Life In The Second Half (Happy 6 Month Birthday, Jax!)

It’s official – Jax has been home for the exact number of days that he was in the hospital. Wow. What a crazy, scary, hopeful, fun, sad, happy, and amazing 186 days it has been! And yesterday was Jax’s 6 month birthday!

We are thankful. Blessed. Lucky. Humbled. Amazed. We got to bring Jax home from the hospital. He is happy and (mostly) healthy! And most of all, we’re a happy family! It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 3 months since he came home. Some days (most days), it feels like just yesterday that I was watching him fight for his life in the incubator, struggling to breath, to keep his blood levels ok, to keep his heart beating. His 93 days in the hospital was the most terrifying and clarifying time of my life. Clarity came in the form of a solid and honest belief in guardian angels, of a dedication to my son and his life (no matter how long or short), of a peace that came with knowing he could sense my presence at his bedside.

I learned from one of our NICU nurses that there are a high number of preemie babies in the NICU who have no families. Their parents, at the thought of watching their child suffer or of having to raise a child with special needs, make a choice to put them up for adoption. I’m sad for those tiny babies who are scared and alone and craving love and attention. If I could, I would adopt them all and love them and hug them and teach them they are special.

I know of so many preemies that are still in the hospital at 186 days. My heart aches for families whose journey’s are longer, harder, and scarier than ours. But I suppose that is life. Every child is different. Everyone grows and learns at different rates.

Over the last six months, we have watched Jax grow and learn at his own pace. We have encouraged him, taught him, loved him, supported him, and told him every single day that we are proud of his hard work. Doctors warned us that because of his rough start Jax might not be able to do things like talk, sit, walk, or interact. Here are some highlights from the last couple of months:

  • Jax is sweet – he loves getting and giving hugs! He also gives big, loving smiles to everyone he sees.
  • Jax is strong – he grabs on to my finger with the strength of a superhero. He’s also starting to sit with little assistance.
  • Jax is smart – he’s starting to babble, coo, and mimic our words. He uses his tongue and lips to make different sounds. He’s starting to communicate!
  • Jax is independent – he will play with his “guys” for hours.
  • Jax is happy – he wakes up every morning and goes to sleep every night with a smile on his face.
  • Jax is a teacher – he has taught us patience, strength, humility, and grace. He has changed our lives.

Not bad for a kid with less than an 18% chance of survival, huh? I can’t wait to see what the next 6 months have in store for us. Here’s to more learning, growing, and loving!

Hooray for Daddy!
Hooray for Daddy!
Happy baby
Happy baby
You've come a long way Jax! (We had fold the tiny diaper in half for it to fit Jax when he was born. That's a quarter for scale!)
You’ve come a long way Jax! (We had fold the tiny diaper in half for it to fit Jax when he was born. That’s a quarter for scale!)
It wouldn't be a birthday celebration without a funny face!
It wouldn’t be a birthday celebration without a funny face!