May 8, 2009

Let it Flow

On the day of my daughters birth, I could say truly the flood gates of the heavens were opened and down my tears came like buckets full of rain. I cried of course tears of joy but shortly after and for days to follow tears of sorrow. My baby lasted in the same room with me a few short minutes. They weighed her, checked her, touched her, looked at her and then of course we all knew they had to take her away. I had already asked my husband to follow her, and not let her out of his sight. One of my sisters followed him. She was taken to the NICU, her oxygen saturation low. I really wanted to be with her. Like right away. Like right now and forever!! I wanted to hold her, to kiss her, to admire her for a looong looong time. I wanted to snuggle with her, and smell her, and talk to her, and hug her but most of all I wanted to protect her and ... I couldn't. I wanted to trade places with her. I wanted to endure everything she was experiencing and was about to face. I wanted her pain and her fear. I wanted it. I wanted to take it all away. But it couldn't be.

After resting for a bit I insisted I wanted to go see her. Somebody wheeled me over there, I think a nurse as she explained how to get to the NICU. And for the first time, I saw my baby hooked up to many machines. The worse, was that I had to see her get intubated. A breathing tube shoved down her tiny throat. It was the worse. They held down her little head, as she fought the pressure of the nurses hands. And she gagged. And then she was silent. Silent for a very very long time. I longed to hear her voice, to hear her beautiful little newborn cry. I had only the chance to briefly here it right after she was born. Don't ever take that for granted listening to your child cry, it is believe it or not a beautiful thing. I listened attentively as the nurses explained the screens and machines. I looked helplessly at my beautiful little daughter now clinging for life. Welcome to this beautifully wonderful cruel world my little one. Mommy's here.

An on call Pediatric Cardiologist was examining an echochardiogram they did on her and determined she should be transported to the Children's Hospital main campus that same day. He said she would be better cared for as more things were available at the main campus should the need arise for further interventions. So now not only was my baby girl not in my arms and not in my room, now she would also not be in the same hospital as I. I can't say any of this took me by surprise, as it did not. But it was one thing to hear that it was going to happen and another to live it. I saw my little baby get all ready in her crystal clear NICU box to be "air vaced" (but really driven since it was a few blocks away) to the Children's Hospital. I stayed in that room, that empty room that moments earlier had been filled with frenzy and I cried. After a while, I called my poor family who had been waiting back in my room to come and get me but actually a nurse wheeled me back to my room. I felt defeated, deflated, conquered and crushed. I felt the biggest empty pain in my heart I had ever felt in my life. I was wheeled into my room where my brother, sister, sister in law, father and other brother in laws had been waiting. I couldn't look at them. My husband was with my daughter. My mom, with my other children and my other sister. The nurse helped me get back settled in my bed and asked if she could get me anything. And of course she could get me nothing that I truly wanted. After she left, I could feel my family looking at me and then at each other. I could not look at them. I could not look anywhere but down. I'm sure they felt lost for words. I however, in that moment just lost it. I couldn't hold it in anymore. I cried like a baby, like a little girl. No, I cried like a loving emotional mother who had just given birth to the most precious baby girl born with a congenital heart defect and had just had her baby taken away. I still remember my father, coming to embrace me, holding me tight as I felt the tears roll down his face and tell me everything would be all right. I couldn't help but feel like a frightened little girl. Thank you father for your strength during my moment of need. My room was filled with the fragrance of fresh flowers and decorated with balloons and cards of congratulations and well wishes from family and friends. That night I stood at my window and from my room I could see the top of the tower of the Children's Hospital my daughter had been taken to. My heart was there, but I was not.

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