When should a baby start to crawl?  The answer to that is 'when they are good and ready.'  I hear people say all the time 'Well, my child crawled at 3 months' or 'Little Jimmy was walking and singing opera by 7 months.'  If you knew what my son went through, you'd just be glad he's smiling.

I debated a long time before writing this blog and including the picture below, but I figured, why not.  My second child in 14 months, Bradley was born in April of 2012, and by about 6 months old, he started getting sick, as kids will do.  I went through it with my daughter, too.  For 6 months they just cry for a bottle and when they're tired or wet, and you don't have to worry about much else.  By 6 months, they get those runny noses, fevers, and coughs, you treat them and move on to the next one.  The problem with B's cough, is that it didn't go away.  It happened during the day.  It happened at night.  It was deep, but didn't produce anything.

Our trips to the doctor brought us to breathing treatments, something again we were used to, as our daughter had a bout with RSV.  The difference here was that the RSV test came back negative, and while the treatments worked, they only worked temporarily.  The cough kept coming back.  It was so ordinary to us after a while, other people would comment on his bad cough, an we'd say 'Oh yeah, he does that all the time.'

At the same time, the doctor was always worried about Bradley's size, as it seemed to have peaked, and his poor little legs were like twigs.  Not putting both together at first, we continued breathing treatments, and office visits, hoping the cough would go away.  It wasn't until two of the three pediatricians in our office came in the room at the same time, that I knew there was something bigger.  They didn't yet know what the cause was, but they promised to find an answer.

Through X-rays and echo-cardiograms it was found that Bradley had a ventricular septal defect, which is basically a hole between the bottom chambers of his heart.  At first, I thought nothing of it, because, my daughter had two holes between the bottom chambers and they closed all by themselves by the time she was one.  Later that week, we went to the same cardiologist we had seen for my daughter, and I immediately knew from her tone that this defect was different.  She told me it needed to be corrected with open-heart surgery.  That'll hit you like a ton of bricks.

Because of the hole, more fluid was headed to the lungs and causing the pneumonia-like symptoms and coughing.  The extra work the heart was having to do, due to the hole, was burning calories and keeping him small.  Because of his small size, he was behind in sitting up, crawling, pulling up, and walking.  He really was stuck in the body of a six-month old for about 5 months.

Our surgery was scheduled on March 1st and we had a two and a half month wait.  That was the longest wait of my life.  Bradley was still coughing, he was still little, but at least we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  When he would get sick, he would get EXTRA sick, even causing a trip to the hospital to bring down a 103 degree fever.  All along, people would tell us that after the surgery, his growth and advancement would come so fast we wouldn't believe it, but here he was, almost 11 months old and no where near crawling and weighed just 14 pounds.

I won't go in-depth on the surgery, but we went to Kosair Childrens' Hospital in Louisville, a WONDERFUL place.  His surgery took about 4 hours, and between watching him being carried away to seeing him spend the next day and a half like this, it was painful.

Eric Cornish

From 7:00am on Friday, going into surgery to 3:00pm on Wednesday, going home, it was already like a new boy was here with us.  He wasn't sick anymore, and he was ready to live his new life.  Right at the end of his 6 week recovery period, he celebrated his first birthday, 3 and a half pounds heavier, with smiles and babbling all over the place.  One week later he began to crawl and now two weeks since then, he crawls so fast, I can't find him sometimes.

I know there are many other children that suffer worse than my son did, and we pray for them nightly, but I am thankful to the doctors locally, and in Louisville, my supportive family and to God above that I have a healthy, happy boy! He's still a little behind most kids at his age, but going at double speed to catch up!  Am I worried?  Nah.  He'll be just fine.  When should a baby crawl?  When he's good and ready.  And B is ready!  Go buddy go!

PS.  He's so good, he sometimes is faster than his clothes...

Eric Cornish