Tuesday, May 29, 2012
“She’s not breathing,” Scott said. A flood of panic filled my chest. I stretched out my hands. Scott handed over our new baby girl, I turned her up and started patting on her back. As her lips began to turn purple I said to Scott, “Go get the nurse,” he rushed out of the room and in moments two women in light blue scrubs arrived, one took her from me, held her in the plastic bassinet on her side and sucked the mucus that was clogging her breathing from her mouth. She looked up at me, “Are you okay?” I realized that my hand was clamped over my mouth and my eyes were stretched out wide. I slowly pulled my hand from my mouth and pretended that I was not as freaked out as I really was, “I’m okay,” I nodded to her; the nod was really more for me. “You did exactly what you are supposed to, hold her up and then come and get us,” her words acted like a salve. “And now you know what this is for,” she held up the booger sucker that she had used to suck the mucus from Carys’ mouth. I nodded again. I have never needed to be told that I did the right thing more than in that moment. We have started a routine of settling Carys into our room a bit before we go to bed. She’s an incredibly noisy sleeper and if we give her about twenty minutes she seems to get through some of the noise and we can sleep peacefully. I went in to check if she was still breathing. Something I never did with my first, but after hospital incident number one I check often to see that the rise and fall of her wee chest is still continuing. As I leaned over the moses basket and saw her chest moved I felt a prayer drop from my heart like a tear, “Oh, God, let me keep this one.” With my first I felt that this was for sure, her life was like a promise from God. After we lost our first pregnancy Emma’s pregnancy and little life was peaceful. I knew it would come and I knew she would be okay, because that wouldn’t happen to me twice, how could it? This one I don’t think feel like I have received such a promise, and after watching her choke I am reminded again of the tremulous nature of newborns. People keep asking if Emma feels big compared to Carys, no she still feels little. But she feels established. She feels firmly alive. Nothing can take her but an unforeseen accident. Carys still feels tentative. Newborns, with their loose floppy bodies and inability to move, feel so frightening. So delicate. I think if every parent is honest with themselves, with their deep innermost knowing parts, we know that our children are not really ours. Yes, biologically we make them, our bodies grow them, and we birth them, but they are not really ours. Do they belong to God? As much as we all do. We are their earthly shepherds and if we are lucky we get to follow the natural order of things and our children will outlive us. We all expect to bury our parents, doesn’t make it okay, but we know that’s coming. Our children? No one really expects to bury a child. That’s against the natural order of things. I don’t know what I would do if this tender newborn went home. So for now I pray that I can keep her.