Monday, July 12, 2010

Olivia Joy

My Hgb was 9.1 this morning. I thought I might get to go home- was actually advocating for my own discharge- but the doctor wanted me to stay and recheck my labs in the morning.

Twice today, I walked over to Children's to see Olivia. I learned that her length at birth was 16 inches. A ruler plus 4. I think I have had dolls that were bigger. She has lost some weight, as most babies do for a few days, so today she is just over 3 pounds. I don't know what to compare that with- a small bag of sugar is 5 pounds. I just know she feels like a feather. Her bilirubin is edging up-also common- so she is under bili-lights to help her clear it.

I got to hold her for an hour this evening. As she grows, I will get to hold her for longer periods of time. For now, she still needs time to finish up the growing she would have done inside of me, so the NICU tries to mimic that warm, calm, secure environment while minimizing disruptions and stress. Stress is work- it costs energy. The energy needed to grow. It's like having a window into those final weeks of a pregnancy... and a door. I am still part of it, but in a different way. Not better. Not worse. Just different. She needs this time. It is her time. I will not rush her, will not intrude. I will quietly, gently let her know I am here- she is not alone.

As I hold her, she opens her eyes and looks at me... I wonder if she knows how unlikely- her very existence, me sitting here holding her. I wonder if she can feel how precious she is to me. Tests, drugs, radiation, chemo, fear, doubt- things I would not wish on anyone. This tiny girl braved them with me. Her hand reaches out and she wraps her entire hand around one joint on one of my fingers. I am wise not to judge her based on her size. The hope she gave me is bigger- more vast- than anything I can imagine. From out of nowhere, this tiny, tiny girl jumped right into the middle of my life... and she saved me.

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