Today I was able to see your face for the very first time. Ordinarily it is squished up into a little ball by the head gear and the tubes coming from your face are so big they obscure you. But today I got to see a prong change which means the nurse has to take your prongs off and change them and the nasal seal, (which makes your nose look like a little piglets). It was such a pleasure to meet you, properly, for the very first time. You looked so peaceful without all the gadgets attached to your face. I have no idea how you will change over the coming weeks, but today you were beautiful.
Yesterday I went into get some more supplies from the Level two room, (the High Dependancy Unit, or HDU). Babies that graduate from the NICU go through the HDU on their way to special Care, which will be their last port of call before either going home or transferring to a closer hospital. I walked past Aerie’s Mum and Dad in a deep and hushed discussion with a doctor in the quiet room – a place where parents are taken for bad news. I hoped it wasn’t too bad. There are all kinds of bad news in a NICU; sometimes it seems numbing, frustrating or scary. Other times its much worse, and the heart wrenching cries can often be heard down the corridor. No cries today, and I was glad. I have seen too many babies pass away already and my world is slowly beginning to darken. I only hope one day the light creeps in again.
As I approached the HDU I saw a bit of a commotion – a happy kind of commotion. Looks like a baby was moving up to Special Care. Part of me was jealous, though the logical part of me knows how ridiculous that is. I have no idea what this baby and his parents have been through. None whatsoever. I don’t know what his prognosis is. Still, the thought of being so close to the end of our NICU journey is tantalising.
I looked down on the baby and was taken aback instantly – he was enormous. And he was in a proper bassinet! From the details on his card I knew that his name was Anton, he was a 33 weeker, (so probably wasn’t even in the NICU), and he was born at 1.8kg. The nurse was busy weighing him before he was moved to Special Care, and everyone around the crib held their breath for him for what seemed like forever.
She smiled. “2.5 kilos at 38+5 days. Well done Anton!”
The baby was wheeled off and Nurse Tess noticed me standing there like a statue in a daze.
“It’s a good day for Anton.”
“He’s huge.” I felt as though my façade may crack and I might cry.
She looked at me kindly. “Lucy will be that big one day too.” I’m not sure if I felt comforted that I had seen the light at the end of the tunnel or terrified at what had to happen to get you to it.
One of the most incredible things about being a parent is watching the two of you grow up together. You dote on your brother, and I can understand why. He’s very caring and always your protector. Today as we left the house for a birthday party he bent over and cuddled you. His words were simple.
“Lucy, I will always be your big brother and I will always love you.”
You smiled up at him and something caught in my throat.
“Until I marry Portia. Then she gets half my lego. That’s how it works.”
Words of wisdom from your four year old brother.