Dear Babygirl, Munchkin, Chub-Chub, Princess Sunshine,
Your mother and I are sitting in the Parent’s Lounge at BC Children’s Hospital, you’re less than a hundred feet away – through three walls, a bathroom, hallway, and reception desk. We just sat in on your morning rounds, where all the doctors and nurses come by to assess your progress and plan out your week ahead. I took the day off of work today, and this is the first morning rounds that I’ve sat in on since that first one on the day you were born. It’s about quarter after ten in the morning and your great-grandmother is on her way for a visit.
It’s been three weeks since that first day and a lot has happened. Although your weight has been up and down, you still haven’t gained too much overall – you’re still only about 100g over your birth weight. However, you look so much different now than you did then. Your ears aren’t fused to your head anymore, your eyes are opening more often and for longer periods, your skin is less and less flaky each day, and you’ve graduated to the big syringe of milk.
It’s been a rough couple days for us lately. Your progress is still normal and considered “typical” by the medical staff here, but your mother and I have been facing our own set of challenges and staying positive is not always as easy as it once was – especially after a morning like today, when we’re told it would be best to just not handle you at all. You’ve had a rough night and your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels are having a hard time balancing on their own. In short, your lungs are still not behaving as well as they should be – and your time on the oxygen machine needs to come to an end before it starts to become harmful to you. The docs want to start you on a small amount of steroids today to help your lungs along but the thing you need most right now is rest. So no touching, no soothing, and especially no taking you out for long walks on the seawall.
But all of this is…typical.
Is it also typical then, to get irrational pangs of irritation and frustration when I see a happy baby in a stroller? Or when I see a pregnant woman, full-term, still outside and waddling down the street with her husband and a pair of smiles? Even seeing a mother here in the NICU that is successfully getting milk for thier little one can be grating. I know it’s not their fault that things are going normally for them, as much as it’s not our fault that things are not going normally for us. But it can be hard to keep that in mind and stay positive. It’s hard to keep in mind that outside these walls there is a normal world that is ticking right along. These days I really don’t care much about that and when I have to endure it in between visits to the hospital it can make Daddy a little crazy sometimes. Is that typical? When your whole life shifts and suddenly things that mattered to you one day are so inconsequential the next? I suppose it is typical, given these circumstances, but knowing that doesn’t neccessarily make it any easier.
Your great-grandmother just left. She had a wonderful visit and now feels rejuvenated with her Nyana-meter all topped up. You have that effect on people – profoundly positive – and can instantly turn anyone’s bad day around; you can soften even the edgiest of moods. Trust me, I have experienced it myself first-hand. In mere seconds, I have gone from being an angry mess to drooling fool, completely lost in the blissful softness of your hair or your nose or your shoulders. You have the ability to wipe away a crappy day and replace it with hope, love, and wonder.
I’m going to go in and stare at you now for a little while. I’m going to forget for a few minutes about the world outside, and time is going to slip by so very quickly. Whenever you open your gorgeous, tiny, big dark blue eyes, I will try to be right there for you to see. Any time you stretch your little arms and fingers out, I will try to have my own finger right there for you to grab onto. We’ll be right beside you today, hanging on to your every breath. Our little Babygirl, Munchkin, Chub-Chub, Princess Sunshine.
Our little Nyana.