Her tiny fists curled around my hands. I watched her through the plastic. I watched to make sure her chest rose and fell without a pause. Her eyes filled her face as she stared back. The beanie she wore was made out of scrap of cloth tied at the top. It literally hurt my heart to watch her. She would kick her heart monitor off and the machines would go wild, flashing and beeping. The first couple of times I lost my breathe. But after a while you get use to the sounds. Monitors beeping, a respirator collapsing and hissing, fussing babies, murmuring mothers and the squeak of the nurses shoes were the soundtrack to my day.
I didn't get to hold her until two days after she was born. I was still on bed rest and she wasn't allowed out of the NNICU She was so tiny. She reminded me of ET, she was skinny and long but had this little pot belly. I would hold her and marvel. Sometimes I would sing to her, soft and croaky, embarrassed for someone to hear me. "Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?"
When I wasn't at the NNICU, I ached for her. I felt like I had a tenuous grip on my sanity. I had only the thinnest string tethering me to reality. I knew I would just shake apart any minute. Acting normal and not scared was extremely difficult. I can't remember why I didn't turn to Robert for comfort. Probably some bullshit "being strong" reasoning. If you can't break down to your husband, who can you break down to?
She got out after a month, just above four lbs. I would still watch her chest rise and fall, only this time in the bassinet. I put my hand on her chest to feel it rise, but still trying not to wake her up. My favorite was when she would fall asleep on my chest and I couldn't move. I loved her sweet baby smell that faded as she grew.
I still check to make sure she's breathing, five years later. She's also still skinny and fits perfectly in my lap or nuzzled up next to me in bed. There was a time where I couldn't sleep without her spooned up against me. I've never been a very affectionate person, I am not a "hugger". But she has taught me how amazing it is to hold someone and love them so hard it hurts.
Are you a hugger? Or do you freak out when people touch you?