I remember from the NICU:
…the first time I changed your diaper. You were a little more than a week old. Up until then, the nurses had been performing your hands on care as I intently watched. That day, the nurse who was taking care of you unexpectedly asked, “Mom, would you like to change her diaper?” I was panic stricken. Was she crazy? I had never changed a baby’s diaper before. Now, I was expected to learn on a tiny baby with so many tubes and wires? Despite my apprehension, I agreed. There was some fumbling as I learned to change the tiny diaper and maneuver around the tubes and wires. But, it felt wonderful to be able to care for you.
…the first time I held you. I had been told you love the sound of my voice and tried to sing. The realization that I did not know any children’s songs or lullabies did not stop me. I had to resort to the music I knew. While NICU by Phish would have been the obvious choice, One Day by Matisyahu was in my head that morning. I substituted a word and sang “Sometimes I lay under the moon and thank god you’re breathing…”
…the first time you opened your eyes. We were starting to get settled into our new routine. Your dad had arrived from work minutes before the hands on care for that evening. He spoke to you as he changed your diaper and you responded by opening your eyes. We were both mesmerized by the marvel. It was heartbreaking to say good night and leave your side that evening.
…the day you no longer needed CPAP. No one had informed us that day was going to be the day. The last we had heard is that you had another week or so until they were going to try to remove it. After scrubbing up, I marched up to your isolette to wish you a good morning. I threw back the blanket that was draped over the top and peeked in. Surprised, I jumped back and muttered, “They moved the babies again.” I looked around to find you. The name on the wall indicated that was your spot but this baby was on a nasal cannula. The confusion was ended when your dad whispered, “I think she got her CPAP off today.” It was the first time we saw your face.
…the day you came home. I remember walking into the NICU for the last time. I remember how the doctors, nurses, and therapists greeted us with knowing smiles. I remember fearing they would change their minds and you would have to stay. I remember that I wanted to laugh, cry, hyperventilate, and be sick all at the same time. I remember your dad placing you in your infant carrier. I remember pushing the button to open those heavy doors for the very last time and walking out together.