It’s funny how you can miss someone you just met, all I want is to see her and hold her but I’m also scared.
I know she is fragile and super tiny and I just want her to stay in the NICU forever with people who are able to take care of her (well, maybe not forever but long enough to be more durable… eh, well strong and healthy).
The next morning (after some more well needed hours of sleep) I finally get the chance to see her. Instead of rolling in on a huge bed, I get rolled down in a wheel chair this time. There are “guards” outside the NICU (they seem to check everyone rolling in without a bed underneath them). This seems to be the other side of the NICU where they actually check that you have a baby in there and you also have to fill out a form, promising that you haven’t been any kind of sick in the last week. The door is locked and can only be opened by the guards/staff pressing a button from the inside of their isolated little cubicle (much like at a prison I would assume despite having been to one…or one of those night opened gas stations where the employees are sitting inside a little plastic window where you can’t get in).
Anyways, this time, I’m prepared, I stand up tall (well, sit up in the wheel chair) and armed with my hospital bracelet (matching the baby’s), the baby’s bed number and a pen to sign all the necessary papers.
Next step is to wash your hands. The sinks (water facets), soap dispensers and paper towel dispenser are all automatic so you don’t have to touch anything (no germs allowed) and the water is steaming hot.
I appreciate all of these precautions to keep my baby safe (and all the other babies in here of course). My nurse wheels me through the hand washing station and the sinks are in perfect height for the chair. I get slightly nervous before we round the corner to her bed- number 54-to see her.
What if she is not going to like me? An absurd thought crosses my mind where I actually think that my baby is going to judge me.
She didn’t ask to be born yet after all, and here I let the doctors decide to literally rip her out of me six weeks before she was good and ready. Will she point her impossibly tiny finger at me and let me know that I’m already a bad mama?
And then I see her, shake my head and smile. How could we have ever created something so beautiful? So perfect? How come she looks so yummy while being so premature? I’m really not just saying this, boosting, being proud momma here, she really is a gorgeous baby. She opens hers eyes and kind of blinks a little bit, stretches and yawn, isn’t that amazingly advanced for not even being “supposed” to be born yet? (Okay here some kooky mommy hormones might have taken over).
I get to hold her (and I feel sorry for mothers all around me who can’t, but I decide to relish in the moment).
It is a precious moment and it is scary. She has so many cords attached and the monitor is huge and blinking with all sorts of colors and beeping heart rate and lungs and oxygen intake information. She also has two IV needles in her little arm and her foot and alarm keeps going off which makes me panic each and every time.
I read up about this though, google said not to get scared unless the nurses did. The nurses are also reassuring me that the monitors are just extremely sensitive and that it is totally normal for preemies to have dips-to slow- and accelerated heart rates (just like she did inside my tummy).
I can’t believe she is out, I can’t believe she is here and I can’t believe she is mine I think for the millionth time, and I can’t help smiling as I slowly and gently stroke her tiny head of dark hair. The nurse informs me that she won’t break (oh really? I think glancing at the many cords, the monitor, the needles and my tiny preemie).
The nurse suggests that I try to breastfed her (which I really want but seems ridiculous because I know that I have zero milk). I do try and I listen to the nurse’s advice, suddenly feeling like this time the nurse will judge me for everything from not having milk yet to not knowing how to breastfed or hold my baby in the right position to do so. I’m feeling more comfortable though as my baby snuggles in to the football hold position, opens her mouth and takes a few tentative nibbles.