This isn't my blog, it's Zack's. Zack arrived here seven weeks early, he had no heartbeat and wasn't breathing. He suffered catastrophic damage to his brain, he has cerebral palsy, problems with his hearing, vision and feeding. Our lives are both challenging and extraordinary. He is a gift. I hope that for whatever reason you find yourself reading this blog it can go some way to help those in the same situation and some way to remove the cloak that covers parenting a child with disabilities.
This isn't really my blog. This is Zack's blog, I suppose for the moment I have hi-jacked it, temporarily that is, until one day he might like to tell me to shut up about what he's up to, or take over himself.
Zack is four months old, he arrived 7 weeks early which gives him a another age of two months corrected. I like to think that buys him a little time in reaching certain developmental milestones.
A lot of people ask me how Zack is doing, and a lot of the time I get to repeat myself until in the end I just say, oh he's fine. Fine is a word I use a lot, it represents a whole host of real feelings and things I would rather not talk about. So, I have created a blog for him, for people who might be interested in how he is, for me to record a new chapter of our lives and for all those amazing parents who have children with special needs or disabilities.
So I'll start at the beginning.......
Zack was born on 13th February 2009 at 5.53am.....my pregnancy had been plodding along nicely, I had gotten to 33 weeks when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. A two day stint in hospital got my high blood pressure under control and I was sent home with tablets to keep it so until it was safe for Zack to venture into this world. However, life is never how you expect it to be, and that same week two days after I left hospital, I was being driven back to the labour ward in the early hours of the morning with severe abdominal pain. To cut a long story short, the pre-eclampsia had gone from mild to severe, my blood pressure was sky high and needed to be rectified before I could have a c-section. Whilst this was happening, Zack's heartbeat started failing then I started to bleed, by the time I was rushed into theatre, Zack had no heartbeat. A placental abruption had cut off his oxygen supply, this was the source of my abdominal pain. The doctors managed to revive Zack and then he began his fight. When I came too, we were told that he was not going to make the next 12 hours, we had him christened. I always think I did quite well to remember all his names, considering I was away with the fairies on morphine. Zack was ventilated, was given medication to stop him fitting and cooled to minimise the damage to his brain.
Seven days later he was taken off the ventilator and breathed for himself, he surprised everyone, no-one thought he would get that far, I always knew he would. We remained in the special care baby unit for 7 weeks, Zack came off all his medication but was unable to suck and swallow properly, so he was fed via an NG tube. His dad and I learnt how to pass the tube and we eventually got to take him home five days before his actual due date, 31st March.
Zack had suffered severe damage to his brain, this will effect his motor skills and possibly his vision and hearing. We don't know what he will be able to do or not do until he develops and grows but I count each and every day with him a blessing.
He is our first child, we imagined the glossy kodak image of our family life, we imagined what he may be like when he was five, ten, a young man......our lives were completely and utterly shattered. This isn't how motherhood was meant to be, visiting your child in hospital for the first 7 weeks of his life, learning to pass tubes down his nose, visiting speech therapists, physiotherapists, hospitals and paediatric consultants. But this is our life......and this is a new life, one that is teaching me patience, acceptance, introducing me to people I would never have met, and most of all allowing me to see miracles in life that would have passed me by had our lives turned out 'normal'. I don't want to sugar coat it all and say how lucky we are, or think we are special to have been given a child such as Zack. Life is difficult and full of worry, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my time with Zack, I love talking to other parents with children who have disabilities, their strength of character amazes me. I suppose what I am trying to say is, this life, now, is one I never ever imagined but one that I am most grateful for, it's opened my eyes to what it means to be happy.