I lay awake for quite a while last night thinking about the NICU. I don’t think I’m ready just yet for the tour. I’m not really sure how I feel about it actually. Just over a week ago I was a normal, pregnant woman with a bulging belly and very sore feet. We went to auction, bought a house, and then the world changed in a way that has cut my life in half – before the scan and after the scan. Just over a week ago I was told you would pass away. Just over a week ago I was given a glimmer of hope when we transferred to a Level three hospital. About a week ago a second scan showed the situation was just as dire as originally predicted. And just under a week ago an honest, kind doctor looked in my eyes and simply said “I don’t know.” Throughout it all I think I’ve been pretty numb for the most part. Most of the visitors I see tell me how brave I am being, but in reality I can do nothing to change my situation. Nothing is literally the only thing I can do for you. It isn’t brave, its necessary.
Throughout the day Lisa and I chat on and off. Archie had a bottle today and to Lisa’s delight he likes his food. His temperature has regulated and they are thinking of moving him into an open cot. If that goes well for 24 hours they may transfer him, particularly as beds are in short supply right now and there are a lot of women on ante natal bed rest at the moment. Things are gradually looking up. Her kids have come in to visit, that takes my mind off things a bit, and they bring us food from the local shopping centre. It’s nice to have something other than salted mashed potato, even if it’s just a greasy burger. They also bring in some bananas and apples, which I am so very grateful for.
The day drags a bit, and unbelievably I am tired. Before coming here I was running every day, now I can’t move at all. Somehow the inactivity is exhausting. I’m nearly finished my next masterpiece, and have read through 5 books just this week.
Lisa tells me about her last roommate who has lost three babies between 20 and 24 weeks. At 24 weeks to the day she went into labour last week and is going home today. Her baby is in the NICU upstairs and despite the utter trauma she has been through she is thrilled to have had a baby survive this long. Tomorrow I will be 25 weeks and after hearing this story I feel completely blessed. I will sing you two songs tonight so you know how very loved you are.
I’m singing your special song as you drift off to sleep, and I can’t help but stroke your hair and lay down to next to you for a minute. You have had a full day of mischief at pre school, and when I arrived to pick you up you were sitting on the step, swinging your legs and talking to your friend Chelsea. You looked so grown up, so in command of your surrounds. Where your brother creates chaos for his own amusement, (we call it the Lachie factor), you are still when you need to be and full of unbridled energy when you want to be. He is a cyclone of laughs and dynamism and you are a focussed beam of determination. You are both so lively and vivacious that in moments like this as I sing Sweet Child of Mine in the dying minutes of the day are few and far between, but equally as precious.
On the long days in the NICU I often looked forward to the drive home. Not because I wanted to leave you, but because I would be going home to your brother, often to sing him to sleep, (there’s a story behind his special song as well, but that’s for another time). And because, on the way home there was a huge billboard right outside the hospital. Each day as I passed it I looked up at it and it gave me hope. I can’t remember the brand, but the picture was of a little girl of about three running away from her
brother with a red balloon, and a huge smile on her face. She looked exactly as I pictured you would when you reached this age and it gave me a mountain of hope to see a pictorial representation of what you would one day become. Here you are, full of everything I hoped you would be and more. Smart as a whip, utterly beguiling, and rendering those in your presence incapable of not smiling.