Two days shy of his being three weeks old I walk, for the first time, into Cornell Medical Center. Up the elevator down a hallway, through glass doors where the world changes into pure, pristine white. We scrub and don gowns. There are rooms inside here with walls of glass so you can see in all directions and in all direction are incubators. My husband points out the room to my left as we are walking ... the intensive care section. Each IC room is quite large with a huge lazy susan like table that holds everything medical you can think of. At their fingertips the nurse and doctor have access for any kind of need for their charge.
He had gone there the night he arrived and spent a few days there. As these little ones improve they are moved along. The unit he was in now had a nurse and doctor for every five babies. Quite a move for such a little guy. He was doing very well.
My husband, having been there daily the first week and then several times a week following knew exactly where to go. He led me to his section and let me walk in first. I approached the incubator and then froze. There was this little life in front of me and my heart sunk. There was absolutely no feeling in me. Here I was standing before my baby and I felt nothing, how could this be, what was wrong with me? I turned to look at my husband and saw that he had almost turned white. A nurse had seen us, and I'm sure from the look on our faces, rushed over saying that they had moved him to another section, and took us to him. And then I saw him. In an instant the flood gates opened, the love poured like I have never felt. I still find it amazing how a mother knows her young. I will never forget that moment.
Seeing the look on my face the nurse said "haven't you seen him before?" I shook my head no as I was unable to speak, and she said, "oh, we have to get him right out of there". She grabbed a rocker, opened the incubator, disconnected a few wires and wrapped in a blue blanket he was placed him in my arms.
Have you ever held a baby under four pounds? Have you ever held a feather? I was so conscious of almost no weight. So, so tiny. I took his little hand ... he held onto my finger. His hand against my finger, it couldn't wrap around it like babies do, it only covered one side of my finger. I had made him a hat, I had used an orange as a model ... the hat was too big.
He was now drinking almost an ounce of formula. Initially he was fed by a tube down his nose into his stomach. He was too young and had to be taught to suck, an instinct that had not yet developed. While the formula was being pumped into the tube a pacifier was put in his mouth so that he would associate the pacifier/sucking with eating and his stomach getting filled. He now had graduated to bottle feeding. Ever so slowly he would suck and swallow. It took over an hour to feed him.
He was beautiful, he was amazing. I was speechless, I couldn't even talk. Then we had to go home ... oh no! I had to put him back. I don't think I have ever hurt so much.