Babies having babies and the beauty in what is…

The combined total weight of the two babies were barely seven pounds.

They weren’t twins, yet they were so similar.

The parents who struggled to conceive them.

The ones who paid thousands of dollars in care.

The ones who ended up delivering very early.

Both parents so very involved in their care, jumping at any opportunity to do kangaroo care.

I barely had any hands on time with them as their nurse, because the families were so very present.

Then, there is the young teenager who delivered her baby yesterday.

She struggled, she cried, she pushed, she screamed, she gave up, then tried again.

All without drugs.

All without a secure future.

All with barely the beginnings of a high school education.

All with a mother’s heart.

She cried at the placement of her brand new baby on her chest.

She said the words, “mama loves you, baby.”

Although these families are so very different, there is one thing the same.

They love their babies with every ounce of their beings.

I am one of the lucky ones who gets to be present when a woman becomes a mother.

It might be for the first time, it might be for the ninth time.

No time is the same.

Each baby unique, special, and with its own gifts.

Some of us know that life isn’t guarenteed.

Even when it’s with new life.

Hearts may be malformed. Vessels imperfect. Organs immature. Functions failing.

But it doesn’t change how I view them.

They are messengers.

They are beautiful.

They are unlike any other.

And if I just keep remembering that, my belief in good things can be sustained.

I can take a deep breath and say thank you to God and the Universe,

for allowing me to have just a bit more faith,

a bit more love,

and bit more acceptance of what is.

*what I love about this angel picture is that it represents strength, endurance, and justice to me.*

*what I love about this angel picture is that it represents strength, endurance, and justice to me.*

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Aside

The Many Good Things and Filling My Heart Space…

There was this moment…

I caught it on camera and my heart melted.

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My two monkeys playing before going to bed.

Then there was this photo captured on the front page of our newspaper…

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It’s the closest we’ll get to being famous and I’m perfectly okay with that.

Then there was this moment when the Little had to be JUST like the Big.

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I am totally in love.

Then my work wasn’t horrible! We had good resuscitations, good Apgars, and miracle abounding!

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I almost forgot what it was like to smile at work!

Then, a wonderful Twitter friend became an IRL friend!

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Tonya and I had lunch together and it was lovely.

I’m pretty sure we could’ve talked all day.

Her blog is amazing. Her story is even more so.

She’s inspired me to train for a 10k! That’s right. Running for fun.

Who knew?

Also, she rocked the LTYM show audition and will be participating.

I will be cheering her on.

You should read her blog. http://www.lettersforlucas.com

So, that’s the fun, amazing, heart filling moments I’ve had lately.

How about you? What’s filling your heart space?

Aside

She Needed Me…(my submission piece for LTYM)

 

It happens.

Life.

Death.

I just happen to work where I may see both at the exact same time. I’m trained to be the personnel who tends to a baby’s first breath. As a nurse, rarely my services are needed to sustain a life, but in the event it happens, I’m there, along with a team.

This particular day I was needed. But not in the way I thought.

She was born many weeks too early to survive. Her little body pushed from her mother’s warm, loving interior, into the cold world. Her heart beating, trying it’s best to give it a shot, though her lungs were far too underdeveloped to oxygenate her vital organs. She lay still. Her nurse wrapped her in a warm blanket and handed her to her devastated parents to hold.

But after nearly an hour her parents were done. They asked the nurse to take her, do what you have to do, weights and measures. The nurse gently set her in the crib and started to walk toward the nursery.

I saw the look on the labor nurse’s face. Sad. Confused. Unsure. I asked if the baby had passed yet, she looked at me and said no. No? I asked confused. Why on earth didn’t parents want to hold their dying baby? I can’t imagine.

Oh wait. Yes, I can.

The overwhelm, the horror, the grace, and fortitude that came to reside in my soul after the 26 hours of labor I had to deliver my own stillborn son came flooding back in an instant. I held my breath and swallowed hard.

I told the nurse I’d take her. I pulled the blanket to the side that covered her tiny body. Still warm, I could feel there was some life in her. I carefully wrapped extra blankets around her so that the crib didn’t look empty as I walked in the hallway to take her to the nursery.

When I arrived, I made my way to the back where there was privacy and a curtain. I took out my stethoscope and listened. Nothing. And then a very brief series of heartbeats, irregularly fluttering in her little chest. She was still hanging on.

I walked quickly to the blanket warmer where I grabbed a nice warm blanket and I gently wrapped this precious baby girl in it. Her little head peering out from the swaddle I sat down in the rocker and began to rock.

But something told me she didn’t want to be rocked. She wanted to be held, but not rocked. So I stood up, walked around and held her close to my chest. I talked to her. I told her she was not alone. I told her I would hold her until the end.

After about a half an hour of walking with her in the crook of my arm, I assessed for signs of life. Again, the fluttering of a little heartbeat still present. I told her that I was going to weigh and measure her. I assured her that I was not going to do this because I was assuming she was gone, but that I do this for every baby. I took two sets of footprints, two sets of handprints.

For I know all too well that there will not be any first day of preschool pictures, a first lock of hair, or a first visit from the tooth fairy. Then quickly I wrapped her back up in the warm blanket.

I looked around the nursery and miraculously it was empty now. The hustle and bustle of the day had settled and it was just this baby girl and I. I took a seat behind our desk with one of our swizzle chairs and gently back and forth we swayed. I began to sing one of the lullabies that I sing for my boys.

We swayed and sang for nearly 20 minutes. I had to stop myself from reaching down and kissing her tiny head that peeked out from the blankets. I listened with my heart, melting with gratitude that this precious girl needed me. To just hold her. To just be in my arms.

The time that we swayed seemed like hours. I imagined her body feeling comforted, warm, and loved. I reminded her that her mommy and daddy loved her very much. I told her they did the very best they could. I told her that she paved the way for her future siblings. I thanked her for being so beautiful. I told her that she mattered. I told her that she would not be forgotten. I told her that there would be peace that passed understanding.

I closed my eyes and rested with her in my arms. I hoped she could hear my heartbeat through the blankets. And when I opened them again. I knew she was gone. I could sense her energy had lessened; her delicate mouth began to open. It was time to assess her heart rate again. But instead I held her a little longer.

Indeed she had passed. A sadness came over me. But a peace filled my heart. I thanked her for letting me hold her. I thanked her for needing me. I sent my well wishes to her, her parents, and her future siblings. I asked her to say hello to my baby that was in Heaven and hoped he would usher her into her Creator’s loving embrace.

I was needed that day. Not in the way I’m used to being needed. And in the process, I realized that I needed her.

I was filled to the brim with gratitude, love, peace, and grace. The ache in my soul from losing my stillborn son almost four years before was soothed in her presence. She filled a gap. A wondering for me. She gave me the opportunity to BE in the moment of life and death.

An amazing baby with an amazing message, and for that I am so grateful.