Ninety-eight days later, 14 weeks after August 1, the day that our sweet baby Hazel Grace joined us, I sit here on the couch, watching my milk splash into the bottle to the rhythm the pump pulsing away beside me,
I realize just how far we've come.
Last night, Jimmy sat in the chair in the NICU at Children's Hospital holding his daughter for the second time in her life. She was snug, wrapped in her blankets in the crook of his arm. She was sleeping peacefully as the little nubbins in her nose provide her with a steady flow of oxygen.
He is protective of her and tells me
Don't talk so loud...You're bothering her!
And I look over his shoulder at her sleeping form and marvel at how we worry now about sound and movement disturbing her slumber when only 4 days ago, it was tubes and needles that disrupted her sleep and pained her body.
Hazel Grace was extubated on Saturday, November 2.
Yes, just this past Saturday, Jimmy and I hurried to the hospital, jittery as first time parents. We rushed into sweet baby Hazel Grace's room and stood by, holding hands, Jimmy's sweaty, mine cold, while the team of nurses prepped the equipment...
everything that Hazel could possibly need for a successful extubation was sterilized and laid out at the ready. The nurses, of course, have done this before, but for us, this was all new...
like a new birth.
I moved to the bed and put my hands on my baby, steadying her head and controlling her tiny waving hands so that the tubes could be untaped from her face and, for the first time in almost 13 weeks, slid out from her chest and throat.
And then we heard it.
The sound that every parents waits for in the delivery room...
The sound that we have been waiting months to hear...
The sound of our sweet baby Hazel's cry.
I had to turn away. I had to relinquish my position by her bed because even though she was the one crying, my tears were falling
and I reached for Jimmy and found him reaching for me, too.
And my scar throbbed to the sound of her wailing...the scar that was cut into my flesh to bring her here into this world,
the scar that was waiting for this sound, the sound of my baby's cry, to fully heal.
And the tears that fell from our eyes, Jimmy's and mine, were tears that were an overflow from the heart
And it doesn't mean that she's well, it doesn't mean that we bring the carseat in to pack her up and take her home,
but it does mean that God is good and that He hears our prayers and He grants healing both to lungs and to scars and to hearts
and it also means that she has nubbins in her nose and a tube for milk to her tummy
which makes her still be the cutest baby ever created
and which also means that she can be held by her daddy
now in his arms, later on his knee, sometimes on his back,
but always in his heart.