Monday, March 24, 2008

Rebirth and Salvation

Yesterday is the one-year anniversary of the worst day of my life. Yesterday was the day after Trystan's birthday, and was the day that his imperforate anus was discovered, and he was transported away from me to the NICU at Childrens' hospital. I remember asking a nurse about why Trystan hadn't yet passed a meconium, and she was the one who discovered that there was no opening where there ought to be (it wasn't that obvious at first). Within minutes, one of the residents had taken him from my room down to the nursery, and I didn't see him again for probably an hour. I remember being wheeled in a chair, myself only 24 hours out of surgery, barely able to sit myself up, down to the nursery where the transport team was waiting already. Trystan had an IV, and a pacifier, and he wanted me to nurse him. And I couldn't. I probably cried the entire time I held him before he was driven away. I wouldn't see or hold him again for over 24 hours, after his first surgery.

My mom, a 20+ year NICU nurse who had done patient transports herself, and my husband went with Trystan, leaving me with my baby sister (now 11, not so much a baby!) at Missouri Baptist. It was my mom's birthday. My mother-in-law brought Charlotte later that afternoon. I don't know what those girls really thought and felt, keeping company with me and my postpartum hormone avalanche, empty womb and arms. I had to explain to my 2.5 year old daughter when she immediately asked, "Where baby brother?". They were wonderful and I don't know that they will ever really understand just how helpful it was to have their company, their smiles and hugs, and even the (now funny) point where Charlotte pulled the emergency cord in the bathroom, bringining a dozen nurses running to my room.

After a while, my in-laws then took both girls back to my house, leaving me with a book, the tv, and a breastpump for company overnight. And they were all very poor company. I took some small comfort in the familiarity with the breastpump, having spent many hours with one pumping for Charlotte. But even knowing the ropes, and having the pressure of the incoming milk supply eased, I could not help but feel so completely horrified about how all of the milk my little baby had so enthusiastially eaten since birth could actually be killing him even as I sat and made him more.

I think I cried more than I slept that night, counting the hours until I was discharged, and until my inlaws arrived to drive me accross town for Trystan's surgery. I don't think I was really ok again until I held Trystan after his surgery.

Yesterday was Trystan's first Easter Mass but not his first Easter. When I joined the Catholic Church some 7 years ago now, I attended every holy week service--from the foot washing on Holy Thursday, the silent, hungry desolation of Good Friday, to the cleansing baptisms of Easter Vigil and the jubilation of Easter Sunday. I don't remember last year's service at all, I only remember leaving the church and driving across Forest Park to pick up my baby and bring him home. I don't think my faith in the resurrection had ever been stronger than it was sitting at home that night, munching jelly beans with Charlotte and settling Trystan to sleep in the cradle next to our bed.

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