Monday, November 4, 2013

The Transfer

I wrote this last week on Wednesday, October 30, but didn't get a chance to post it.  I wanted to still post it now, even though things have changed so much, because I want to always remember this...who I was, who I am, and what we have gone through together.  Because after all, isn't that what makes us a family?

It's like starting over...the opening of a not so old wound.  The pain is deep and unexpected and the sharpness of it takes your breath away and leaves you standing there, leaning on the edge of the plexiglass bed clutching a little pink weight chart.

The transfer.

My sweet baby Hazel Grace has been transferred.  Sweet Hazel has moved from the comfort of Alexandria Hospital which is a mere 15 minutes away to Children's Hospital which, from our door to Hazel's bed, is at least an hour on a good day.

But the thing is that it's not just the drive from here to there, it's the whole newness of it all.

Everything is different at Children's.  Everything.  From the way they tape the tubes to her mouth to the size of diaper that she's wearing and the timing of the feedings and meds and the type of bottles and pumps they have available.  Every last thing is different.  Even the way they orient her in her bed is different.

Not that different is bad, it's just...well...different.

I look around and nothing is familiar.  The nurses, the doctors...everyone is new.  I don't know them, and they don't know me.  Better yet, they don't know Hazel.

And yet, I have to get in my car and drive off.  Way off.  And I have to leave my sweet baby Hazel Grace alone with a whole new set of strangers in a whole new strange place.  And these strangers will spend more time with my baby than I will.

And that breaks my heart.

How can I drive away when she needs me most?  Who will tell them that she likes to sleep on her left side?  who will let them know that she doesn't like her feet wrapped up but she likes to sleep with her little blanket over her head?

Who will 'hear' her when she cries?

Hazel Grace has a private room which means that even though all of her alarms are sent directly to her nurse's pager, she is not in eyesight of anyone most of the time.  So, when she's upset, and her little eyebrows squinch together and her mouth opens way up and the tiny tears come into her little eyes as the silent cry comes out,

who will be there for her?

Who will pat her back and who will hold her hands and who will comfort her and will she think...

Where's my mom?  And why isn't she here for me?

But I have no choice.  I have to leave.

So I take my heart, beating and raw, and I wrap it up right there next to her.

And if I could, I'd give her, my lungs, full of air, and take hers with all their tubes.

But I can't.  So all I can do is leave my heart and drive away, snaking my way through the city to our house so very far away

and if you ever wonder just how far the heart strings can stretch, just how many turns and tunnels you can take before they snap

Just let me tell you that they can stretch.  It will hurt, and the pain is real, but they can stretch.

I can leave my heart there with her, my sweet baby Hazel Grace, and I can come home.

And I can love my kids and hug my husband while my heart's still wrapped up there with my Hazel Grace.

Because the pull of those strings, the pull of my body wanting to reunite with my heart, is the pull that gets me up in the morning and the pull that drags me through the day until I can retrace the route to the crib where my heart lies, waiting for my return.

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