I am interupting Special Guest Writer Week with a post written by me. You can find posts from Monday and Tuesday that were written by my guest authors. And come back tomorrow. I promise I won’t be writing!
Today is someone’s birthday and when I started writing this it was intended to be a gift for the birthday boy, but I realized quickly that I was the one who had received the gift.
The nurse wrapped you in a blanket and handed you to me. I carefully placed you in your car seat and buckled the straps. You were going home.
You were quiet and seemed content so I prayed that you would stay that way for the ride home. I was nervous and excited and a little bit angry. I was, after all, doing this by myself. Your father wasn’t even there to help me bring you home. He was otherwise occupied with some important matters that required his attention.
Not that you weren’t important to him as well. He just couldn’t be in two places at once; no matter how badly he may have wanted to be. Knowing that and understanding that didn’t make me any less angry or bitter over the situation. The words, “it’s just not fair”, kept running through my mind.
The fact that I was tired to the point of exhaustion probably didn’t help either. I had spent the night before in the hospital holding you, rocking you, feeding and changing you. Of course I could have left that to the nurses, but it was somehow important to me that “I” do it and not them. I couldn’t bear the thought of your care being left in the hands of strangers; no matter how qualified they might be.
The nurse helped me get you to the car and we secured you and your carrier in the back seat. Nervousness had replaced everything else and I tried to calm myself with the fact that I had taken newborns home before. It’s not like I didn’t have experience in these matters.
The ride home seemed to take longer than usual and I found myself constantly looking in the rear view mirror in an effort to catch a glimpse of you. Were you still happy and content? Were you sleeping? Were you breathing?
Responsibility sat heavy on my shoulders and I felt myself physically slumping under the weight of it. You had been entrusted to me. Me! I was the one taking you home and suddenly the nervousness turned to guilt and sadness.
It wasn’t supposed to be me taking you home. It should have been your mother! She should have been the one wrapping you up and buckling you up for the ride home. She should have been the one casting glances your way to make sure you were okay. And she would have been if she wasn’t still in the hospital fighting for her life.
A heart attack during labor and the resulting congestive heart failure had landed her in the cardiac intensive care unit. She wanted desperately to be with you and be the one taking you home, but she was not getting better. In fact, the doctors were preparing to move her to another hospital for further testing. She wasn’t out of the woods yet.
But you were home. You were welcomed home by your older sister, brother and
your Granny and Papaw. They were all very excited to have you home so they could hold you, love you and spoil you.
And we prayed for your mother – my sister – to get well, so she could come home to hold you, love you and spoil you. Because that’s where she belonged; along with your father, who had not left your mother’s side since she had fallen ill. Because that’s where he belonged.
So, for over a week we took turns caring for you, until your mother was finally well enough to be released from the hospital. Our prayers had been answered and we rejoiced in her homecoming. We rejoiced not just because her health had improved and she was home, but because God had reunited a mother and son. And that’s where you both belonged – with each other.
But for a brief moment in time you were my baby. My responsibility. You had been entrusted to me. Me!
I was the one who took you home. And I will always be grateful for that privilege and gift.
Happy Birthday, Petey.
On May 1, 2004 my sister gave birth to her third child. He was born healthy and with no complications, however, while in recovery Sis suffered a heart attack that resulted in congestive heart failure and post-partum cardiomyopathy. She spent 13 days in the hospital recovering.
On May 3, I had the great honor of being the one to bring my nephew home. Before I left the hospital that day with the baby, I had my sister stuff a baby blanket inside her hospital gown to collect her “mommy scent”. That’s the blanket we wrapped him in to take him home. If his mommy couldn’t be going home with him, at least I wanted him to be able to smell her.
My sister’s heart has returned to normal function, however, it gets “broken” on a daily basis by her “baby”.