It's was like giving birth in a 5 Star hotel. Ok, let me correct myself. It was like sitting on the sideline as your wife kicks ass and give birth to your son on next to no pain medication due to severe preeclampsia, in a 5 Star hotel. See, we were of the first people to get to use the Mother Baby Center in South Minneapolis, and it was amazing. Not only were the rooms amazing, but the staff was top-notch. It seems accurate to say when you build such a specialized hospital you get the best of the best pursuing career openings.
After about 9 hours of intense labor, around 8:36am, Edmund Michael Heidkamp entered the world, right away he was given to mom for some glorious skin on skin time. He was right where he needed to be, his mother's arms. The perfect Valentine's Day gift we could ever be given.
As I write this post Ed is sitting in his seat munching on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich right down to the crust which, of course, is the greatest enemy of any 4 year old. Sitting on the other side of the table I wish I communicate to him how proud I am of the boy he has already become. Since he can't fully grasp what he has been through, I am going to tell you about it.
The day we were going to find out Edmund's gender was tarnished by finding out he had clubfoot. Clubfoot is a genetic disorder that affects 1 out of 1,000 children. Some people of note that had clubfoot include Kristi Yamaguchi, Dan Marino, and Mia Hamm. Kristi was introduced to skating as a treatment option for clubfoot.
Both of Edmund's feet were affected by this, which oddly is a better than one, and treatment is something you start early. Treatment started two weeks into Edmund's life and meant 12 weeks of casts to slowly moving his feet to a straighter position and then a Tenotomy where they cut his Achilles Tendon (yes you read that right) and then set his foot in a traditional position and put him in new casts that he wore for 2 weeks straight while the Achilles Tendon just grows back. Here are a few photos:
After the casts were done he went right to his braces, but I can't find a picture of those. He started wearing those 23 hours per day with an hour break. He wore those braces for 18 months until he was walking, and once that happened he would still sleep in them. All in all he wore those braces for about two years. So yeah, my son is seriously badass and he doesn't even know it.
Now? You would never know that he was born with clubfoot. The kid never stops moving, unless there is a mud puddle then he stops moving forward and focuses intently on moving downward. Now he is just a crazy kid that loves his Mom, Sister, and Dad. He loves others intensely.
My proudest Edmund moment I didn't even get to witness. When I was recovering from surgery I was craving my favorite pizza, good old Psycho Suzi's Deep Dish and so we ordered some. Kim and Ed went to go pick it up and were a bit early so they were sent to the first floor bar. Surrounded by kitch, Ed and Kim sat at the bar and Edmund (in typical Heidkamp fashion) struck up a conversation with the bartender and the customers around them. He even asked for a glass of water (I am training him well). After they got the pizza and were headed to the car Edmund told Kim, "I like talking to people, because it makes them happy."
I mean come on, that is amazing. At three years old my son could pick up on the simple fact that interactions with others brings those people's spirits up. My son is four and is already kicking ass and taking names at loving people. I am a proud dad.
I will leave you with this. Edmund was named after the Edmund of Narnia. If you only read The Lion, Witch, and The Wardrobe then your picture of Edmund is severely tarnished. You need to read Prince Caspian, and The Voyage Of The Dawntreader in order to find out that he loves his family, speaks up for his youngest sister, and is a voice for those that are ignored. Edmund's name means "Strong Protector," and it is my hope that for the people in his life he lives up to that name.