We head back in to the hospital tomorrow morning, after a quick stop in the clinic for labs.  His blood counts have been great for the past week (so great that he’s gone to school three days in a row — a veritable miracle!), so I don’t imagine we’ll have any trouble getting cleared for chemo.  We’re scheduled to stay until Tuesday, but will again lobby to be released late Monday night like the last time.  And if we can manage to get started a little earlier in the day tomorrow with his pre-hydration, that would move each day’s schedule back a few hours and we might be lucky enough to be driving home by 11 o’clock on Monday night instead of 1 o’clock on Tuesday morning.

The hardest thing about this upcoming stay is going to be the absence of my number one helper: my mom.  My parents left on Monday for a two-week bike trip in New Zealand.  Yes, New Zealand, about as far away from Cleveland as they could possibly get (excepting, maybe, Antarctica?).  They planned this trip months ago and when Austin relapsed, my mom wanted to cancel, but we insisted that they go. They’ve canceled three other trips on our behalf: one around the time of Austin’s birth, another when he was recovering from surgery during Round One and another following Round Two’s surgery. The first canceled trip, which of course we all thought would be the only canceled trip, is sort of a funny story: A few weeks before Austin was due to be born, my parents were supposed to go on another bike trip, maybe in Prague (they really live it up, you know) and we were concerned that Austin might have to be delivered early. So my dad told me to ask my OB for statistics, he wanted percentage points of the likelihood I would give birth during that time frame or not. My OB, who knew my parents quite well outside of me and my pregnancies, said to tell my dad that if they went, there was 90% chance Austin would be born and if they stayed, there was a 90% chance he wouldn’t be. They stayed. And he was born two days after they would have returned home.  That’s probably the most accurate prediction ever made by an OB.

Anyway, we insisted my parents stick to their plan for this trip and go. My mom, of course, has been wracked by guilt. Because not only do we have a five-day hospital stay but my brother and sister-in-law are due to have  their second child in five weeks . . . and their first one was born, you guessed it, five weeks early. You know, my mom has all that pent-up ex-Catholic guilt about the tineist things so just imagine what she’s been going through leading up to this.

But we are all doing fine (really, mom,  if you’re reading this as you relax in the summer breeze of some gorgeous New Zealand countryside, we are FINE). We will simply handle this.  There’s no real reason for that second baby to arrive early, just because his brother did. And for us, it just means a considerably more boring five days. The hours at the hospital creep by and it gets extremely tedious, but oh well, we can survive tedium (just this once, at least). We are fine, Mom, I promise.

Now I know there’s a whole slew of you reading this thinking, “Oh! This is my chance. I can help!” But we’re good.  Braedan is covered with playdates and sleepovers and birthday parties for the entire five days. Meals are being delivered to our door each evening. We purposefully scheduled this round to coincide with the weekend. And, because my mom is the only person who Austin willingly stays with at the hospital besides me and Mark, there’s just not much you can do in that department. He’s not even totally willing to stay with her. In fact, he does an extraordinary amount of screaming and crying when I walk out of that building without him, just to make sure my own maternal guilt is in full gear.

Before my parents left, we made my mom promise that if she was actually going to do this, then she had to have a good time. There was no point in her flying halfway around the world (and abandoning her children in their hours of great need), if she wasn’t going to have a good time. I hope you know I’m kidding about the” hour of great need” thing. But mom, if you’re reading this way over there, I hope you know I’m not kidding about the having a good time thing!

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