So, as is always the case, the world has found a way to come along and slap me across the face and force me to see the world in a different light. I learned the grim news earlier this week that of the six rooms in our ward, there are currently three rooms housing babes who will very likely not live to see their 5th birthday. It’s questionable whether they’ll ever even get to see the blue sky. All three of them were born full term, and in a strange coincidence, two of them are to 15-year old mums. The maternal grandmothers of each of these babies must stand vigil by the bedside, because the mother herself is not legally old enough to consent to any treatment for her child.
I’ve been thinking often these days about Baby Neema, too, and how I’m certain her Mum would gladly spend my two hundred days—double or even triple that if she had to—if it meant a different outcome for her precious angel. I see babies come and go with physical or mental disabilities that the families will have to endure for years to come, and sadly, many mothers who are here because they didn’t give their pregnancy the respect it deserved. In the grand scheme of things, with all the heartache and uncertainty that so many parents must put up with in this nursery, who am I—with my baby who gets to come home with us eventually; my baby who will outgrow her sick lungs and have only this blog and a mountain of photos to remind her of her incredible beginning—who am I to complain about what I have?
So in an effort to prove to everyone—or perhaps to prove to myself—that it’s not all misery and frustration here in the NICU, I have compiled a (small) list of things that aren’t so bad about this place.
- The people. There are more than 200 nurses on staff in the NICU and at 201 days, we’re reaching the end of the line. It’s not often that I walk in on a bedside nurse that I’ve not seen before, at least in passing if not assigned to Nyana. Pile on the neonatologists and the pediatricians and the respiratory therapists and the cleaning staff, and that’s a whole lotta people to meet in one hospital stay. Most of these people have been wonderful to Don and me—and I’m thankful to each one of them who has had a part in helping Nyana thrive as much as she has—and I know that many of them who I’ve come to care about personally will remain a part of the stories we tell Nyana for years to come.
To come from not even knowing if we’d ever bring her home, to counting down the days until we do is truly amazing, and I’m going to savour every moment I can with her, every day until the tables turn and she begins to savour every moment with me. Our experience on this roller coaster may not have taught me patience yet, but interestingly, it has taught me to stop and smell the roses. For all of my 30 years I’ve thought that was a metaphor for patience, not for appreciating the small things. Perspective, I guess.