I remember those first hours with both clarity and other worldliness. It's as though I'm watching movie clips when I think back to that morning. I hear the piercing absence of a cry when Emma was delivered. I see the change in Emma's skin from a beautiful rosy pink to a sad looking purplish blue. Then the room without cries quickly turns to a noisy place, words that have no meaning flowing all around. I see Kevin's anguished face darting between Emma and me. I hear my voice telling him "Go, go be with her".
The next hours are the other worldly part. I felt no fear, I did not cry, perhaps a mix of shock and drugs from the delivery. With an odd detachment I watched my family, tension and sadness written all over as they milled between the NICU and my room. It was a long day but the voice of my OB continued to ring in my ears "Focus Melissa, your baby is just fine". She's direct and honest, I knew in my heart she was right.
By the time we were going to bed that night we'd been assured that our baby girl would in fact be just fine. A rare event had occurred which although frightening would have no impact on her long term. After 24 hours in the NICU she would be released. 24 hours, that meant at 11:00am on September 13th, I could hold my baby, nurse her, never let go.
I awoke the next morning with a mission, to get my baby! At 10:45 Kevin and I began our trek down to the NICU. At this point, the calm that had been my strength had worn thin, I was frustrated and needed to be with my baby. I didn't want to hear second hand from well meaning family members about how cute she was, how strong she looked, I wanted to see her for myself. We arrived at the NICU and I was ready to bust in and collect my baby. Suddenly, a nurse appeared telling us that the unit was closed for a bit and we'd have to come back in 20 minutes. What? Did these people not know how long I'd waited, they told me I could come now, this wasn't fair. I started to cry, so angry, the full emotions of the past 24 hours flowing through my tired body. The nurse bent down, looked me in the eye and said, in a way that I believe only a nurse can " just as soon as possible you can see your baby. Right now another family is saying good bye to their baby and they need a few moments of privacy". The world stopped...saying good bye. In the last 24 hours it had never occurred to me that anyone else was experiencing this pain, that what I had going on was peanuts, nada, nothing. My baby was fine, we would be bringing her home.
I wish I could say that in that moment I became nothing less than a selfless, gratitude giving example of our Lord. Clearly, I didn't. I'm struggling along daily to be more in the mold of our Savior. What I did gain in that moment though helped to solidify my feelings that being a parent is a gift. For 8 years September 13th has arrived and I've thought of the family that said good-bye. I don't understand it, I never will. All I know is what we have today is a blessing, and for that we must be thankful.
|In the hospital, looking at photos on the camera of Emma. Thank God for digital cameras!|