Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thoughts from the NICU

Last week I flew to Baltimore to visit a dear friend of mine. She adopted a baby who was born at 29 weeks and has been in the NICU at Johns Hopkins for 6-7 weeks. Her family is back here, and she was very lonely and homesick. We had a great visit; lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, pedicures, and lots of time sitting in the NICU.

It was sad in NICU--very sick babies, in need of major medical care. There were probably close to 40 babies total. And more than that--babies with parents who don't visit very often. Ronna pointed out babies whose parents she had NEVER seen in 6-7 weeks, and I wanted to scoop them up and rock them for hours. I understand there may be circumstances I'm not aware of, but seriously--how can you leave your tiny baby in NICU and never come visit?

As I usually do, I gave the babies around Isaiah nicknames. Snorty McSnortason was next to him; he was actually a full-term baby but still needed to be in NICU. He made strange snorting noises when he cried, which was often. His dad was obviously a first-time dad, and my heart broke watching him try to comfort his son when he had no idea how to do it.

Chicken Baby was on the other side of Isaiah; she looked like a baby chicken.She was also very pale, and both her parents were African-American. Hmmm....

Cat Girl was on the other side of Snorty; she was tiny, and when she cried she sounded just like a cat meowing. I was happy to see her parents come to visit the last night I was there.

Lung Girl was on the other side of the room, and I named her Lung Girl because that girl could CRY like no one's business. Usually with one arm out of her blankets flailing around. 

This morning, both girls ended up in bed with me and Bobby because of the storms. I was squashed between the two of them, who kept rolling around and throwing elbows into my head. But I just laid there wide awake and drank up the moment--my girls are healthy and strong, and they are home with me. I don't have to stay at the Ronald McDonald House while my child goes through a clinic to learn how to eat.  My two-week baby doesn't have tumors filling her chest and face. My kids were able to come home with me from the hospital, and didn't have to stay in the NICU.

I am so thankful and so blessed.

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