I’m lying here in a comfortable chair feeding you, holding you against my skin, and if I close my eyes for a few moments, it all seems so normal. I’m singing to you while I develop a film in my mind to replay later on. Every minute I have to open my eyes to push another mil through your feeding tube, but other than that and the beeps I could be anywhere.
You seem contented here, and today, just as yesterday, your oxygen saturation increases into the 90s and stays there while I hold you. The research is right, this is good for you.
The doctors are thrilled with your progress and I am turning my attention to an ongoing plan in the quiet moments after everyone is asleep. I am researching what has worked for premature babies, what medical treatments are needed, what to expect, how I can help your development and urge you into the healthy side of those damn statistics. Some of the stories are too sad and I can’t read anymore. Some websites I avoid because they scare me – stories that are meant to be uplifting are a frightening foreshadows of things that may come to pass, and I recoil in fear.
I’ve read a lot about steroids, because I know preemie babies often need them. So far no evidence of chronic lung, but it’s always just around the corner with a preemie. To keep my brain in a positive frame of mind I am also reading a lot about development. How I can help you to land on your developmental milestones – though some sources say there is nothing I can do, others anecdotally reference pictures, books, singing and conversation as possible ways to stimulate the development of a neonate. The science in this case is incomplete. Usually I deal only in cold hard facts – in this case, I am willing to try just about anything to help you to recover.
Things are good right now. Really good. I’m trying to convince Dad to have a cuddle next weekend, (though the thought of giving up a day is not pleasant), but he wants me to do it. It’s working, it’s proven and it will help you, he says. I think he’s a little scared he will break you – you are so tiny your fingers look like needles. Yesterday we received a gift from a friend. A Sophie the giraffe teether. And as luck would have it you are the same size. I will always have it as a reminder of how very tiny you were.
As I drift into pleasant thoughts the nurse looks up at the clock and tells me it’s time for you to go back in the crib. I won’t give you up until the full 60 minutes is done. Just one more minute, and I’ll give you back…
I am constantly amazed at how much you have grown. You are such a little lady, offering me and Jack tea and cake from your tea set today. Poor Jack, the most faithful dog on the planet and so caring. You love him to pieces, sometimes literally. During your tea parties you have a habit of lifting his mouth open and pouring your imaginary tea down his throat. I’m not sure he appreciates it, but like everyone else in your life he goes with the flow – you are too much of a force for us to offer any resistance.
Dad got home early and allowed me to catch up on some writing. He took you to the park with your brother and Jack. As I sat working I was suddenly aware it was teeming with giant drops of rain, sloshing to the ground heavily. A minute later I heard a commotion outside – and there you were racing home through the downpour. Your Dad desperately trying to cover you both with an umbrella with a concerned expression on his face, (probably thinking about the cold you two might catch or the mud you will be covered in about to be tracked onto the carpet); and the two cheekiest monkeys I have ever set my eyes on – dancing and darting with glee through steamy wet air, giggling together as if you were partners in crime. Bringing up the rear was Jack, faithfully herding you home as always. I can’t help but smile as you approach the house. This is what being a kid is all about, and I am so grateful you have the opportunity to be here with your brother making mischief.