They kept going back and forth… “yes, we can transfer you, no we can’t…”
The “can’t” and the “you’ll stay here forever” seemed more powerful with each cancelling of letting me get to a regular hospital room, and each time they changed their minds because of my condition, my heart sunk further.
But the “can’t” would not win.
Deep inside, I knew that even being near my baby, even if I could just get to his same floor and section of the hospital, would help something. I didn’t quite know his condition, despite the many questions I asked, and I was constantly told to worry about myself and not think (or worry) about him…. but I knew, I just knew that if I could be near him, I stood a chance of building back up my health, even if just from hope alone.
All I needed was for the machine to not “emergency beep” three times in a row for me to stand a chance at escape from the intensive room and be admitted regularly….. and miraculously, during one series of blood pressure checks during the nurses’ change-over of shifts, the machine (or my blood pressure) cooperated. Someone somewhere tried to still keep me in there, but the main nurse who had been praying for me and caring for me literally put in my chart, “let her go…..”, instructing the next nurse to “blame it on her” if anyone complained.
I hugged her tight when she left her shift. She sees countless patients in that room, and perhaps she doesn’t know the impact she has on each of us who have to pass through the valley of labor and delivery almost-death… but I will never forget her. I knew that if I couldn’t get near my baby that night, my hope would have run out for my survival. There was nothing left of me…. but him…
They let me out of the intensive care room.
My husband literally raced my wheelchair, still all hooked up to IVs and whatnot to the other side of the hospital, to where Simeon was, as if we were making a jail-break.
I felt giddy, even though I was not free or healed yet, that I could sit next to him now whenever I wanted, as long as I was in my own hospital room every two hours for blood pressure monitoring. I realized that this was the first time in days that I saw actual sunlight and windows… just that alone was heavenly.
And although I still had to go back and forth long corridors for my blood pressure checks and monitoring, it felt like Christmas, (and it was actually Easter.) Just that tiny bit of extra freedom and normalcy helped…. eating jello, laying on a normal hospital bed without all the beeping monitors, and knowing that I could ask the nurse to wheel me to Simeon’s room at any time made me feel like I had won the lottery.
When I saw my other children on FaceTime later that day, it’s as if I remembered I was a mother, and the longing for them returned. I saw that they were happy, that they were with happy adults in our community, that they had managed to put together the Pascha basket and were among friends…. oh, I longed to be with them, and this gave me new fighting energy to eat (even if I didn’t have an appetite) and come alive again… to taste my daughter’s homemade Pascha bread and butter once I came home (I had hope of getting to go home soon, as opposed to the belief that I would never leave the hospital)…. but I and the baby would not be returning home that day. We were waiting on his diagnosis, and we were waiting for my infamous “blood pressure numbers” to look human.
I spent less and less time in my own hospital room, and more and more time laying on the hard couch in the NICU next to Simeon’s crib. It may have been the Hilton. I just wanted to gaze at him, and hold any time I could. Every minute with him brought me healing and determination to not give up.
My Easter and the days after were spent observing new life, even if my own was frail. Simeon didn’t seem frail, but patient and calm considering all the needles and blood tests and IVs that had been stuck into him. I thought about how he had suffered this whole time, too. Yet, he routinely smiled at the nurses, he seemed to smile at everyone who held him, and he really is the first baby out of the many I had had who smiled from the first few minutes of his life.
It was like he had a mission, and even in his baby brain of thoughts, he seemed joyful and at peace.
I found myself wishing to be more like him.
Teetering between anxiety and patience, I waited for everything to be resolved, knowing now that the time and date of homecoming was completely out of my hands. I had made it this far, to at least being rejoined with my baby… and I was approaching the day of revelation, when I would discover just what he was doing for me, even as a little baby.
(… to be continued…)