Well, it appears that one thing is similar across both pregnancies… my intense need and desire for Honey Nut Cheerios in the middle of the night. This one likes them a little earlier than Ruby, but still… here I am.
We had another big check up for Emme on Wednesday and there was LOTS of good news. The left side of her heart is still open, despite the doctors predictions that it would have completely shut down by now. Her growth jumped from the 19th percentile to the 42nd. She’s over the weight the docs needed her to be if we have go in and get her earlier than her due date. All good things. We visited the Labor and Delivery unit and the NICU at Kaiser and were both pleased and relieved to find smiling welcoming nurses, big open rooms and, in the NICU at least, lots of those smiling nurses were all hovering over the teeny tiny bassinets and the teeny tiny babies in them. Pretty much all the nurses were with a baby, aside from the one giving us the tour. I think there were actually more nurses than babies…
Which brings me to the not great – Emme will be in the NICU. For a while.
And yes, of course, I knew this on an abstract level, but the visit brought it home for me. And while I’m thrilled that there are kind, competent people there for her 24/7, it’s not the same as ME. Or Ajax. Or our home and our bed. I hate that. I hate the thought of my sweet baby girl laying all alone under plexiglass wondering where the sound of her mama’s heart went.
And don’t get me started on the surgery aspect of it. So many people are sending me that photo of the little 3-month old, happy as a clam, just out of heart surgery… do you know what I see? I see a scalpel cutting my precious newborn before I’ve even had a chance to nurse her. I hate it. I do. I hate the thought of that. Of her alone and scared.
But I love this baby. I love that she’s a freakin’ fighter and that she kicks me awake at 2 am to have Cheerios and quiet time together. I love that when I chant “Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das Guru” even silently, she knows its hers and stretches and moves. I love that I’m starting to sense her personality – her deep deep love and pure wonder of the world.
So I’m holding on to that. I’m hoping that the docs and the NICU will play mantra for her, preferably me chanting it, so she can feel surrounded and enveloped and blanketed and every other synonym for completely held by my love for her. I’m surrounding her with every kind of love I know how to give and finding that my well is deeper than I’d imagined. I talk to her almost daily about what to expect and that I will always be there with her in spirit, even if my body isn’t next to hers. That she will be safe. That she will be well taken care of and that she has to be brave and get strong and healthy so she can come home and let her big sister lavish her with kisses and hugs and stickers and stuffed animals.
What else can I do?
I pray. I pray a lot actually. I pray that God will help her stay strong through birth. I pray (selfishly) that her heart will magically heal and open, even though I know that’s a pipe dream. Mostly I pray for myself to accept what is. To accept the reality of the situation and love it and love Emme as is. Our road will be long, at least in the beginning, so I pray that Ajax and I find the stamina, patience and compassion for each other that we will need to come through this as the incredible partners we are. I pray that Ruby is able to move through this experience with grace and ease, feeling as loved and singularly cherished as she has her whole life thus far. A lot of prayers.
And with that Ruby is laughing in her sleep and the much promised rain is starting. Time to go back to bed. Or maybe get another bowl of Cheerios.