Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy 8th Birthday Larry Denzil III

Back in December of 2000, I was temporarily
separated from my entire family living in Baltimore,
MD.  I was there waiting for the arrival of our 2nd child 
and first son Larry Denzil Roberts III.  Because
of his cloacal exstrophy which was diagnosed
in utero at 17 weeks, I had to be near the
top specialist at Johns Hopkins.
Larry was not due till Jan 24, 2001, but my
local OBGYN was not comfortable having me
so far away from the specialist (8hours away).  He felt it was
better to ship me away from my home and
family during the holidays.  I told everyone, I felt like a teenager
with an unwanted pregnancy who had to hide till the
birth of her child.  It was a very sad and lonely time for me.

On Friday, December 29, 2000 I was alone at the 
Children's House just a block away from the hospital.
That evening I spoke to Larry on the phone.  It was a long weekend
and Larry had a bad cold so he decided to stay home
and get some rest.  He would come up the next weekend to see me.
We did not feel it was necessary for him
to be there that day, because I had seen the
doctor and had a stress test that morning.  She told me 
there was not going to be a baby that day.
I suppose little Larry thought differently.
Around 8PM I started to feel uncomfortable.
I had called Larry and told him I may need him.
Now this is not a short drive.  Like I said, he was 8 hours away.
He and a 20 month old Savannah were already in bed asleep.
I remember stupidly calling the hospital around 10PM
to speak to the OBGYN
on call.  I was not 100% sure I was in labor.  Larry was not due for another
3 weeks and the pains were completely different than what I
felt with Savannah.
Needless to say, the doc wanted me at the hospital.
On the short walk there, I started to feel even more uncomfortable.
Once I got there, I told Larry to come now.
I thought the labor would be so much longer because Savannah's
labor had been 10 hours.

Because of little Larry's diagnosis, I did not have to wait for a room or medical attention.
I was treated like a queen.  As a matter of fact,
a woman and her family had to be wheeled out of
the large fancy room, because I was top priority.
Well, maybe not me, but Larry.  He had 3 NICU staff with
their little incubator along with
two obgyns and a handful of nurses.  
I would have said they were in there out of curiosity, but
these children are nothing unusual for this hospital staff.
All was going well till time for the epidural.
Don't even start me on that rant.  A anesthesiologist
student tried to put the epidural in and was not successful
till I was pushing Larry out.  Her teacher
was sitting in the chair next to me reading the newspaper.
Every time I tensed up or screamed, he told her she was sticking it in my nerves.
I wanted to just smack him and tell him to do it already because she had no
clue what she was doing and I did not sign on for this.
She finally got the needle in and drugs
were starting to be pushed in, but at that point, Larry was already born.
I remember the NICU resident holding Larry
up so I could see his little pouty face.
My little Larry was born saturday, December 30
at 12:46 AM.  One more day and he would have been born on
his grandmother's birthday.  I am still hearing about this.

Here is the proud Grandmother and a tiny
little Larry.  He was just 5lbs 9 ounces and 15 inches long.
I thought he was so small till I saw all the tiny babies
in the NICU that he was sharing a room with.
Hopkins NICU is separated into different rooms depending on an
infants needs.  Larry had very little needs so
they placed him with all the tiny preemies.
My 15 incher looked like a giant compared to these
babies.  They were all such little miracles.
Larry endured 3 surgeries and spent
3 months in the hospital before he was able
to come home.

Here is a 1 year old Larry.  At 11 months of age, he was headed back
to Baltimore for two major surgeries.  One would allow
him to walk normally.  The other surgery was to put his bladder back in.
It is weird to think now, but for the first 11 months,
Larry's bladder was on the outside.  We had to 
put saline on it and wrap it in saran wrap
after every diaper change.
He spent another 4 months in the hospital.
The first month, I was able to stay with him, but
I had to come back home in preparation for
Xander's delivery.  Xander was due Jan 24, 2002
but was born on the 17th.  I remember Larry
seeing Xander for the first time.  He just kept staring
at the little baby.  Xander was already 3 months old when 
Larry came home.
Larry is lying on his back in these pictures because he had spent
four months on his back and had to
gain the strength to sit up again.
We were blessed with an awesome therapist
who helped him accomplish this with
little discomfort.
Here is my little guy on his first day of preschool.
This was his first time riding a bus.
Boy was he excited.
Here is Larry celebrating the birth of yet another
sibling. Early in my pregnancy, I had asked him
if he wanted a brother or a sister?
His remark was "Can I have a cat instead?"

My little guy is graduating kindergarten here.
It is so hard to believe at how quickly time flies.

I suppose these two may be best friends forever.
They have both overcome trying times
and have had each other to lean on.
I love them too death.

Larry and his siblings celebrating Christmas of 2007.

Here is Larry by the Statue of Christ
in the original building of Hopkins.
He is 5 years old here.
By this point, he had already endured
6 major surgeries and a handful
of cystoscopies.

Here is a very grumpy and sore Larry after his last
major surgery.  This surgery has allowed him to
be diaper free and he loves it.  But getting there
was no easy task.  Larry went through a 16 hour
surgery and an extremely long recovery period.
He was on strict activity limitations that caused him
 to be home schooled for the first semester
of first grade.  It was a rough period for all of us.

Larry's first father son camp out.
The boys had so much fun, I was
hearing about it for weeks.

Here is father and son sliding down a natural
rock slide.  I love my Larrys.

So now my son turns 8.  He is now in 2nd grade with
the best teacher ever.  Of course he says that about all his teachers.
He loves to read and ask lots of questions.
He loves animals and the great outdoors.
His dad is his favorite person on earth and pizza is
his favorite food.
Just yesterday I was cradling a newborn Larry.
Now I can barely fit the heavy boy on my lap.
It is so hard to believe
that in a few short weeks, he will be baptized.

Happy Birthday
Larry Denzil Roberts III.
I love you.


JoJuan said...

Wow!! Eight years! It does seem like yesterday that he was born. I loved looking at his baby pictures. He has the same face he was born with, just bigger. I can't believe how much he has gone through. We're so happy to have him here with us (albeit 2,000 miles away).
Happy Birthday, Larry!!!
We love you.
The Poulsens

In the Middle of it All said...

I just bawled when I read this! Cried so hard that Connor thought something was wrong with me and was very concerned. I remember those doctors trying to convince you to terminate the pregnancy and how brave you and Larry were. You are very blessed to have him. He's an angel. I hope he has the best birthday ever! We love you!