And there she is, amongst cords and monitors, hooked up to a tiny IV; our daughter- my daughter. I thought it was impossible to love your second child like your first but as I look at her my heart swells. I know right now in this moment that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for this child; this tiny princess. I would do anything and everything for you. Mother’s hearts are funny things; they grow and expand and mother’s hearts are capable of loving all their children equally and unconditionally. I know now that my mom was right, but it is something that you have to feel for yourself, you do love your second child just as much as your first. I can’t believe we almost lost her. I can’t believe you are here, my little baby girl. My whole bed is taking up a lot of space in the NICU where tiny babies (much tinier than mine) are being taken care of by nurses. The sickest babies are isolated in rooms of their own and some can’t even be touched by hand but have beds where parents have to stick their hands through little tunnels wearing gloves when touching them. It strikes me again how very lucky and truly blessed we are. My mom is telling me how incredible it is and how amazing she looks, tears in her eyes, she is saying that she looks like me!
Once back in my room, I get to hug my big baby again, telling him I love him very much. My family soon leaves and again the exhaustion hits me. I finally get to sleep after my vitals are being checked again and my stomach is being brutally pushed on. I only wake to another Vicodin and then sleep some more. It feels wonderful. When I wake the next time I am disoriented and probably confused as to the change of rooms, thinking I’m still on the 5th floor in my “bed rest bed”. I locate my cell phone with its pink “lifeproof” case, to see what time it is. I’m not sure its twelve noon or midnight. A thought suddenly occurs to me that I should check on my baby; the number for the NICU is right there up on the white board in this new hospital room. When I call them on the big white hospital phone, dialing the 4 digit extension only, I momentarily feel guilty because I can’t remember her bed number. They are quickly able to find her though and I sigh in relief. For a moment I thought that maybe it was all a dream, maybe she wasn’t real, wasn’t born yet, wasn’t mine. A voice tells me that Madeleine is awake and she is hungry; do I want to come down and feed her? That is her name, Madeleine with the Swedish spelling. Madeleine Pia (after my mom) Elisabet (after my grandma and me). The newest member to our family!
Feed her, sure! Do I even have milk yet? I quickly recall that I am not supposed to get out of bed without the nurse present. But I can do this right? She already accompanied me ones and she was very sweet, holding me and talked to me in a calm soothing voice, showing me all the relief sprays and witch hazel pads and wipes to relieve any pain and discomfort while using the bathroom. I remember peeing after the 4th degree tear and a crazy amount of stitches was pure agony after my son was born but this time around it really wasn’t half as bad. Maybe it was the pain killers talking (the real deal pills and “they are not messing around” as my husband likes to say). As I swing my feet over the bed (getting use to these hospital beds by now), I suddenly feel dizzy and nauseous. Ignoring the feeling, I stand up discovering that my legs will not carry me. I literary sink down to the floor and have to press the alarm for help. There is no way around it. The concerned nurse comes back, immediately telling me that I should have called for her before I got out of bed. We only make it to the bathroom before the room spins and everything turns black. I’m only out for seconds but coming to, I feel shaken up and scared. The nurse has put me on the toilet seat and she is kneeling in front of me, carrying my weight. She is telling me that I lost a little bit more blood than usual and that I am very weak since I have been on bed rest with ruptured water for so long, adding the traumatic labor and delivery and there you go. She tells me to tell her when I’m okay to be walked back to my bed. It takes a long time before I’m steady enough and I soon realize that I won’t be able to go feed my baby after all and feel disappointed.