birth I had made decision that in retrospect seemed like second guesses.

Some 24 hrs after Isaac was born, a pediatrician came into our room to tell us that he thought he heard a whooshing sound when he had listened to Isaacs heart. A hole! Dumb pediatrician! As opposed to assuring us that this was common and it would actually go away on its own, he started telling us about possible solutions. We heard words like surgery. For a 1 day old baby! A few hrs later as I tried to feed Isaac, he coughed and spat. Again normal for a baby. But in my 24 hr mommy head I saw him breathing too fast and using all his chest muscles. Some 6 hrs later ... just the amount of time it took for us to buy our car, Isaac was in the NICU. The  Neonatal ICU is possibly the scariest place in the world for new parents. When you look around you see babies who are the size of your palm struggling to make it to the next moment. Turns out nothing was really wrong with Isaac. Just hypoglycemic because he hadn't gotten enough milk from me. But they had gotten him started on antibiotics and so he spent the first three days of his life in the company of several other infants ... very very sick infants.  One moment of second guessing gave me a life time of horrendous memories.

Some 12 weeks later ... we were driving yet again to the emergency room late one night. Reason Isaac had spiked a fever. Since all clinics were closed we had to go to the Emergency room. The Kids Emergency room is the second scariest place in the world. Instead of just letting tylenol work and waiting for the fever and the night to pass... we  found ourselves spending 5 days in the hospital because Isaac had RSV ... 'a common cold'. Isaac was 12 weeks old. But in months he was 2.5 months. And a common cold for a < 3 month old makes them really loose their appetite. So we found ourselves in a hospital room, waiting for his appetite to kick back in, watching as they gave him IV and wondering how he would ever want to eat anything if he was getting his sugar high through his blood vessels! His fever... long left him! I still think about that night and wonder what would have been had we just waited a couple more hours till daylight and gone to his regular pediatrician.

Could I have saved him that experience ... of not spending 5 days in his 90 day old life in the hospital. Could I have spared him the opportunity of hanging out with future friends for the first time in the NICU. Could I have saved him the embarrassment of an accident in art class?

One look at our faces when Isaac was taken to the hospital or the NICU and the staff there would ask ... First time parents. ... What it is it about being a parent?

And then suddenly with Ziva we have gained so much experience ... or is it the confidence?
Some 24 hrs after she was born ... yet again we were visited in the post labor room by a much nicer pediatrician who gently told us she could hear whooshing when she listened to Ziva's heart. I held Ziva tight and Suresh said 'We know ... it will go away'

I chimed in 'I am taking her home today! You can let us know the test results whenever you get it!'
The Pediatrician stunned for a second smiled ' Its nice to see such calm parents!'
Yea - not really .... but we are learning!