We drove out to BC Children's Hospital for our 20 week ultrasound on a bright spring day. That's the one where you can find out, for sure, whether you should be picturing your life with a baby girl or a baby boy.
They warned us that they would likely not disclose the gender at the appointment. Hospital policy. Still, we were disappointed when the ultrasound technician, the same person who just acknowledged that the indecipherable blob on the screen was in fact as "stinking cute" as we suspected, wouldn't give us the information we so desperately wanted.
Days later we celebrated a dear friend's Mexican-themed birthday with so many of our best friends. With tacos and a liberal sprinkling of margaritas, the party was one that can only be described as good - though I was just a little too sober to really get into taking the perfect Boomerang.
Friends of ours, in attendance that evening and taking full advantage of the festivities, had a beautiful boy who was - almost to the day - as old as I was pregnant. Five months.
Even though they may not even think twice about it now, I remember them, so clearly, saying that five months had been a turning point. They were feeling human again. They were out for an evening enjoying themselves. That has really been a beacon of light for us.
When Row was around four months old, once we were through what I have heard been called 'the hundred days of darkness', things got darker. We were up every hour, on the hour, with a child who was in pain.
I filled out the mental health assessment at her four month vaccinations realizing that the answers weren't looking great. Yes. Yes I am crying everyday. No. No I haven't slept 2-3 consecutive hours in the last 72. We were losing our minds. Babies can't exactly tell you, but when something is wrong, you can't imagine it getting better.
Not long after that we had our appointment with the specialist at BC Children's. The doctor quickly identified Row's issue as a common childhood affliction, eczema. But in her case, it was severe and on nearly her entire body. She was prescribed a cocktail of creams and, as it turned out, she had been suffering through an infection on her scalp that needed immediate attention. Even though it would take a week for a swab to identify what strain it actually was, the doctor took a guess and prescribed an antibiotic that was, thankfully, correct.
After that, things changed. All of a sudden it was Christmas. Both figuratively and literally. We took Row to my company's children's Christmas party where she happily rode an old fashioned carousel, met Santa, and received a gift that is still her favourite thing. She spent the week celebrating with her family and was a completely happy baby.
it was almost instantaneous, us melting back into something not unlike the human beings we were before. The turn around was so quick that it was hard to believe it had been so bad.
But this is not lost upon me every time we walk through those hospital doors. We park blocks away to avoid pay parking and as I walk through the long corridor in Women's that leads me to the elevators that open up to the sky pass into the new Children's section, I think of parents for whom this long walk is hell.
We are so lucky that her condition, as severe as it ended up, is manageable - and she will likely outgrow it. Even with the complications it brings, I know we are lucky to have found the answer to managing our daughter's pain and discomfort.
Month five not only got better, as I think it probably will for many parents, but it gave us perspective. Five months into the pregnancy it started to feel real. But five months into Row's life? We have not only adjusted to our new life as parents, but it has genuinely improved: she is happy and healthy, we sleep more (!), and we're feeling more confident about our ability to make the right decisions for her.
Rowan at Five Months
Hates: She can't quite figure out how to roll over onto her tummy on her own.