Today my sweet little Miss is one-month-old.
And the truth is, I think I am finally starting to feel like I can breathe.
The truth is, I have been a wreck. A train wreck. An enormously huge holy-shit-that train-completely-derailed-itself wreck. And I haven't been able to breathe. Like the really alive kind of breathing.
You see, the NICU is not for the faint of heart. My girl has done amazingly well. But there have still been hard talks. Talks between doctors and nurses and mom standing off to the side. Talks about heart rates too high, oxygen levels too low, too many apnea episodes during a shift, temperatures too low, skin color just off. Really hard talks. And monitors. Monitors that stare at you and blink at you and beep at you. All. Day. Long.
So you stop breathing.
And you hold in your terror.
Because you're afraid if you let it out, you might just never recover.
Then the talks change. The talks change to good weight gain, less apnea episodes, and signs of wanting to eat. So you take a moment to reflect on where she's been in order to embrace where she's going, and what you realize is this:
She started here...
And we are currently here...
And this all happened in between...
A little reflection is always important, I suppose. Because we have come a long way in just one month. A really long way. We now have a 3 pound, 8 ounce, wanting-to-eat and loving-to-stare-into-your-eyes baby girl. She is perfection. Perfection that is growing and making strides and doing ridiculously well.
I thought there for a while I was never going to breathe again. I can be a bit dramatic. The NICU doesn't help that.
Leaving babies doesn't help that either. Because no matter which way I going, the truth is, I am leaving behind a baby.
And it devastates me. It breaks my heart. Hospital isn't home. Home isn't home. It is so hard there aren't even words. And yet, at the same time, I know how very lucky I am to have babies to go to. So that is where I try to live. In that space.
And I think, at the end of this day, breathing is finally coming back to me - and it began with a bath and a onesie. Yes, a bath and a onesie. Not for me. For her.
You might not know this, but a bath and a onesie can do a mama some good. Two nights ago, the Miss got her very first bath. And there was something so healing about that moment for me. So healing, I felt like maybe I could breathe again.
A baby in a bath. My baby in a bath. It was like real life. A glimpse into what real life might look like and feel like. I breathed for the first time in 29 days that day. And I have breathed since then, too, although there are still moments when I am afraid to.
But I am working on it.
For the boys.
All in the hopes that someday soon, our picture will be complete.
Me. Him. Them. Her.