I know I saw your face.
Your sweet little bundled up face, safe in the arms of my caring midwife. I know it happened, but I don’t actually remember what that moment looked like. I know I saw you before life started to come crashing down, but I don’t remember the visual image of that moment. I wish I knew why my brain did not register that very moment. Maybe because the expectation was there to see you soon. To hold you. Maybe because everything that happened after that moment completely overwhelmed the entire experience. I don’t know. What I do know is that I really, really want that moment. I want that memory, because everything after is not how things were supposed to be.
The first moment I remember seeing you, you were hooked up to all those machines. I hate that my brain is letting that be my first memory of you. There you were, so tiny, hooked up to a machine ten times your size keeping you alive.
In that moment we didn’t even know yet just how much you were fighting. Words like “expected” “normal” and “not uncommon” were thrown around as they transitioned you from oxygen, to cpap to being intubated. You hadn’t been quite ready to make your entrance into this world yet, and they said you needed some time. I accepted that, because what else was I supposed to do.
I also remember, very clearly, the doctor walking into my room, asking me where your daddy was. The look on her face was terrifying. In that moment I thought that either you hadn’t won your fight or that something was terribly wrong. In that moment we found out that your sweet little heart was struggling. I was alone. It didn’t matter that the doctor and midwife were there. I felt alone, overcome with fear and uncertainty. When your daddy walked back into the room – he had left to fuel up the car because we knew you’d be transferred to another hospital while your lungs strengthened (or so they thought) – all I could mutter was “it’s his heart. something is wrong with his heart.” In that moment, it felt like something was wrong with my heart too.
I remember mustering up the strength to get into a wheelchair to come see you before they would fly you away. Your fingers were so long. Maybe you’ll play piano one day. Your sweet little nose. They let you wear this cute blue hat my midwife brought for you. The only thing normal about this whole ordeal.
I remember the transport team being so comforting. He told us that he would treat you like you were his own, and I knew he would. You were in the second best hands you could be. I remember hearing that helicopter take off. With you inside. While my arms were aching, empty, longing to hold you and make you okay.
I remember so much. But I don’t remember seeing your sweet little bundled up face for the very first time, before life came crashing down.