I feel like I think about her constantly.
As much as I could sit and look at her whole self for hours, for some reason, it's her hair that has me completely enthralled. Maybe because her hair is something that I can relate to.
Her body is so small, and her limbs are so slight...she has no fat on her body; that would have come later in her development in utero, so she just doesn't have it yet,
But her hair? It's as soft and sweet as any new baby's hair could ever be. I find myself drawn to it, wanting to touch and caress it and to cradle her little head. Other than the tubes running down her throat to help her eat and breathe, her head and face are unobscured, unlike her body that has lines and stickers all over it, making me nervous to touch it for fear that I might disturb something.
Right now, her hair is very dark, but I find myself wondering what it will look like as she gets bigger. Will it be light and wispy like Jesse's? Slightly darker and ringlet curly like Gabriel's? Dark and fine like Jo's...or dark and incredibly think like Elizabeth's? Will she be our black haired child to match her father? Or lighter like me?
Looking at her is to survey the incredible miracle that is the fusing of two people...picking up this trait or that trait and making a unique human being that is not a whole of one or the other, but a glorious combination of the both. Of course, all children are that, a one made up of two, but to see it happening before my eyes, this slow development of being, a shedding of light on a process that should be darkly hidden, makes it all the more obvious and notable.
I know that some people who have babies in the NICU go in armed with an artillery of questions for the nurses: has she gained weight? what are her numbers? how is her oxygen? how much did she eat? head circumference? tummy size?...on and on with specifics of how their baby is doing...living.
Does it then make me a less attentive parent if I go in not with those questions but with the basic questions of how is she doing? did she eat? poop? how's her breathing? and then just to sit and listen to the nurses tell me about her. She was angry today when I changed her...she was happy when I put her on her tummy to sleep...she was agitated or uncomfortable or happy or alert...
yes...tell me that. Show me that you love my baby and are attentive to her not just her numbers and help me get to know the her that is her since you get to be here all day with my love and I only get small snippets. Help me learn my baby because long after the machines stop whirring and beeping, she will be ours with us and I want to know who she is from the very beginning, I want to learn her inside and out.
Don't get me wrong, I do have my questions, some of them questions that have never been asked in the NICU before (will her taking narcotics daily for pain due to her intubation now cause withdrawal when she is taken off of them? Will she be the only one year old in NA...'Hi, my name is Hazel, and I have a problem...) ...I'm sure the nurses love me for that!...but for the most part, the numbers and percentages are something that I have only a rudimentary understanding of, and so I would rather look at the whole of her that makes up my baby Hazel than worry about the slight changes in this or that. That's why the nurses are there, right?
Tell me the milestones. Speak my language and tell me she's improving or she has a hurdle to get over and I will praise God for her achievements and pray over her challenges.
And today? She is doing well. She is holding steady, weaning only slowly off her breathing apparatus.
But she's right on par with what is expected of her.
She's tiny and perfect and strong...
and she's a Flores girl, so she's feisty like the rest of us...
just ask the nurses!