NICU: Soul Sucker, Soul Food

It’s odd, how sitting by a crib side can evoke such different reactions. For the last two days, I’ve wanted nothing more than to run away from the heater crib and the plexiglass hood covering my newborn’s head. It’s harder to see him rooting, his eyes and body language alike pleading for what I’m not allowed to give. To be deprived of the best comfort I as his mother have to offer–namely nursing–it sucks the soul dry, drains it right down to the point where I curl up in a ball of misery in my hospital room and weep: I can’t do this any more.
And then I stop by tonight at 8:10p.m., one last visit before bed to drop offf milk and say good night, praying that night brings an improvement the day has not…and he greets me with blinking charcoal-gray eyes and delicious, slow quiet alert time. For forty-five minutes I sit by his side, mesmerized by stroking his arm, kissing his tiny fingers, singing and talking to him, making faces…glorying in some small part of the interaction that’s been denied us the first four days of his life…and in that moment, my soul is fed again.
Tomorrow morning, when I have to face setbacks again, it won’t hurt any less. But at least I’ll have a little barrier of security, of Heavenly peace, to use as shield.