Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Three Choices

I'm paralyzed at the computer. Rarely do I sit, quietly, alone to undo all that is raveling in my brain.

Mostly, I'm on cruise control (at 180mph), dodging pot holes throughout the day and literally falling into bed.
Sleep. Wake. Repeat.
Loving madly and making messes in between.

I don't have time to write tonight. I just got the boys to sleep after a long discussion with Nash about how his feelings are hurt because Shaw isn't being kind. And of course with Shaw who is wounded that his sleepover may be cut short this weekend, due to his brother's soccer games. "It's just not fair!!" they both cry.

I feel blessed that we have empowered these children with a voice but I never expected it would come back to bite me daily.

Walking down the stairs, the first chance to be an adult since 3pm today, I silently acknowledged I had three choices:
1) I can go to bed. The best, most needed/rewarding choice!
2) I can open my computer and follow up with everything I missed today from Bee Mighty emails, personal texts, school conferences, etc.
3) I could write.
Ps - 4) I could join my husband watching the Seahawks but the Seahawks? 

The truth is, if I choose Option 3, I just fall further behind with the other two. I never get that time back. I merely feel worse because I'm that much farther behind - in everything! However, something was drawing me in - like a drug. Something calling me to be still.

Tonight, I choose to write.
Let's see how I feel by the end...

Nash (9.11) and Shaw (8) are these little humans with friends and activities, emotions and opinions, ideas and aspirations. Nash wants to know the definition of "douchebag" and Shaw wants to know why Hitler was racist.

IT IS EXHAUSTING.
IT IS IMPORTANT.
I DON'T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.
I'M GLAD I'M HERE.

We were at the Children's Hospital today. Shaw had an echocardiogram. It's the first time I've heard his heartbeat like that since he was growing in my tummy. I saw every ventricle, the blood flow - in and out of the muscle, the life of our child... It was fascinating. His team wants to see if the lack of O2 over the years is causing strain on his heart. 

The boys simultaneously watched River Monsters on the hospital TV.
They have no idea how important this appointment is.

Wam. Bam. In and out. Piece of cake. No sticks. No pricks. No cameras in tiny places. No Ivs. No bartering. No guilty bribes. No overnights. No jello. No meds. No orders to be signed by the doctor that 'may have to wait until morning'.
Just the way I like it.

Quick ride down the 'special' elevator, that has a tiny heart hidden in the design on the floor, to see the Lego Hospital replica on Level 2. We take the staircase the last lap to see the handprinted murals by local art students, wrapping at Rube Goldberg machine in the lobby, where we will spend another 20 minutes (which I must confess, I also watch with awe). 
We know our way around.

In the elevator, we stop on Level Four.
I know the NICU lives here.
I know that if you're in the NICU at Children's (and not across the street at Anschutz), it's kind-of a bid deal. I know because I helped start a Parent Council for the NICU here. I know because we would host events for the parents and I still wouldn't step foot inside the NICU. (Note: this wasn't even our NICU). 

I knew the look on her face the second she stepped in the elevator.
She was tired.
She wouldn't meet my eyes.
She was vacant and simply going through the motions.
Elevator. Button. Silence.
She was probably going to get something to eat.
Someone probably made her get something to eat.
She was probably in a hurry to get back, in case her baby wakes.
She is working through so much in her brain.
It probably wasn't the best day.
Her husband wasn't smiley, but more alert.
It's different with the husbands.
Either they mask it better or don't feel the weight of guilt.

I knew.
My boys were rowdy (surprise).
I said, "Do you have have a baby in the NICU?"
He smiled and said, "Yes!"
She didn't look at me. She nodded.

I said, "Congratulations!"
Something no woman in the NICU ever hears. (People forget you had a baby! They just know you have a sick baby).
I said, "How early was he/she?"
"Five weeks." She spoke.

In the next 3 seconds I had another three choices I had to make today: 1) Ask/Acknowledge "How is he/she doing?"  2) Look directly at her and say, "How are YOU doing?"

Instead, I choose Option 3) "This is my little guy. He was 13 weeks early." and I looked her square in the eyes.
Chatty (optimistic) Dad says, "Wow, he looks great!"
She and I locked eyes.
She nodded.
They got off and the NICU fog followed them.

In the lobby, I cried big, heavy tears, secretly, by the Rube Goldberg machine.
I know you.
I see you.
It will always be with us.