...I gave birth for the second time. Little One has made the halfway mark of her first year! I remember the day (night) so clearly. The red light we ran to get to the hospital. Staring at the stupid light on the ceiling in the delivery room. The anesthesiologist trying to convince me not to get an epidural. Little One making her entrance. The overwhelming, indescribable wave when I held her the first time. The wait to get her back after she went to the nursery. The doctor telling me she was going to the NICU. The guilt that I hadn't called my doctor sooner when I thought my water was leaking.
I'm finally starting to get over the guilt. Our journey as a family of 4 didn't start out as I had planned. Big One didn't get to cuddle with his new baby sister in my room the way I had imagined (but he did get to cuddle with me). He was able to see her once through the glass of the NICU. He cried the 5 days she was in the NICU, asking for her to wake up and come home with us (she had been sleeping when he saw her so he thought we were waiting for her to wake up before she could come home).
Little One stayed in the hospital 2 extra days so I spent the nights with her in her room. While at the hospital with her, I wanted to be home with Big One. When home with Big One, I wanted to be at the hospital with Little One. Really, I just wanted us to be together. A family. I can't imagine how the mamas whose babies spend weeks or months in the NICU must feel.
I remember at 2am staring out the hospital window. A traffic light blinked from red to green to yellow and back to red. I watched cars driving on the freeway. I remember thinking, "I'm not the only one awake right now. There are other people up right now, but they want to be up. They're drinking and partying. Are they crazy?"
Then there was the bili light night. I imagine it was the equivalent of trying to sleep on the sun. The thin hospital blanket did little to block the glow that lit her room all. night. long.
It seems so long ago. Yet it seems like yesterday.
Despite the bumps in the road, I know we are lucky. Every night, I walked the length of the corridor in the NICU to Little One's room. The walls proudly displayed pictures of NICU graduates then and now. Tiny babies, clinging to life. And the vibrant, healthy children they grew into. Little One's stint in the NICU was more precautionary than anything else. Our story has a very happy ending. The grinning, giggling 6 month old I get to cuddle every day is the proof.
Happy 6 month birthday, Little One!