Saturday, September 25, 2010

Look At Me NOW!

That is the theme I saw tonight as I walked the very looonnnnng seemingly never ending halls of this particular NICU. You guessed it ...this whole post is all about triggers, so beware.
There were posters of child after child holding their preemie baby pictures while smiling proudly. It was clear by the faces of these adorable kids that their parents have told them all their lives what miracles they are and what odds they overcame. So why was I there? My husband's friends had a baby yesterday... we went to see him....and might I add WHAT WAS I THINKING!!!???  I was having a good day today and thought, well he is a boy and I can probably handle it. I've known for about 7 months that this and a few other babies are going to be born between now and January. So to myself I said, "Time to be a big girl Michelle, it's been a year, you should try to look at another's newborn, it might not be as hard as you imagine." Well it was harder. I did fine going into the mom's room, but as it came time to go see baby boy another couple we've never met were visiting as well. As we walked those halls the new-to-us-guy said, "Wow look at these babies, they are SO tiny!" I caught a glimpse just as he was making the statement and I felt the heat rise in my cheeks. ( I get beet red when nervous, anxious, sad, mad-anything intense at all) I was walking looking straight ahead and I would see poster after poster on both sides but trying so hard not to focus in on them, for fear that I might fall apart.  They would pass one by one, but I wouldn't allow myself to turn my head to really see them, that was just my peripheral. You see, we were under the impression that he was in the part of the nursery that needed extra care because he has some fluid on his brain, but no. As we were making our way down those halls my wonderful husband points out to new guy that our daughter was about that size ( I assume pointing to one of the pictures) and that she was only 1 lb. 13 oz. ect. ect. It was a bittersweet symphony to my ears. On one hand I was so happy to hear him tell her story but on the other I just wanted to focus on the baby who is alive down one of these long freeekin halls! When we arrived, the mom proudly boasted that he was the  "biggest baby in here" and "can you believe there are 50 babies in this NICU!"  I felt like I had to do something painful like get a shot, inside I was saying lets get in and get out, get this over with already so I can get the hell outta here! Am I happy for them -of course I am! I just didn't prepare for all the comments that would make me think of all of us. I had to stand, I couldn't sit down- I tried but I needed to feel the pressure in my feet- I don't know maybe to balance the pressure I felt in my face. I really thought it might catch fire! I positioned myself to be the furthest from the baby, I had no intention of holding him, nor did I. Between the complaints of how long they had to stay (standard 3days) to how bad it sucks that big sister had to wear a mask because she had a nervous cough, I wanted to get outta there. As us ladies were talking the dad pipes up "Hey ladies, us guys are going to head downstairs and let you visit."
I quickly rained on that parade, shot my husband the look, and said,"we gotta go let our dogs out" -classic excuse. Then of course I heard,"oh, you don't want to hold the baby?" Me- " No, no baby holding for me, we really need to get going, just wanted to stop by and see him though."
I can't imagine holding any baby but my own, I just can't do it.
I was so thankful for my husband tonight, when the dad was complaining about staying overnight again, Jamie said , "Yeah try like 11 nights dude."
And I wanted to say, AND....not get to bring your baby home!
And when the mom said more than once how amazed that there are 50 babies in the NICU, my mind would wander to the question of how many might die, a reality that this couple cannot begin to grasp (thankfully for them).
And at the mention of wearing a mask for a not-cold-related cough, of course I was thinking, "You self-centered people have no idea that a lot of these babies are hanging on by a thread and IF your kid  hacked her germs all through these halls and killed a baby you'd never know, you wouldn't be the one losing sleep over it, the parents would all the while you get to bring your "normal" sized, healthy baby who just needed a little monitoring home. So suck it up, hell why don't we all wear a mask, we don't know if we are carrying a virus!"
As we left I looked a little bit closer at my peripheral  vision of the posters and thought how awful that none of our babies can say,"look at me now!"  growing all big and strong. I really need this to not send me to the couch for days. I've already eaten too many oreos to mention while I wrote this post...that is one of my coping skills-eating anything that contains chocolate.


  1. I know that had to be a heartwrenching walk to and from. I admire your bravery. It takes a lot to put your feelings and hurts aside to even just go in to visit. I am just sending you love and hoping that you find comfort and peace from such a hard day soon. ((HUGS))

  2. Wow! I am so sorry you had to go though that! Did this couple know your story? I can't believe they would even invite you to that ward if they did. Hard enough to see a new baby for you but harder in that place.
    Saddly until people have gone through tragedy or have been close to someone who has then they just don't have the understanding or sensitivity.
    I am so glad that your Honey was there for you! ...and the oreos! :-)

  3. Michelle, One of my favorite coping skills is eating an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie ice cream in one sitting - I'm doing that right now. Not a good day for me.

    I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. ((hugz)) You're stronger than you think! Hang in there!


  4. Major (*HUGS*) It must have been very difficult, and I'm sorry you were faced with so many triggers.

  5. So sorry that others can be so insensitive to how difficult that experience would be for you! Hugs!

    I also wanted to let you know that I gave your blog an award. Check out my blog for details. No pressure as far as I'm concerned though whether you pass it on or not. Just wanted to share your site with others!


  6. That's rough. Whenever I have a hard experience like that, I think well at least doing that for the first time is over. Hopefully the next time will be easier.

  7. I know you wrote this a long time ago... But this really hit home to me! I have a 2 year old that was in nicu for a week (he was born full-term with an infection) and I have another son who died because he was too young to be helped. All these comments really registered with me. I also live in Iowa, I live in Des Moines. I found your blog on the Faces of Loss website.