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Miracle – Part 5

December 5, 2007

Continued from Miracle – Part 4

At this point, I was grateful to still be at the hospital. It felt right that we should both be there together. I could go up the hallway any time day or night, then return to my bed and rest. It was wonderful.

After so many days apart, I had so much to learn about my son. I memorized all of the features of his face, while I held him as he slept. I traced the tiny lines in his hands, rubbed the soft soles of his feet, learned how to hold him, how to lay my hand on the back of his head in the soothing way he liked best. I fed him, changed him, wrapped him, and rocked him. We rocked for hours.

At 4 pounds, 7 ounces (and less in the few days after he was born), he was so very tiny… and thin. Because babies put most of their weight on in the last four weeks, and because babies born to mothers with severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP are typically low birth weight, he didn’t have any baby fat at all. He was long–19 1/2 inches–but so skinny.

The lack of baby fat made him look like a wise little old man sometimes, particularly when his dark blue eyes (that I just knew would turn brown) were open. One of my good friends said she was sure he had an old soul. I think so, too.

By the Friday following his birth, I was released. I wasn’t ready. Physically, I was much improved. My blood pressure was normal, my blood counts were normal, I had no incisions from which to recover. But I was far from ready to leave him at the hospital. Just a few more days, the pediatricians said.

For me, leaving without him was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. My doctor advised me to take the time he stayed in the NICU to get some good rest. He assured me that my little guy would be in good hands during the night, and that I needed all of the recovery time and rest I could get. I was absolutely exhausted, so I took his advice.

I went several times a day to visit, to feed him, to hold him, to just be with him. I felt overwhelmed with guilt every time I walked out the doors of the hospital alone. The routine became grueling. My parents had finished his nursery for me and his things were all there, waiting for him to come home. Christmas was just around the corner. I worried that we would not have his first Christmas at home, with us. I couldn’t bear the thought.

The week after his birthday became 10 days, and then 12. He gained weight and was 4 pounds 14 ounces on the 13th day–the day he was finally able to maintain his blood sugar and body temperature on his own. I rejoiced!

The next day, fully two weeks after he was born, he was able to leave. Finally, the moment I had been waiting for since I first found out I was pregnant with him. I tucked him into the carseat, with no leads, no monitors, no alarms, and we drove away from the hospital.

As I looked back through the rear window of the car and watched the hospital get smaller and smaller, I remembered the moment that I first felt him kick inside of me. I was in Miami, on a trip for work, in a rental car in front of my hotel. I remembered my hand instinctively reaching to my belly, and the smile that stole across my lips as I realized that fluttering was him.

I remembered the times I would watch him roll inside my belly, my skin stretching until I was sure I could see an elbow or a knee sticking out. I remembered the first ultrasound at 10 weeks, when he was so tiny we could barely make him out. I remembered hearing his heartbeat for the first time. I remembered the time he kicked so hard that my shirt flew out from my stomach. I remembered finding out that he would be a boy. I remembered praying that he would be healthy and strong.  I remembered so many moments with him before I ever saw his face.

I thought back to that grainy ultrasound, a little over two weeks prior. I marveled at his face then and I marveled at his face now, so peaceful in slumber. I thought back to the fear, to the anguish of being separated from him. No longer. All of that time, I waited to know him. All of that time I waited to take him home.

From this day on, I had a lifetime.

My miracle, indeed.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2007 8:19 am

    Wouldn’t it be neat for your son to read this when he gets older, or when he someday may have a child of his own?

  2. December 5, 2007 8:40 am

    This is one of your best posts, this Miracle series. I think it would be great, per Smirking Cat’s idea, to even print it out and include the pictures in a book – that I know you would be so good at doing – and give it to him someday. What a mom.

  3. December 5, 2007 11:00 am

    What a wonderful recollection of this miraculous experience. You’re such a great mom. And, a wonderful writer to be able to express and convey the emotion with such clarity. Great post my friend.

  4. Lynda permalink
    December 5, 2007 11:16 am

    Oh how blessed you are with your little miracle, even to this day! And oh how blessed we are that you chose to share this intimate look at your ordeal with us, your faithful readers, friends and family. I hope you do write a book someday, and I hope you include this chapter of your life in it.

  5. December 5, 2007 1:07 pm

    You painted the most beautiful picture known to man, motherhood and the miracle of birth. Thanks for sharing such an intimate portrait with your readers.

    I must admit, I’m so very jealous for I so want to hold and see my son.

  6. December 5, 2007 6:50 pm

    YOU ROCK! Thanks for the beautiful story. =)

  7. December 5, 2007 7:45 pm

    this part of the story…it made my cry!
    take care!

  8. tulips4me permalink
    December 6, 2007 6:08 pm

    You are killing me! Pass the tissue!

  9. December 7, 2007 12:06 am

    What a beautifully written memory of the past! Wonderful writing on your part and a miraculous story indeed.

  10. December 7, 2007 11:13 am

    Beautiful! You had me in tears the whole time. :: hugs ::

  11. March 6, 2008 10:02 pm

    I’m crying as if this just happened yesterday. Don’t know how I missed this post before, but MAN oh MAN what you went through was crazy! I’m so glad you pulled through and everything worked out okay!

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story!

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