Monday, June 18, 2012
I sat in the oversized rocking chair, lost in my thoughts. Surrounded by the smell of anticeptic soap and the quiet beeps and not-so-quiet alarms. I couldn't help but wonder how many moms before me had sat in that same rocking chair, heard the same sounds, cried the same worried tears, wondered the same frightening thoughts, and felt the same anxiety of the unknown. How many moms were able to hold their babies in that chair? How many gazed longingly at their babies that could not be held from that chair? How many times had that chair seen the joy of going home and the agonizing, cold, gray pain of loss? I watched the nurses check and recheck the babies, their silent white shoes, their loving touches given to both the babies and the parents who sat waiting.
I couldn't help but think about how it wasn't supposed to be this way. How did this happen? Why was it happening to us? How could we do everything right and still end up here? It wasn't fair. And then the guilt would come in, an unwelcome visitor, reminding me that it could be worse. I might not have ever held him at all. I might not have had the chance to sit and wait and worry. It could be worse.
The doctor's words were still in my ears. "Some of the arteries and veins that we will be relocating are no bigger than a single strand of hair. We will transfer him to the machine that will pump his blood around his body bypassing his heart while we put things back where they belong. It will take several hours but we will send a nurse out to update you every so often. We will stop in the hallway and you can come see him briefly as we move him to the recovery room. Then we will come get you when he is out of recovery and you can come be with him."
Tomorrow. It was going to happen tomorrow. I wanted tomorrow to never come and I wanted tomorrow to be over and done. I wanted to be a month down the road...at home, happy, snuggling my newborn baby and thanking God every day for my little miracle.
The nurse put her gentle hand on my shoulder. "Can I get anything for you?" For a moment I just stare at her, still lost. She smiles at me and waits until my head clears enough for me to realize she asked me a question. I am amazed by this woman. Not only does she care for my precious baby, but she cares for me as well. "No, I don't need anything." I reply. Except for him to be okay. Except for him to be at home with me. Except...
"He's been holding steady for a while. Would you like to hold him for a few minutes?"
And then he's in my arms. Gingerly, I touch his cheek, his hand, the white-blond fuzz on the top of his head. Careful, oh so careful, watch the wires, don't bump the port. I am in the chair, in the moment, rocking my beautiful baby boy. Suddenly not seeing the wires and the bruises and the machines. Just seeing him and smelling him and feeling his warmth. Drinking him in because it's all I can do. I don't know anything else.
But the chair is there. The chair knows. The chair sees it all.