Sunday, September 8, 2013

The NICU, part 1

Baby is in the NICU, all alone. Well, technically he is surrounded by an alphabet soup of competent care. RNs, MDs, FACSs, PEDs and more, in my mind's eye leaning over poking and prodding my little one. But he is alone - I'm a whole floor and half a wing away, and Daddy is at home with our other five charges. I don't want to wake him - my news will keep. Meanwhile, while I know that Baby is being cared for I wonder if anyone is holding him, singing to him.
I, the veteran of instant Skin-to-Skin, kangaroo care, feed-your-new-baby-as-soon-as-he-wants births, miss my Baby. We have been together through everything from mealtime to nap time these past months, and being separated this way is weird. I cannot visit with Baby until my own Nurse clears me to be off my goody bag - an IV of fluids to ward off dehydration. I've been told most mothers come in for birth somewhat dehydrated, so it's standard procedure this IV. I watch the pale golden liquid drip, drip, drip into the tube snaking out of my arm. I vaguely wonder what Baby's condition will mean in our day to day life. I try to think up intelligent questions to ask the doctors, realizing as I come up with a handful that they have already answered them. 
I know what's "wrong" with my Baby (wrong? with the way G-d in His wisdom made this baby?) and what steps we have to take to figure out how to fix it. And, once we've tested everything from his head to his toes and know what other complications we are dealing with, I know what possible steps we will have to take. All of them include surgery. None of them include taking him home when I am discharged. I thank G-d the hospital is practically in our back yard. 
I am not worried, which surprises me a bit.
Finally, I am untethered. I stretch a bit, stand slowly, and prepare to be wheeled upstairs. I ask the Nurse where the wheelchair is, receiving only a blank look. I explain slowly that I am supposed to go see my baby now, she tells me to get back into bed, she will see what's what. After five million fidgety minutes - or maybe it was only five minutes, who can remember?-Nurse returns. We cannot go up to Baby until they have him firmly installed in the NICU. I see that it's getting late in the morning, and call Daddy to let him know what's going on. I cannot answer his barrage of questions, mostly because I am still waiting to go to Baby and see for myself what they are doing to him. So we wait, with me thinking how ridiculous this is. What do they think I'm going to do - grab the baby and run?

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