Today I was thinking about the first time I held him. Movies always show that amazing moment that the new mom and dad bond with their child for the first time. The baby barely an hour old, mom looking a bit ragged, and dad looking awed. This isn’t a moment my husband and I had.
My husband took our family up to the NICU to see him while I was still recovering from the anesthesia and the catheter. When they finally let me go up a few hours later, he was fast asleep looking so small under the oxygen hood with wires going everywhere. For 3 days I was repeatedly told by the nurses that I could not hold my son. His oxygen would rise, and then plummet again. Then he couldn’t keep his glucose levels up. He went from having an IV in his hand to one going through his belly button. Couple this with wild hormones and you have quite the mess on your hands. Being on the maternity recovery floor and passing the nursery window, hearing the new babies cry in their mother’s rooms, and lack of sleep due to being poked and prodded every couple hours was pure torture.
Finally, in the afternoon on the third day, I got the answer I had been begging for. The nurse told us they were taking him out of the oxygen hood and putting a cannula on him instead, that we would be able to hold him that afternoon. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. My husband told me (and I was not allowed to argue) that we would go back to our room to take a bit of a nap, and then go back up when it was time. I didn’t nap… but I nibbled on some food, got poked some more, and watched the clock.
It was finally time. We got up there, they had me sit in a rocking chair next to his warming tray, and then I realized something. I was scared. I’m afraid of the wires and of hurting him. I’m afraid I’ll be terrible at this. But the nurse carefully took him out of the tray, put him in my arms, and arranged his wires so I could rock without snagging them. Finally. I was holding my son. The little bundle of joy that I had spent the last 9 months dreaming of what he would be like. The feeling of finally snuggling him in my arms and watching him sleep was beyond anything I could imagine. The only thing that was even better, was watching my husband hold and talk to him.
Simply put it was the longest 3 days of my life. But it was well worth it.