Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jack in the Box Revisited

Jack in the Box - his first "bed," an isolette
When I thought about mothering a newborn, I pictured baths and bottles, cuddles and diapers, and sleepy sighs...all at home.  Of course, I also assumed that I would be able to hold my child whenever I wished. Instead, I waited over 24 hours to see him and 11 days to hold him for the first time.  And after that, for only a few hours a day, if at all, for the first few months of his little life...the time when he should be held the most, by his mommy.  (I'm sure I could write an entire blog post on that topic...but not today.)     

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
Jack's first bed was an isolette, so he earned the "Jack in the Box" nickname pretty quickly.  When Jack graduated to a real crib, I wasn't there for that important moment.  It made my heart ache.  Especially because I walked by his nursery at home every day, with an empty crib in the center of the room.  That made my heart break.
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. 
Now, his crib is filled with blankies and Wubbanubs and burpies, and a sleeping or chatty little boy, depending on the day.  And Jack's room is my favorite place in our home.  It's filled with all his little boy things, filled with happiness, love and laughter.  I spend time in it, even without Jack, and I feel at peace and I feel "there"...emotionally and physically.  While I can't help but occasionally recall his first months in that plastic box or being separated from him for so long, Jack seems to enjoy reliving those days by attempting to get into any box or bucket or basket he can find.  Check it out:



  1. Love him signing "more" at the end of the video! He's such a cutie! :-)

    1. Thanks for reading, Jess! I love when he uses signs too. He's starting to talk more than sign, and I miss his little hands telling me things!