Monday, December 29, 2008

Crossing the NICU Styx - Part 1

Five hours after my daughter was born into a comforting pool of warm water, strangers in scrubs came and arrested her. They carried her down into a world where life is in limbo. Her crimes were a broken heart and a narrow aorta. Her sentence would be long. Surely my sins were greater than hers...perhaps this was my punishment?

I followed her and found myself on the wrong bank of the river Styx, wandering lost, searching for the right coin to give Charon so that he would carry my baby back across to the Land of the Living. He rubbed a cold hand on her stomach. If only she would eat. Maybe if I gave up on nursing and let her have a bottle. Maybe if I gave up on the bottle and let her get a tube in her stomach. If only food were the answer.

My sweet daughter presented every sacrifice she could. On Day One she offered up her tiny hand and accepted the needle coursing with antibiotics. As time went on she would give over her arms, legs, head, and neck to the various needles. She submitted to multiple nose tubes, throat tubes, and a g-tube in the hopes that the food and oxygen they supplied would give her the strength to cross over.

But Cerberus attacked her, snapping his bacteria-filled jaws down on her. Not once, not twice... but again and again he cut his teeth into her, slobbering on her, filling her with poisonous creatures invisible to human eye. They tried to kill her but the needles flooded her with even stronger weapons of destruction.

And me? I sat there staring across her, across the river at the doorway to the Land of the Living and I shook with fear, with agony, with anger. I wanted to rip it all off of her and scoop her up in my arms... and run. The raging desire to escape with her was quelled only by the knowledge that she would be dead before we reached dry ground. I felt my inner self be slowly crushed and compacted. There was nothing left to me but a heavy rock in my stomach and my faith in God.

I was not alone on the river bank. I saw other mommies with other babies with other tubes and needles who had committed other crimes. And I saw Cerberus wrap his scaly tail around other tiny bodies and pull them backward to a place where only God could follow. I cried the tears of vicarious trauma... a suffering I’d never known existed.

Charon tapped a bony finger on my baby girl’s chest. Somewhere within her, somewhere inside the greatest artery, or perhaps hidden deep in a pumping ventricle was the golden coin he wanted. There would be no trip back across the NICU Styx without it.

(Continue to Part 2)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

WWMD? (Introduction)

Remember a while back when the WWJD fad was everywhere... tee-shirts, pens, hats, bumper stickers? Well, while I do wonder what Jesus would do in certain situations, I find myself more often wondering what his mother did, say when he did the equivalent of flushing her cell phone down the toilet.

There is the off chance that when the Angel came down and announced to Mary that she would be the mother of God, she may have negotiated a bit, "Um, okay, tell God that I agree to be the vessel provided He gives me divine parenting skills so that I never lose my patience and spank the Lord of Heaven and Earth." But I doubt it. Seeing how she was a still teenager and had no children yet, Mary had no idea that she needed to secure this type of deal.

Oh, I can hear you reminding me that Jesus was perfect and probably potty-trained himself when he was 8 months old. However, let's not forget he had plenty of siblings (Matt. 13:55-56). They were not perfect. They probably did all the same things my little dears do.

Did Mary ever scream at the top of her lungs, "Use your inside voice!" Did she ever swat a little bottom while admonishing, "Don't hit your brother!" What DID she do when young James bit a chunk out of Simon's leg? I don't know but I will be contemplating the possibilities here and there in this blog.

I do know that it would be nice if Pampers would print a WWMD? logo on the back of their Cruisers diapers... a deterrent for me as I am swooping in for the whackeroo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All I want for Christmas...

is a blog???

Dearest Sister,

I was planning on pretending that I didn't notice this under the tree. Then it occurred to me that I could change the colors and the graphic and re-gift it to some unsuspecting January birthday girl. Oh no, that's me, isn't it.

What is a blog? A blog is like a puppy. It is something wonderful that you should never give to a person who does not have it on his or her Christmas wish list. I double-checked mine. It wasn't there.

I will keep it, and keep it alive. I have learned that sometimes we receive things we didn't know we wanted or needed, things we would not have thought to ask for. Like a daughter with 47 chromosomes or a blog... two new things that will be under my tree this year. Hmm. I hope the latter turns out to be as much of a blessing as the first.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What is a Blog?

Dear Sister, it occurred to me this morning that you may not know what you've unwrapped (I'm assuming you unwrapped it early, because, as far as I can recall, you were the one who led the raid on Mom's closet so long ago, for an early peek at the Christmas presents).

Anyway, maybe you don't know what it is I've handed you, all decked out with a silky red ribbon. Maybe you think it is the single vaccine you forgot or (knowing you) refused to administer to your children. I assure you.... your children are safe (relatively). A blog is just a place where you can simply be yourself in writing.

This may seem all but impossible right now (yourself being a charming, witty, intelligent, philosophical, spiritual mother of four and a precious wife to one gorgeous husband). Impossible, because you are tired and probably in need of a good cup of tea, which no one is going to bring you, especially while you are probably cleaning up a potty incident (or perhaps are busy hiding in the bathroom, trying to get at least one bite of secret PopTart to yourself).

Regardless, here's a cup of tea, with cream and sugar and a smile. And here's your blog (now explained). Just be yourself. It's yourself, after all, who I love, love, love.