Updated: Feb 4, 2021
I took this photo on day two in the NICU. I was still in shock about what had happened. Elias was supposed to be born peacefully at home. Instead he came at 31 weeks via cesarean under general anesthesia due to placental abruption. We both nearly died. I couldn’t hold him at this point and could only place my hands gently on him. Everything was terrifying and new. People would talk to me and tell me things and I couldn’t retain any of it. The only thing swirling through my mind was how bad my baby was suffering. So many needles and tubes and machines and beeps. Oh God, so many beeps. I felt powerless to comfort him.
I felt so alone sitting next to my baby’s isolette. Absolutely, utterly alone. The devastation of the situation consumed me. No one could understand the cocktail of feelings I was trying to survive. I noticed how worn this arm rest was and I suddenly felt wrapped in the love of all the mothers who had sat in this rocker before me. Who had sobbed right here in this exact spot. They heard bad news from scans and lab results, but also, they rejoiced when good news and improvements were heard while sitting right here. They squeezed every last drop of liquid gold they could out of their breasts. Same as me, doing the only practical thing I could to feel needed by my baby. I made up their stories in my mind. Tiny babies, sick babies, but mostly strong and brave babies. I saw their faces. I could feel their hurt. And I knew I wasn’t alone. I didn’t know if I’d ever be okay or if my baby would be okay but I knew I wasn’t alone. And that was all I needed in that moment.