As my daughter approaches her first birthday, I've been thinking a lot of when she was born. I never shared the details or my thoughts of those early days on my blog. To be honest, it was too hard to think about it, and too hard to relive. But as time has passed I actually find it therapeutic to remember those moments.
The first time I saw my daughter, she was being carried to an exam table. After what seemed like an eternity, they handed her to me, wrapped up in a blanket. All I could do was tell her I loved her. I had her in my arms for only a few seconds...seconds...Then she was whisked away to the NICU. It breaks my heart to know she didn't spend the first moments of her life held in my arms...instead she was alone, with strangers probing and poking her. I do not know what happened to her the first few hours of her life. I just do not know. The doctors, the nurses, my husband can tell me what they saw or did, but I was not there. Right after the delivery I had to wait forever until I was given the chance to go down to see her. I was grateful for the meal, for the moments of rest, for the warm shower. But all the while, I felt like it was wrong. I was not where I was supposed to be. All I wanted to do was hold my baby. But I think I managed to push it aside in my mind, because I knew it wasn't possible. When I finally went to her, I cried when I saw her. I cried mostly because she was so beautiful and precious...but also because she was out of my grasp. I was allowed to touch her through the portals. Her skin was so soft and she was so tiny. As she slept, I took comfort in knowing she was peaceful. In my mind I thought that as long as she wasn't crying and anxious she was alright. I only spent a short time with her on her first day. I was exhausted from labour and everyone kept telling me I needed to rest. But as I let Ken wheel me back to our room I felt like I was abandoning my baby...who leaves their baby all alone!? I couldn't bring myself to understand what was happening. Needless to say that first night was horrible. Every moment was filled with thoughts of our little Maddie. I kept having horrible nightmares that she died and her mommy wasn't there! I had to restrain myself from calling the NICU nurses every 5 minutes. I kept telling myself, if they need to tell me something they will call. So I took comfort in the fact that the phone did not ring all night. I was exhausted so I finally let my body give in to sleep. I kept reminding myself to think positively and I kept praying my heart out. I knew she was being taken care of by the best team of care providers. I knew everyone wanted the same thing I did: to keep my baby safe, healthy and help her grow so she would be able to go home. Even so, I was so happy to see the night over so I could go and see my baby once again.