Friday, May 26, 2017

A Letter to Cyan at 10 Days Old

Dear Cyan,

I want you home. I want you snuggled in my arms, not for a half hour or an hour at a time, but for an afternoon, cozy on the couch, watching you breathe. Watching you make silly faces and cute noises. Not watching you with a tube down your throat, with leads attached to you to monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse-ox, getting your day-glo-colored nutrition through an IV. Not watching them take more blood, do another ultrasound, take you away for a lumbar puncture. I have to just let them do it, because no one knows what's wrong with you. And all I want to do is grab you and run away with you and bring you home.

You've never been here, but I feel your absence. Your bottles are washed and ready. The stroller sits in the corner, Your car seat is in the car, ready for your first ride. Your crib is set up, filled with stuffed animals and special blankets. Periwinkle put one of hers in there for you. Every day, pretty much, she cries, "I want my baby. I want him home." And after she and Indigo are in bed, I cry too, many days. I have never felt so helpless in my life. In the middle of the night I am tempted to go back to the hospital, because you shouldn't be alone. You should have your mommy and your daddy with you. And it kills me that you are in that room without us so many hours of the day and night.

And as much as I feel your absence, sometimes it feels like none of the past nine months ever happened. Like I didn't do hundreds of blood thinner injections to get you here safely. Like I didn't spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter blissfully happy that you were coming. Like you aren't real.

And I know this isn't our first rodeo with the NICU. But somehow it's different. Last time we had one baby home, and a hurricane raging, and definitive goals for Periwinkle to meet. This time it's "We don't know"; "He looks so healthy"; "The tests aren't showing anything wrong." This time it's "Wait and see," and all I picture is you never getting better.

Everyone reassures me you will. And I know there are babies in that NICU worse off than  you are. But it feels like life is on pause until you are home. Everyone wants to hear how you are getting better, and I feel even more helpless, and hopeless, every time I have to respond that nothing has changed, or that that one step forward has become two steps back. I want to hole up somewhere and just hold you and love you until you are better. And I can't. And I'm sorry.