Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Reflection of 2011 (in words)

What a year!

We went into January consumed in our RSV isolation. We were pretty strict, although not as strict as the first year. We didn't take Jack out in public and he was never around kids for those 8 months... unless he ran into them at the doctors office! I remember cherishing the couple of "warm" days where we got to take a walk and get some fresh air. No one tells you how hard RSV isolation can be, but emotionally, it's one of the big hurdles to get through once leaving the NICU. And it's often not talked about. To read more about RSV lockdown, click here. Since I was Jack's primary caregiver, I was also in the same isolation. I tried to get out a few times a week, always with hand sanitizer in tow.

Two big things happened in April. For physical therapy, Jack got his gait trainer. It was the beginning of Jack's personal freedom and it coincided beautifully with the end to RSV lockdown. We were bubble people no more! I will always remember visiting Jon at the Capitol where he was working. Jack zoomed all over the hallways in his new walker. We were so proud. Personally, the end to RSV isolation was incredibly freeing for me. I began to think about life beyond our Clancy compound.

In May, Jack turned 2. We had a couple small parties to celebrate our miracle boy. We couldn't believe that two years had passed since the tragic day of his birth. And for this birthday, we really allowed ourselves to celebrate it in the moment. Jack's 1st birthday was a bit bittersweet, but this year, we left the old behind and allowed ourselves a sigh of relief that Jack made it to his 2nd birthday. We were so very blessed.

Right at the end of May, we headed to Seattle Children's Hospital for a tube weaning intensive. We spent two weeks in Seattle. Not only did we get to enjoy the city, but Jack returned home as a full-fledged eater! Words will never be able to express how much this means to us and we will never, ever take the ability to eat and drink for granted. Jack being able to eat is most definitely one of our top 2011 highlights. To read Jack's full tube-weaning journey, click here.

The summer of 2011 was filled with one word: travel. We traveled everywhere. It was exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. We zipped across our big state numerous times and spent more time out of our home than in. Countless hours in parks, at farmer's markets, eating out, and laying in the grass... these filled our calendar. Just typing that sentence makes me long for those glorious, carefree summer days.

During this time, Jon was working on his very special project, which we eventually unveiled this fall. A book about Jack's micro-preemie beginnings. It was a very exciting time in our lives. I was so proud at the amazing work that Jon put into writing this incredible book and can't wait to see it get published and into your hands!

While daddy was working on the book this fall, Jack worked tirelessly at one thing and one thing only: walking. He was so focused. In fact, he was so focused that he quit talking and was quite frustrated most of the time. We wondered where our sweet Jack had gone and why he wasn't talking and using his words anymore. We consulted our therapists who assured us that with a history as complex as Jack's, he was just working that much harder to reach his goal. He had no time or energy left for anything else. He was determined.

Then, one day, he took off. We have never felt relief like we did on that day. Our Jack was flying solo.  And that, my friends, is most definitely the highlight of the year for us.

Overall, we really feel blessed. Jack is healthy. Yes, we are still working on many things. Jack is still in occupational, physical, and speech therapy. He still visits the doctor quite frequently. But one of the things that sticks out to me about this past year, is that Jack had zero surgeries. That, in and of itself, is a call for huge celebration! We pray that Jack continues to growth in strength and health.

We can't wait to see what 2012 will bring! Thank you for staying with us and encouraging us along the way!
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The Kimmels said...

Happy New Year! The video of Jack walking was so fun to see. You guys were in our neck of the woods when I was in the hospital on bed rest...middle of may to beginning of june. We were right down the street from Children's at UW :)

Mindy said...

I found your blog today, and I am so touched by the amazing words I have been reading! I myself was born prematurely along with my twin sister. She weighed a whopping 5 lbs, while I weighed 3lbs 2 oz. I am overwhelmed with admiration for your family's strength and courage! What a MIRACLE that sweet boy is! Thank you so much for sharing your incredible journey! I look forward to reading more! :)

Our Beautiful Family said...

2011 was one exciting year for Jack! I am so happy that his surgery count for 2011 was ZERO! Hooray! Another very exciting accomplishement was walking! Go Jack! I am excited to follow Jack into 2012 :)