|Getting to know you, 15 hours old.|
I went to sleep.
And while I was sleeping you were born.
I wish it could have been some other way. There is a place in my heart that feels empty for not having heard your first cry, not knowing what happened in those first minutes, that first hour of your life. Instead, I have a different kind of memory of meeting you for the first time.
I remember a woman's voice reaching through the fog.
She said, "Has she seen her yet?"
and your daddy said, "No, she's still asleep."
It was then that I knew you were a girl.
The fog lifted a little and though I don't remember the first moment I saw you, soon you were in my arms. I remember you looked so small. I remember I wished I had known your name right away so that I could call you by it. I put you to my breast and you nursed as though you had been doing it for weeks. I was so glad you knew what to do. I laid there in awe and you nursed away.
The time we had together was so short, though daddy tells me it was over a half-hour. They came and took you away to the NICU, and Daddy went with you.
I was taken to a room, and there were blood tests and ice packs and pills.
All I wanted was you.
I pumped milk for you and was told that the 11 mls I made for you was pretty impressive for a first time. Daddy took the milk to you and fed you through a tube attached to his finger. He told me that you were under bili-lights and that it was hard to look at you because of the glare. As the day wore on, daddy took you more of my milk, and I tried very hard to come and see you, but my nurse wouldn't let me go to you. She was afraid I would faint, and made me get back in bed. The doctor wanted to protect you from needing formula because the lights can be very dehydrating, and told us he wanted to give you an IV. I didn't want you to have it, but I didn't want you to have to deal with formula either. Some decisions seem so simple until you are the one who has to make them.
In a while we got a call from the doctor in the NICU. He said that they had gotten your blood test results back and as a surprise to us all, your blood type was a match to mine. You even had the most dangerous antigen, the one they were worried could be destroying your red blood cells, and by having it you were kept safe while inside of me. He told us that they still needed to check a few more things in your blood, but that if all went well, you could probably leave the NICU and come and be with us.
It was yet another little miracle in this amazing journey.
I was very motivated to come and see you, but my nurse still didn't want me to go. She told me that I couldn't go without a nurse, and she was not willing to take me. I was determined to see my baby! I said, "I appreciate your concern, but I disagree, and I want to talk to a nurse manager." She left to get one, and I turned to your dad and said, "I don't think they're going to let me go, it's up to you." He went down to the NICU to talk to the doctor.
When daddy got there, he found that your IV had blown the vein, and they had been forced to remove it. Knowing the results of your blood tests were good, they had taken you out of the bili-lights, and not started a new IV yet. Daddy saw you and told that doctor that because you were not receiving any treatment anymore, he didn't see any reason for you to be kept from your mama. He told the doctor, "She needs her mother and her mother needs her!"
When Daddy came back from the NICU, he had you with him! I was so grateful and so happy to finally see you. While I don't remember much from the first moments I saw you in the recovery room, I remember so much about having you with me at last. We stripped you down so that I could see every little bit of you. Your downy hair stood off your head in every direction. Your poor little hand was swollen all the way up past your elbow from when the IV blew, and your fingers were blanched white and couldn't even bend.
You stared into my eyes, and never fussed.
You knew my voice and seemed to almost know my face.
I kissed you all over. I rubbed arnica on your sore little hand.
I nursed you and kissed you some more.
They told me they would be testing your bilirubin at 4AM, and that they may have to take you back to the NICU if you didn't do well. I'd like to have seen them try to pry you from my arms!
You were finally with me, and my world had found a new axis.
The days that followed were, have been, very hard, but I remind myself each day of how grateful I am that you are here, safe and sound. We stayed in the hospital for 3 days, and they let you come home on Sunday. I think my favorite part of that day was sitting beside you in the car on our way home as you took everything in. You didn't cry, you just reached your hands and feet out into space, with such dark, knowing eyes, like you were exploring the universe already. I was so glad that you were finally ours, and that there would be no more interruptions, voices, machines, or scary tests with scary answers. Just us, our family, and no one else.
So much more happened in those days, but since this is your birth story, you don't need to know about any of that. You just need to know how loved and wanted you are, and have been, from the beginning. I am so amazed that God decided to send you to us the way he did. How could I begin to imagine our life without you in it? We thought we were too old.
We thought everyone in our family was already here.
We were so wrong.
If you ever doubt for a moment in your life that you are special, that you are cherished and wanted and loved, I hope you will come back to this place and read about the journey we all took to bring you here. I hope you will read of all the prayers and kindnesses of the hundreds of people
who petitioned the angels for you.
who petitioned the angels for you.
It was like the earth cried out to heaven and said,
"Let her come, let her stay!"
and heaven listened.
Welcome, my little one.
I'm so glad you came.