The Day That Lasted an Eternity- LB Post 8

After LB's eventful birth, her parents open up about the heartache and trials that would follow. This is the 8th post in LB's Journey with Down Syndrome.

And then it happened…

The nurse and I locked eyes,

and I knew what she was going to say.

It had been in the back of my mind all day, all month actually.

I could see the sympathy in her eyes and I knew she didn’t want to tell me that they would have to keep LB in the NICU, but that’s exactly what happened.

Once again, my emotions were thrown for a loop.

I was just given back my baby, letting my guard down – finally enjoying her birth – and in an instant, all that was shattered. She was taken away for the second time.

In her first 12 hours of birth, she had been away from me longer than she had been with me. And that broke my heart.

All I could think about was how she felt. She went from being snug and safe inside her mama to a foreign place, left alone in a crib, only to be touched for examination.

That broke my heart. 

Yes, I knew she probably didn’t even realize all this was going on. I knew she wouldn’t remember this, but it didn’t make the process any easier.

We had company in the room when they wheeled her away, so again – I tried to shift my focus onto them, to engage in conversations and deny myself the time to really process what was going on.

It was a good distraction, but it also didn’t let me handle the situation emotionally. Instead, I locked away the sadness and put on a brave face. (One of my flaws I’ve recently noticed. I don’t like getting emotional in front of people. So while I may seem okay on the outside, in reality, I am slowly breaking down inside — and no one can even tell, sometimes not even myself…)

But they couldn’t stay forever and I would eventually have to face reality.

Everyone left and the room became quiet and empty.

J and I did not talk about LB being gone. I honestly don’t even know if we talked at all.

We were exhausted from the day. In only 12 hours, we had been put through one of the biggest emotional roller coasters of our lives.

As I layed in the bed, I couldn’t believe where the day had ended up.

I had given birth to our sweet LB. I had heard her cries, held her close to me, and had her taken away — all in a day.

Laying there without a baby peacefully resting by my bed felt so wrong. This was not how today was supposed to go.

We had been through so much already during the pregnancy, today was supposed to be the beginning of our happy ending, or so I kept telling myself. I naively thought that she would be born and everything would be okay. Somehow I was thinking that he hardest parts would be behind us – little did I know, they hadn’t even begun.

As the hours ticked away and morning quickly approached, I realized that I hadn’t even slept. I just sat there trying to remember how she felt in my arms. Trying to tell myself that everything would be okay.

I had reached the point where my body was so exhausted, but my mind wouldn’t stop racing. Remembering everything that had gone on, I knew the following day would be just as eventful and I needed to rest. So I asked my nurse for some sleeping medicine; I knew it was the only way I’d get any sleep before our next jolt of reality.

When I woke that morning, I found myself instinctively searching for her. And for a second I was hoping it was all a dream and I’d find her sleeping in our room.

Sometimes, it’s cruel how our heart and minds play these tricks on us, because soon I was

feeling crushed all over again, all I wanted to do was be with her.

We didn’t hesitate. As soon as we woke, I asked for a wheel chair and we were off to see our baby.

Seeing her in that room is a sight I will never forget. Walking by all the other tiny babies just to get to our, compared to them, ginormous chunk seemed so backwards. She looked out of place. I just wanted to put her in my arms and carry her back with me, but I knew I couldn’t.

I knew she needed to be in there for observations. She was still struggling with her oxygen levels and needed to be watched.

When I was finally able to hold her, it felt like a weight had been lifted. And then, with that lifted weight came a new burden all of it’s own. I could now hold her, love on her, and talk to her – but seeing her like that added to the many worries that had been growing in my mind.

As I held her, monitors were going off – beeping warnings at us. While she was in my arms her oxygen levels were decreasing and I felt useless.

You always see on TV and read stories about babies in the NICU being placed in their parents arms and suddenly all these miraculous things begin to happen, and that’s what I was secretly hoping for when I went in there… but it didn’t.

Instead, I felt like I was doing more harm being there with her than good.

And that tore me apart inside.

What was I doing wrong? I am her mother; I’m supposed to be the one bringing her comfort and calming her down.

All these thoughts were swirling in my head and being over powered by the constant beeping coming from the machines telling me that I wasn’t enough for her.

I wasn’t enough for her. 

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t heal her. I couldn’t even help her. There was nothing I could do.

So despite every instinct in my body, I layed her back down in that tank they called a crib and left her there… hooked up to machines, alone in her little corner.

And as I walked away, I quietly broke inside.

Our day went on. We had guests, people coming to congratulate us on a baby we couldn’t even see.

Again, I pushed away every emotion I could and put on a brave face.

Family and friends tried their best to keep us company. They were awesome. Without their distraction I don’t want to think where my emotions would’ve taken me.

I didn’t cry that day, well, not in front of anyone at least. Actually, that’s a lie – my nurse caught me.

With all our guests, I didn’t have time to myself to cry, except for once.

Around lunchtime, J and his parents went out of the room to venture into the cafe. They questioned leaving me alone, but I assured them I would be fine. Honestly, I wanted them to leave, because after they left, the room was empty, completely empty. And I felt like I could breathe.  

I gazed out the window and thought of her. Wondering what she was doing, if anyone was holding her or talking to her — or if she was completely alone, like me.

All I wanted to do was hold her against my chest, skin-to-skin. That was one thing I told myself I was going to do with her, that I didn’t do a lot of with my others, and I hadn’t even gotten the chance yet. She was officially one day old, and I never got to lay her on my chest and feel that sense of peace with her.

I just sat in bed crying and imagining what it would be like to be holding her in that moment.

The day passed. People came in and out. That’s about all I remember from the day. I lived that day in a fog. Time ticked away but also stood still.

We visited LB a couple times throughout the day, and each time they told us she’d be coming back to the room in “a few hours.” But a few hours would pass and there would be no sight of her.

J didn’t leave my side, or the room, unless he absolutely had to; but, when dinner time came around he slipped out to get a quick bite to eat.

Once again, I found myself alone in the comfort of an empty room.

Just when I began to let my mind settle down, there was a knock at the door.

It was 5 o’clock, I’ll never forget the time because I remember looking at her and looking back at the clock thinking — that was a long “few hours”

As the nurse came in smiling, wheeling her over to me, I remember hesitantly asking, “She can stay?!”

I could feel myself beaming. I could feel my smile reaching ear-to-ear. But most of all, I could feel my heart singing.

I really could. If a heart can sing, mine did in that moment.

I’ve never felt more happy in all my life.

She brought her crib over next to my bed and left.

I stared at her in awe. She was perfect.

This was the moment I had been waiting for

And I did what any mother in 2016 would do: I snapchatted J a picture of her with the caption, “Look what I’ve got!!” (; 

Then I reached into her crib, placed her in my arms, and thanked God she was with me once again.

 

 

 

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