As I gaze down, I can see that each strand of Liam's blond hair catches the light in our playroom and makes it shine. How did I end up with a blonde kid? I promise, we don't have a milkman.
As of today, my little guy can roll over both ways, crawl on his hands and knees, get into and out of a sitting position, pull himself almost all the way up on tables and other stationary objects, and feed himself small pieces of food.
One year ago today, strapped to a surprisingly comfortable table in an operating room, a very talented doctor took my son out of my body for me. I was filled with equal parts excitement and fear. His encephalocele looked like something that could be repaired by our renowned neurosurgeon. But still, his brain was not going to be like other babies, and he was coming six weeks early. I worried about everything. Especially the prospect of brain surgery on my premature newborn. But he was a champ. He recovered from surgery and was home just over two weeks after being born.
Over the past year there have been so many doctor's appointments. In November there was a second surgery to place a shunt which would drain his cerebral spinal fluid from his ventricles, and manage his hydrocephalus. It was a complete success, and he was like a different baby afterward. He started to see, and to recognize faces. He started to laugh at the things we'd do to keep him amused.
He's not necessarily where other babies are at the same age. His fine motor skills aren't totally up to age level, nor are some of his other skills. But then, none of my kids have been early bloomer babies. They've all liked to take their time to do things. I still worry some, but mostly I'm just overcome with gratitude and love for this incredible little person who is managing to do all these things despite all the differences in his brain. He works harder to achieve each milestone. But he concentrates, tries really hard, and then smiles at us. It melts my heart.
Happy Birthday, Liam. You completely captured my heart the day you were born, and my love for you has only grown. You inspire me with your determination to do the things that don't come easily to you. I'm so glad that you're here, and you're my baby. I can't wait to see all you'll accomplish in the next year!