Thursday, March 20, 2014

A feisty patient

Dear Little Rachel,

Some day when you are older I am going to tell you how brave your mama is. I am going to tell you how strong I've had to see her be when she didn't think it was in her. I know so clearly that you are her daughter because 'feisty' is just what you are. In all of nature's unfairness - to be given the hand you were dealt before your tiny little lungs drew breath - you somehow found a way to be here with us. And that I know is not a universal quirk - it is a solid and steady indomitable will...just like your mama. 

Some day when you are older I will tell you how I watched your mama stay calm and peaceful for you as you turned from perky pink to clamshell grey, to a most horrible oyster blue in her arms. Your mama listened calmly to Lisa, the nurse as she talked her through how to coax your body back and nudge you back into the breath your brain and body are too young to get control of yet. There was palpable fear in the room and tears were streaming down your mama's face but she was focused on keeping herself calm to let you know you would be okay. 

Some day I hope I can tell you that your Mama and Daddy are two of the bravest parents I know...Here it is - only day 22 on earth- they have already had to dig down deep into their hearts and souls for you. Long before you made your entrance they had to summon up some courage that knew no carved-out path before them. When the rest of the world told them you should not or could not be here - they believed in miracles. But little Rachel it is you who are showing them the way. I watched you endure these moments yesterday- in one long untaken breath - a whisper of agony for us all in the room. Agony for your mom and I - and even for your very wise nurse Lisa - who told me as we sat in the chairs together talking side by side that she has hard moments in her job like these. It touches her soul to watch this bewildering terror of moms who see their children fight for these breaths.

 I watched all of this that happened with you and saw you show US all how to breathe calm again. How, you say?...You made us laugh when we needed to take that breath of exhale again.Ten minutes after you stunned us to tears and pindrop silence, you stretched out like a pin-up girl in your crib and smiled. And minutes after your next terrifying 'event' you blew a giant bubble. I was able to take a picture...and I will show you. And oh, yeah your feeding tube upgrade - that was all you - 'removed by patient.' Feisty indeed.

Yes, little Rachel you are tough and some day I am going to tell you when you can really understand. Some day I am going to tell you how as scary as that was for me today, to see you and your mama endure these unfathomable showed me how to be even braver than I thought I could be. And as we sat together quiet in that chair - just you and I- and a lot of beeping noises, I felt my heart grow too. 

I love you, my niece, little Rachel and you don't know this, but you remind me of someone I know and love very much. She's the person who held my hand when I needed it so many times. So I wanted to hold hers today. And yours, little Rachel.

You are your mother's daughter.

Love Auntie Leah

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