May 21st. Part 4

My room quickly fills with people. My parents, sisters, Mike’s parents, Sean & Rene. They’re trying to make me smile. Wanting to hear all of the details. I’m running on steam & that adrenaline, so I just start talking. That’s what I know. How to talk. So I talk. I remember hearing Sean say you look so strong. Like I could run a marathon. My mom returns with some soup for me. I hadn’t eaten since 10 that morning & my body was starving.

The pediatrician on call comes into my room to give me some more information. Mike comes in with her. He had gone home to change his clothes & pack a bag to go to Buffalo. This is the first time I’ve really seen him since I got the news she was going to Buffalo. She tells me that the NICU transport team should be there soon & that once they are here I won’t be able to see Emma until she’s in the incubator. Her and the nurse tell me they’re taking me to see her. I get situated in the wheelchair and the nurse wheels me to the nursery. The chair won’t fit through the door so I have to walk. I was in pain. But I would have ran if it meant I got to see Emma.

As soon as I saw her, I lost it. If it wasn’t for Mike having his hand on my back, I think I might have fallen over. The dr notices and brings me a chair to sit in. Mike asks if they can open the curtains so that our family can see her, because up to this point Emma was in the secluded nursery & the curtains were drawn so that people couldn’t see her. They agree.

My mom comes in with her camera & they say I can hold her. The nurse pumping her oxygen tells me just how adorable Emma is. I remember thanking her over & over again for giving my girl breath. Emma’s chest was so shallow. The dip was low & got lower with every breath she took.

The nurse asked what color hat I wanted her to wear & places one on her head. She then puts Emma in my arms.

Oh the joy. The complete joy. I’m not sure how I didn’t crumble into a ball of tears. But I knew my time with her was fleeting and I didn’t want to waste it with blurry eyes. With tears blocking my view of her. She grabbed my finger. She didn’t open her eyes. Her little body was working so, so hard to breathe. She felt so small in my arms. So weak.

The transport team arrives and starts explaining everything that’s going to happen. They are going to intubate her. Put a tube down her throat. Strap her into this plastic box. Wheel her to their van. Drive to Buffalo. Give her formula because she needs calories. Give her a medicine to strengthen her lungs.

I’m in a whole other world as they’re talking. All I hear is emptiness. All I see is a cold box. A cold box that will soon hold my baby. A cold box that will get to do something I won’t be able to that night.

The transport nurse gives me a little fleece blanket & tells me to sleep with it on my chest. It’s called a remember rag and I’m supposed to get my smell on it so that when I’m reunited with Emma, they can place it in her crib. To provide comfort & get her used to my smell. 

They tell me I can stay while they work, so I step aside. This is when the tears start. The Olean nurse comes up behind me and gives me a blanket. The pediatrician comes to me and says I think you should go back to your room. Say your goodbye now. I don’t want you to see this. I don’t want your last images of your baby to be of her getting hooked up to more machines and put in that box.

I bend down and kiss my girls forehead. I ask Jesus to be with her. To protect her. To keep her breathing.

Mike walks me out of the nursery & pass our family that’s standing in the hallway. I don’t think the feeling of emptiness can get any worse, yet it does. I can see the looks on their faces. The pain. The concern. The worry. The peace. The prayers. But I want nothing more than to run past them and ball myself in a corner.

I get a few moments alone in my room before my family comes in. Sean says it’s time to pray. We hold hands & he pleads with the Lord to be with Emma. To be with the dr’s. The nurses. The drivers. And with me. And Mike.

The pediatrician comes in and says they’re just about finished and asks me to sign a release form. It’s late at this point. Everyone leaves. Hugging me on their way out. Reassuring me that things are going to be fine. Promising to pray.

I don’t quite remember if I saw Emma again. I remember standing in my room. In Mike’s arms. Crying. Listening to him tell me this must be a dream. A horrible dream. This can’t be happening. Our baby is not about to get taken away. I can see his pain. He has been so incredibly strong the entire day. And there in the quiet of my room, he breaks. I don't know how to explain any of this. I don't have any desire to experience that moment ever again. To stand there, watching my husband struggle to find air. Struggle to understand what is going on. He wants so badly to take me with him, but demands I get myself right back in bed and rest. He promises to text me as soon as they're in Buffalo. He promises that God is still good. And still in control. Always.

We pray. And he walks out of my room. To get in his moms car. To follow our girl.

And I’m left alone. Again.









to be continued…

1 comment:

Claire Flores said...

OH Liz, I remember feeling so much of the same feelings. It's such a difficult thing to go through as a mom... when you said you remember seeing that empty box and knowing that that would do something for your baby that you couldn't that night... ugh I remember those same feelings. I remember them telling me Hunter wasn't even healthy enough for an incubator.. he had to be on an open bed so people could get access to him constantly. I remember I never thought I'd wish my baby could be in an incubator. It's all so scary and intense. I can't imagine it happening after my first birth--there are so many emotions to process after birth itself... at least I'd done it a couple of times before doing it so traumatically. I'm so sorry this was your first. She is beautiful though Liz, and your love for her is evident through all this act of writing down her story.