Friday, September 13, 2013

When You Just Can't Breathe

I knew that something was wrong the moment I walked through the NICU doors.

My favorite doctor was there tonight, and as much as she seems to enjoy my company as well, I knew that something was not right when she got up to meet me at Hazel's isolette the minute I walked through the doors.

And as the automatic doors swung shut behind me, I felt the whoosh of air...

the breath knocked out of me.

What happened to my sweet baby Hazel Grace?

What could have gone so wrong?  I just talked to her nurse on the phone a few hours ago.  She was doing fine...she was doing great.  Her pressure had been lowered to 19 on the ventilator, and her oxygen needs were low.

What went wrong???

I washed my hands methodically at the sink and slipped on the coverup gown that is required of all visitors to the NICU...

if only I could hide my whole self behind that blue patterned cloth and not face whatever it was that the doctor had to say...

and my mind raced...what could it be???

There were new machines beside the isolette of my sweet baby Hazel Grace, but that didn't bother me.  I knew that she would soon be moving from the jet ventilator to a conventional ventilator, but why did the doctor want to speak to me?  Usually, the doctors don't come to you to speak with you unless you either ask them to or there is some sort of bad news,

And I hadn't asked her to.

Her first words were:  Hazel had a bad day.  Her lung is collapsed.

But that can't be!  Her pressures were so good!  Hazel Grace is the one with the collapsed lung...

but I'm the one that can't breathe.

Her O2 needs are at 100%.  Her pressure on the conventional vent are 25.

Stop!  Stop!  This isn't fair!

This whole thing just isn't fair!  Why can't we just move forward?  Why can't I have one of those wonder babies who pulls through everything without a glitch?

And stop telling me that it's a roller coaster ride!  It's not!

Roller coaster rides are fun and you get on and off them voluntarily.


I want off this ride!

I want to hold my baby.  I want to look into her eyes and not wonder if soon she will be blind because her high oxygen needs cause her retina to detach.  I want to hear her cry.

I want...I want....

I want to bring her home and put all of this behind us.

I want to watch her grow up.

There wasn't even a chair for me to sit in this time.  Not even one of the swivel desk chairs that they usually have around there.

I just had to lean against the wall and listen to the list of possibilities.  This machine, that machine, this drug, those side effects...

I wanted to clamp my hands over my ears...Lalala if I can't hear you, you aren't saying it!

But no.

Sweet baby Hazel Grace has a collapsed lung.

I lift the corner of the quilt that is covering her isolette from prying eyes and glaring lights, and I see her in there.

So beautiful.

Just lying there, all wrapped up in her little blankets...


And I suck the air in past the lump that's in my throat and I lean over her bed, the tank that keeps her alive, and I press my hands, palms flat, on the sides of her islotte and close my eyes.

Do you feel me, Hazel Grace?

I am holding you, my sweet baby.

I can't hold you in my arms, but I am holding you in my heart.

And right now, sweet Hazel Grace, I am breathing you in...

your soft tennis ball head, your tiny feet and arms all covered in medical tape and sore from needles and IV's...

I'm breathing you in...

your tiny mouth filled with tubes and covered in tape...

your chest with its rasping breaths and covered in stickers and leads...

I am breathing you in...

And I breathe you out again into the hands of God, the One who created you...

Because, my sweet girl, I can do nothing for you,

but He can.

1 comment:

  1. Christina - your words are so beautiful and your heart so raw (as one can only expect.) Thank you for sharing your journey with the world. When Hazel is grown and has conquered all this, she will be able to look back on these posts and see what an amazing mommy she had. And one day, when she has her own children and feels that same incomprehensible love for them - she will understand how hard it must have been for you to watch her like this, and she will fall in love with you all over again as her mom. You are so strong and God will use you to minister to so many others through this journey. Prayers for all of you ~ Shanen (FYI. my name link will take you to my old blog, which I never use, but had to select in order to leave a comment.) :)