Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby!

Four years ago today, I was wheeled into the delivery OR for an emergency C-section at just after midnight. Within twenty minutes you were delivered. I heard you cry and they showed you to me. You were so little, just 3lbs 8 oz. We didn't expect you for six more weeks. I joke that your big sister left signs in my womb, "Pull this and Mama throws up" and "Pull this and Mama's blood pressure spikes". I threw up every day for nine straight months, twice, and it was worth every single time I hovered over the toilet. Well, nine months and 7 1/2 months. It was a scary few days that I don't remember, before I got to see you again, through the glass of the NICU as your daddy held you up for me to see from my wheelchair. I was too sick to walk down there, or go into the NICU to hold you. You were four days old when my fever broke so I could hold you. I woke up that morning and felt a bit better. Finally, my digestive system had started working again, and I could move with less pain. I took a shower and got dressed in real clothes, instead of a hospital gown. I slowly made my way down the long hall to the NICU; I remember wondering if I would have the strength to get back. The nurses let me sit in a rocking chair and hold you while you ate. You had a tube going down your nose to feed you with. It was so hard to let you go back into your crib. The nurses took our picture and gave me one and posted one on your bed. I made the slow trip back down the hall to my room. I went back every time you were scheduled to eat, when I was awake. They encouraged me to let you rest between feedings, since you needed all your energy to grow. I went home a couple days later, dependent on wonderful friends and family to get me back to visit. I went each morning and usually again in the evening, if I had enough energy. Your sister returned from Grandma's when you were 10 days old. She came with me each day to visit you. A dear church friend organized a rotation of people willing to drive us down to the hospital, so you had many visitors peer at you through the windows. When you were 13 days old, they called me from the NICU as I was making the bed. Don't forget to bring the carseat today, she will have to practice sitting in it before she can come home. The criteria for coming home included: weight gain, maintaining temperature by yourself, taking all your feedings by a bottle, and sitting in a carseat for an hour without a problem. They were ready to try the carseat test. I still wasn't sure you'd come home that day, but when I got to the NICU, the nurse told me that the neonatalogist had decided to discharge you that afternoon. I went out to lunch with Nana, Aunt Mindy, and some friends. After lunch, Nana drove Je and I down to the hospital to bring you home. I dressed you in your own clothes. They were so big on you. I look at that outfit now and can't imagine a baby fitting in that outfit. I had a nervous afternoon with you. You took two ounces of formula, every three hours. You must have been unsettled by your new home, because you didn't want to eat. By the second feeding you were starved. You grew, and thrived from there.How long it seemed at the time! You were so little for so long. As I look back it passed as a blink, but that first year was a killer. I remember the first month we had to wake you up every three hours to eat, until you were about 6 lbs. I thought I wouldn't make it to stay away for the 11 pm feeding. Thankfully, your Daddy got up with you at 2. Now you climb in with us occasionally, and don't even wake us up. Where did the last four years go?
Now you are a precious pre-schooler, about to embark on your first mornings away from Mama. You will love your teachers and the other children. You will color, and cut, you will paint and play on the new playground equipment installed this summer. What a big girl you've become! I see myself in you, and your daddy. I see generations of extended family in you. Much of what I inherited from my father, you have inherited from me, so, even though you will never know Papa Darrel, know he is part of you. I wonder if he had unexpressed thoughts as a little guy. I know you don't. And I love you, and all those thoughts.

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