The day the home oxygen company brought in all of Baby K’s equipment, I cried. Like… a lot. With each new item- giant oxygen tanks, long lengths of tubing, a hulking concentrator on wheels- it felt like another small piece of my freedom was slipping away. No more quick runs to the store to satisfy that ice cream craving. No more spontaneous meetups with friends. Would I even be able to walk from the nursery to the front door while holding the baby?
As my husband wisely reminded me, usually my anxiety about something prior to it happening is worse than the actual experience of the anticipated event. I’m happy to report that he was right. While the challenges of bringing a baby home on oxygen are very, very real, it is not a prison sentence. Baby K and I are able to walk around most of the house without difficulty, and outdoor strolls require just a bit more effort. Outings (well, mostly just doctor appointments) are slowly becoming easier as I learn to manage both the baby and all of his equipment. Not only is it not impossible, but it’s extremely doable with a little practice and with the expectation that daily tasks simply take more time now.
In a lot of ways, of course, my life is not as convenient or “easy” anymore. I know a lot of that is just the result of caring for a baby in general- turns out everyone was right about them not sleeping through the night! But what my life now lacks in convenience, it makes up for in simple moments of joy. I get to watch this sweet child grow up right before my very eyes. I get to be the one to snuggle him when he wakes up from a nap, and the one who knows which cry means what. I get to be the recipient of those gummy smiles and the intense baby gazes. Whatever freedom I may have lost when Baby K came home has been worth it. When he is able to wean off of oxygen, I will be thrilled. But for now, you can find us happily swaying around the house to our favorite songs, trying not to trip over the tubing.