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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

C is for Corbin

Corbin entered this world in a big way. Six days early and made his presence known. Lee and I were 27, first time parents, and how no idea how this whole delivery thing actually worked (yea, yea, I know the science behind it). If you happen to know us Morris' we tend to go to the extreme; this starts in utero. I woke up at 0600 in labor and knew something wasn't "right," my husband took a shower and I called the doctor. In the short amount of time from him showering to waiting for a call back, we both knew something really wasn't right. I could barely talk when the doctor called back and well off we went; across the street, city living perk!

We get there, people are trying to figure out what's going on, nobody seems to know. This is when being a first time mother yet career healthcare person are a terrible combination. When you know how to read the monitor and interpret the numbers; when discussions on airway protection are being had; should you not be in healthcare or had a baby, this is not normal. My very kind OB sat in a rocking chair and very calmly stated we were headed to the OR as both the baby and I were not doing well. Quickly 20 of my newest friends flooded the room and off we went. I purposely choose to deliver at a hospital where I did not work; privacy and space. Well, that plan backfired, I knew my anesthesiologist. In the long run, I am glad I did. Things got rough, really, really rough. The c-section wasn't pretty and I didn't tolerate things well. Childbirth is unique, two lives are physically in balance. For me, I was focused on Corbin, apparently, folks were highly focused on me.

Corbin was born silent. Not a sound. I heard monitors, machines, hustle, bustle, NICU, anesthesia. No baby. No cry. No scream. I was provided a 30 second look before he was whisked away. We knew nothing. I was still on the table in a bit of a crisis. I had started vomiting however, I was unable to sit up or feel anything from my shoulders down...concerns for aspiration, suction, intubation. Like I said before, we Morris' are extremist.

They continued to patch me up and work on Corbin. When I finally settled down my wonderful L&D nurse arranged for a wheel through the NICU for me to see my baby. It was quite literally a parade; the bed, iv, nurses, techs, husband...all in to the NICU. I got two minutes with my baby as I knew it would be at least another 12 hours before I would get to see him again.

One of the worst feelings is arriving on the mother/baby unit without your baby. There is no cuddling or snuggling, no private moments as a first time mom, just battle wounds and an empty bassinet. An odd twinge of jealously at the cries of the babies you hear on the hall. I knew that I was not allowed out of bed until 0230 at the earliest. So at 0230 I rang for my nurse, asked if I was allowed out of bed...she knew what I wanted. She loaded me into the wheel chair, transferred my iv's and oxygen, and off to the NICU we went. The first picture below is of our early morning date; just us.

Corbin and I were both in and out of the hospital for the first month. We finally settled in at home as a family of three shortly before him turning 4 weeks old. At the point in time there didn't seem to be any major, obvious long term side effects. All testing was negative and we were being told sometimes things happen. Which I get, why else would we have the term idiopathic. So we got in our groove; a little too well, his sister was born almost a year later.

We had no indication that Corbin would face challenges as he aged and developed. I am honestly not sure I would have noticed as early as I did if it wasn't for having another baby so close in age. People say you can't compare boys and girls however, in some ways you can. I noticed around 2 he didn't seem "typical." His speech was delayed, he was impulsive, had repetitive and obsessive behaviors; things just seemed off. We went to his pediatrician who suggested he be evaluated for autism and associated disorders. We started down a pretty long path of what does or doesn't Corbin have. He qualified for supportive speech and OT however, there was no formal diagnosis. A big component was age. Providers were waiting to see what would evolve as Corbin aged. He is a boy and he is 2; lets start therapy and see. Lee and I supported this plan. We also enrolled him in preschool to help support his development by being around other children.

He continued to grow, explore, and was such a happy little boy. His big blue eyes and dark brown hair just melt your heart, they still do. It is also how he gets away with a lot, still does.

The older Corbin becomes the more apparent his neurodivergent state becomes. On Wednesday we will be attempting his second MRI. This time it will be under full anesthesia. I don't love this but it is necessary. He is hyperreflexic in his knees and ankles, has increased tone in his left leg and arm, left facial weakness, his tongue deviates to the left, and his proprioception is wobbly. His therapies make a huge difference however meshing this physical need with this neurological need is a fine art. We also just want to know if we are missing a larger piece of the puzzle that is Corbin. I wish whole heartedly for his imaging to be unremarkable, at the same time, then what? Why this continued change in neurologic examine? It has taken all of my willpower to not consult with Dr. Google.

I am truly hoping we make some strides before school starts back in the fall, in person, good lord willing. However, I am already anxious over the hot mess that will likely be for Corbin. He hasn't been in a school building since March of last year. This is a child that feeds off of routine and has truly hung in with the best of them this year. We have had a tough year with him, really tough; we know it could have been harder. We have had multiple changes in medications throughout this past year; trying to find the right combination. Some days Mom screws up the right meds at the right times. Not my best days.

Corbin has been resilient through it all. He has good days and bad days. Mornings when he crawls into bed next to me and tries to convince to stay home from work and just snuggle and build Legos. The other morning he saw the number of alerts for unread texts, voicemails, personal emails, and work emails; he suggested I must not really be doing work at work if I have that many alerts. Perhaps he is right, maybe I should just stay in bed and build Legos.

I most definitely have mom guilt when it comes to Corbin, well both kids. Both kids have their strengths and interests; yet, there is an obvious divide with abilities. We integrate Corbin in everything we can however, it is not always feasible. We don't provide short cuts, we challenge and push. Both children. Parenting a neurotypcial and neurodivergent child requires a level of being "on" that we didn't know existed. There are days I get home from work exhausted trying to figure out how to keep going at the level needed. I know I need to bring it up a notch. This is partly why my laptop no longer comes out at night for work. This is why I have so many unread alerts on my phone.....

My husband told me before he went to bed tonight that he wanted to sleep in tomorrow, we both just laughed. There is no sleeping in with Corbin. Simply morning snuggles and "what are we going to do today." Emphasis on the "we." We are anticipating highs and lows with Corbin the next few days as he knows his MRI is on Wednesday. We will tell him everyday from now until then what to expect; what the nice nurse told Mommy today; and that everything will be okay. The same story on repeat.

Perhaps the repetition is more for Lee and I than Corbin; everything will be okay.

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