Baby Hazel has been having a lot of secretions from her lungs, and it turns out that she has an infection again.
Baby Hazel has pneumonia.
My youngest daughter, Hazel Grace, turns one month old tomorrow...
and I have never held her in my arms, never held her to my breast, never bathed her, never changed a blow-out diaper, never woken up at 3AM to feed and rock her...
All of the highs of having a new baby are not mine...
and oh, how I wish to be able to join in the chorus on complaints of diapers and midnight feedings of a newborn baby, but...
no. It is not to be. Not yet.
But when? Ever?
She still lies in her plastic fish tank isolette with oxygen, steroids and antibiotics being pumped into her chest, and milk being threaded down her throat and IV's and sensors hanging off every limb,
and I still lie at home with an empty crib by the bed and an aching space in my heart.
Her blood gases were not so good today, so she still sits at the same pressure on the jet ventilator.
I went to see her this morning, and then I took all the kids to the farmers' market to see our farmer friend whom we have not seen since almost the beginning of the summer, and we stopped by the bank and then we ate lunch and napped and played in the rain,
but a part of my mind constantly turns toward the west, where my sweet baby Hazel Grace lies in her isolette being cared for by strangers.
I guess after a month, they're not really strangers anymore, though. Does Hazel know them better than she knows me?
I would like to say no, but that may just be wishful thinking.
In the end, though, does it matter? They are the ones programming the machines that give her life,
I am just a bystander.
I wander in once, maybe twice a day, to sit beside her and rest my hand on her feet or on her head, but I know my hands smell of soap and sanitizer, not of mother, or milk, or warmth...
the smells a newborn usually relates to their mother.
And I am sad because I don't know when it's going to end...
how it's going to end.
I look at her there, her perfectly round head and exquisitely formed hands and feet
and I wonder what's going to happen.
All of this should have stayed wrapped up safely inside, but it isn't.
I let her down.
And my sweet baby is being exposed to so many drugs and chemicals and interventions, that it's hard to believe that she will make it through this unscathed.
And I wonder how this is even fair?
Eat right, take your vitamins, don't smoke, don't do drugs, stay away from plastics...
we don't even have a microwave, for pete's sake!
It all seems pointless and trivial at this point.
My baby is still in the NICU, and no amount of clean living is going to get her out.
So, sweet baby Hazel Grace has started another round of antibiotics, this time stronger ones, to hopefully get rid of the infection in her lungs to prepare her for the systemic steroids.
One round after another of drugs that will supposedly heal her, and hopefully leave her whole.
And so I say this to her, my youngest child that was ripped too early from my womb:
Stay strong, Hazel Grace. No matter what happens, you are a beloved part of this family. You were since the day you were conceived and you will be til the end of time. Your name, Hazel, means 'God sees', and Grace, well, grace is all around and abounding. Grace is what holds us together and grace...
grace is what will see you home.
But please, sweet baby Hazel, please make that home here...
right here, on earth, with us.