Baby Erik has faced medical issues
By Ann Bloom
Special to the Chieftain
Erik Piper has faced more challenges in his short life than a lot of adults face in their entire lives.
At just four-months old, he might have red hair. Then again, it might be blond. It’s hard to tell right now since he doesn’t have a lot of hair.
His big blue baby eyes take in the world, and without warning, a wide toothless grin, chubby cheeks and all, starts from what seems like one ear and spreads quickly to the other. He’s cute, no doubt about it. But, then, he’s a baby, that’s his job.
Life has not always been smiles for Erik. At two months, he began having seizures. It was a mother’s worst nightmare.
Emily Piper said the seizures meant trips to the hospital and a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit. He’s on medication now, but he seems fine, she said.
Emily said she had wanted to be a mom for a long time. She jiggles Erik on her lap, though he isn’t fussy. He smiles and sticks his fist in his mouth. After three miscarriages she and husband, Mark Piper, welcomed baby Erik into their hearts and lives. Erik was a much-wanted baby, said his mom.
Erik is her first baby, and when asked how she likes being a mother, she smiled and said, “I love it!” She said in addition to Erik’s seizures has dealt with her anxiety about it. She doesn’t know when, or if, he’ll have another seizure. She believes he’ll eventually outgrow them though.
What has been one of the most rewarding aspects of being a mother, she explains, is “seeing him happy and smiling.” He is an easy baby, she says, despite the medical difficulties. She smiles again when she relates that another rewarding aspect of motherhood is seeing him do something new.
Erik, sitting on her lap, almost seems to understand what she’s saying. He smiles and drools.
Including the seizures, there have been other challenges as well. For example, despite what people think, “breast feeding is not easy,” she said, and not everyone can do it. She said she had a lot of experience with children, taking care of her nephew when he was a baby and she has also operating a day care center in Enterprise.
Now, she works as a stay-at-home mom to Erik. Still, she says, you’re not prepared for the exhaustion. Exhaustion is “both physical and emotional.” Postpartum depression is real, she said, and at times she was lonely being at home all day with a baby.
What she has learned about as a new mom is the enormity of her feelings for Erik.
“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the kind of love I have for him,” she said. “It’s scary to love someone so much.”