George Mason would have been 6 weeks old today. That’s incredibly hard to believe and feels just as hard to experience. I got an email this morning from one of those “my baby this week” sites that I had used with Audrey Nole. The subject of the email said “Your 6-Week-old” and the preview part of the email said “Has your baby smiled at you yet?” … I don’t even remember signing up for these emails or even inputting George’s birthday. However it got the information, it was a not so delicate reminder that today is an interesting milestone and one that I have to live without my son. Today would have been one of those days where things started to even out. I’m guessing that by now, NICU baby or not, we would have had some kind of routine in place. Those pump sessions every 3 hours would have become habit and the bags under my eyes would very likely have become less pronounced as my postpartum body adjusted to the needs and expectations of motherhood round 2. 6 weeks is when you go back and see your OB. You get told you’re healing ok or on track and you exchange brief pleasantries about life as a new mommy.
The salt-in-the-wound part of all of this, is that even though my baby didn’t come home, I still have to deal with all of the postpartum stuff. I’m still being watched for postpartum depression. I’m still dealing with ridding myself of George’s milk. I’m still sore and healing from surgery. I still have to go see my OB next week. Except her and I won’t be exchanging pleasantries about mom life to newborn #2. We will be talking about the signs of ppd and how long before Adam and I can try again.
As I get further away from George’s day (I’ve grown very fond of that name for February 10… He only had one day and it doesn’t seem fair to simply call it his birthday) the pain changes. People are asking how we are doing, how I am doing, and I know that I can probably get through answering that question without becoming a hot sobbing mess. I also know that I don’t really have an answer to that question. We are doing. That’s all I can seem to say. Life is moving on and we are going with it. As part of this process, I’ve been trying to look through pictures from his day and edit them as I have the emotional capacity. - its really hard to work in photoshop when you’re crying - Today’s picture was the perfect example of how I feel today, and most days, as it captures very raw emotion in a brief moment.
As we walked into the room where they had moved George Mason, I think they called it the family room, I remember feeling overwhelmed by everything. There was so much emotion. We were going to hold our son for the first time and it was also going to be the last time. The nurses asked me to sit in the chair and they had brought it so close to his bed that I could barely maneuver around them. They set a pillow on my lap with a blanket on it and then they very carefully moved him from his hospital bed to that pillow; taking great care not to pull too hard on any of the many tubes and drains that were attached to him. I don’t remember exactly what was going through my mind as I sat there waiting for my son to finally be in my arms. My eyes are all puffy from crying. I’m not smiling. That was supposed to be such a joyful moment and instead it was heart wrenching and really, really hard. They set him down on that pillow and then spent what seemed like forever trying to rig the ventilator tubes in such a way as to make him and me comfortable without detaching them. They were literally sustaining his life. My heart was overwhelmed in that moment.
The time stamp on the picture says 5:44pm. 13 hours after he was born, we got to hold him. It was the most precious moment. It was so greatly anticipated. He was our first son, our second baby, and the person who made us a famlly of 4. He was Audrey’s first sibling. He looked JUST like his daddy. He was perfect. He was ours. He was God’s.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” -Genesis 1:27