|Jack in the Box - his first "bed," an isolette|
When you are in the NICU and have to watch your tiny baby fight for his life, those simple moments may still happen, just in a new environment. I just met a new NICU mom and we talked about all the little, but important moments -- that first bottle, the first bath (even if it was in a pink emesis basin for Jack), reaching three pounds or four, wearing clothes for the first time. Those moments that moms don't want to miss, but might for physical or emotional reasons. Physically, they aren't living in the same "home" as their child or emotionally, because they can't see past the fear and anxiety inherent in the NICU experience. I missed many moments for both reasons. Jack was so fragile...I was too scared to change his diaper or give him a bath, at first. And even that long awaited moment of holding him for the first time was fraught with anxiety. My shoulders and back, tense with fear. Fear of hurting him, fear of loving someone that I might lose. I was physically there for that moment, but emotionally I was lost in fear.
|Jack in his NICU crib|
|The empty crib...waiting to be filled by our little boy.|
Looking back, putting up his crib while he was still in the NICU was doubly symbolic. It was symbolic of the faith we had in a baby that would eventually come home, but it also was a daily reminder of the fact that our little boy was not at home where he belonged. Heart ache and heart break that lessens, but is never forgotten.