My little dragon

by Laguna Lupie

This was an old note I had written in the hospital when my baby turned one.  I saw it the other day when I was cleaning up the notes from my smartphone and realized I never used it in full.  I am re-posting it if only because it wasn’t just a milestone in my little baby’s life, it was also such a challenging time for our family.  I look back and am thankful he is now happy and safe and healthy.

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30 August 2013

My little dragon turned one yesterday. We call our Bambam the wish that came true.

I found out I was pregnant with Bam at six months. Yes, you read that right, six months. Three negative pregnancy tests convinced me that the lump in my belly was cancer and I went to a fertility specialist with two problems: first that I wanted a baby and second that I think something’s wrong with my body because I stopped my period months ago but prior tests said negative but I had a nagging feeling I was either pregnant or sick. She promptly put me on a table and did a  scan of my belly.

I will never forget that moment, when she suddenly gasped “Hindi ito bukol! Bata ito!” (“This is not a lump! It’s a baby!”)  Its a funny story I tell my friends but when it happened I burst into tears. It was not funny at all.

I couldn’t forgive myself for not knowing for so long and maybe harming him inside me all that time I didn’t know. I spent the rest of my pregnancy in bed rest. Quietly contemplating how wondrous it was to suddenly have what I wished for and so terribly scared of what lay ahead. My little Viktor was a peaceful baby, didn’t move a lot, seemed a rather lazy kid, I imagined him languorously swimming in my tummy. And he turned out to be quite heavy. For a pregnancy I found out late, he had a way of making sure I knew he was there during the final months of my pregnancy.

My bunso came sooner than expected. I was due early September but he was in a hurry and I went into labor on the 29th of August last year. I was scared of a great many things when I was giving birth to him but seeing him for the first time, this beautiful quiet little miracle, is one of the highlights of my life. I still look back on his first month as our magical time together.

Then exactly on his first month (and my 34th birthday), my little dragon encountered the first great struggle of his young life. A wheezing in his chest I had checked with his pediatrician that morning turned out to be pneumonia. That pneumonia was later complicated by sepsis from staph infection supposedly gotten from my own wounds from the ceasarean birth. Baby Viktor stayed for eighteen days at the hospital.

I have gone through many things, but this one, almost loosing my kid, broke me and made me realize some things are just too much for even the strongest person.

This time, it was my husband who became the strong one. He told me something simple enough, he said “this will pass and we will be happy again”. I held on to that, his words the buoy that kept me afloat during that storm.

And now my bunso has turned one. Facing another storm in his young life. My boy spent his first birthday in the hospital.

We just got out of the hospital last week, thinking he successfully overcame another bout with pneumonia. Then Monday night he had difficulty breathing and here we are again. Combine the multiple hospitalizations of my family (including my husband who was admitted in the hospital last July for a viral infection) with the fact that I was diagnosed with lupus a few months ago, and I am positively feeling biblical nowadays, thinking to myself, now I know how Job must have felt when God threw everything his way. But that’s just me being dramatic. I admit I’ve been crying a lot these past few months, but I suppose that’s good for my tear ducts and a whole lot better than not being able to cry anymore.

I have no grand realizations, no “aha!” moment in the midst of all the bad luck that has been coming our way. Only a quiet acknowledgement that I must be stronger than I think. That despite all the bad luck, I am luckier than most– that we have the means to avail of medical services not available to a good many others, including doctor relatives who are managing and monitoring my son’s case; that despite the challenges, our family has more good days than bad. And most of all, I realize that I am very lucky to have kept many good friends and family who have shown us much love and support.

Last night my friends and family came together in an unexpected way. A good friend, estranged for almost a year, told me she will be arriving with a rainbow cake and we’ll have balloons and banners for my boy. She even made a balloon themed photo collage of my son’s pics she grabbed from facebook. I burst into tears when I saw what she did to try to make my boy’s birthday festive despite the sad situation.

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When we were admitted again to the hospital. I cancelled on the birthday cake I ordered for him and said we will just reschedule his birthday dinner when he gets better. But he got four different cakes last night. from one guest after another. And he had a fascinating and pretty rainbow cake that despite his weakness, he was still able to mash up and made all of us happy.

Bambam cake mash up

bambam rainbow cake

Ninongs and ninangs of our baby came to celebrate with us including a couple I haven’t seen in ages.

My little dragon, the wish that came true, turned one yesterday.

One day I will tell Viktor how we spent his first birthday and  I will tell him how our family and our friends showed us what kindness and love can do to heal even the most battered hearts. Giving strength and hope in a time of sadness and uncertainty.

I will tell him the story of a brave boy, who’s had a difficult time right from the very start but who seems to bounce back fighting every time.

When he grows up, my frail little dragon will take wing and he will breathe fire.

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