A moment in time. Frozen. Forever. Etched forever in my mind.
Staring at my face in the mirror after my water broke in disbelief that this was happening.
Calling my husband and him telling me I needed to go to the Labor and Delivery immediately.
I was only 33 weeks. I was all alone with my 19 month old daughter. My husband was seven hours away. This couldn’t be, shouldn’t be happening.
Dear Lord – Help me.
Alone in my hospital bed. No one to hold my hand. No one tell me it was going to be okay.
Scared. Yelling at my husband that if he didn’t get here before I delivered, I would never forgive him. Crazy, pregnant hormones.
Relieved. My husband arrived.
Contractions. Very Painful back contractions. I remember the nurse asking me to quiet down.
I just wanted relief so I agreed to the c-section.
Scared and Cold. Naked. Vulnerable. Praying for God’s protection. So cold. So cold. And so very scared.
My husband was behind the curtain with me. I was wanting to hear desperately my son’s first cry, so I would know he was okay.
After only hearing a brief cry the silence in the room was deafening. Why couldn’t I hear him? I yelled at the doctor. IS HE OKAY? Yes. They had taken him through the NICU window.
I would not be the first person to lay eyes on my son. I would not be the first person to touch his skin. I would not be the first voice he would hear. Oh. My heart.
Cold. Shaking. I couldn’t breathe. I just wanted the c-section to be over. I started coughing. I couldn’t stop. And I was so cold. They couldn’t tell me if my son was okay. I just couldn’t breathe. Then, darkness. The anesthesiologist put me out after I agreed.
I should be cheerful. Put on my positive mask. I couldn’t let people know that I was scared for my son. Seeing pictures of my son with his CPAP was tough. But he was beautiful and precious.
The bruised hands. The bruised feet. The bruised head. So many pokes on his tiny body. Good, Lord. Why? I was crushed on the inside. This was all my fault. Why had my body betrayed me? Why had my body caused my son to be into the NICU?
I drank Ryan in every chance I could. His sweet smell. His sweet snuggles. It was never enough and sadly, every night, I had to leave my son in the hands of someone else. It should have been at home with me. Nursing freely and without the eyes of others.
Blood in his stools. Nurse, is this normal? Panic was overcoming me again. This can’t be happening. I don’t think I can endure this.
“This could be devastating.” I will never forgot those words. They are forever etched in my mind. Ryan had an infection in his bowels. Oh, Dear Lord – Please help my son. See the train track in the x-rays of bowels? That is a sign of NEC. I could see the two parallel lines on the X-ray. There was no mistaking them.
Another tube. This time down into his belly. Crying. And more Crying. And then more. Dear Lord – What had I done? Ryan just wanted to eat, but he couldn’t, it was to help him get better. A whole seven days with no eating. Just fluids and medicine. His sweet smell went away. He was lucky though. They caught it early and was able to treat the infection before it became anything really serious. Thankful. Extremely, thankful.
It was during this week my husband had an argument. I don’t remember about what exactly, but I think it had something to do with the amount of time I was spending at the NICU and I had a husband and daughter at home that needed me too. Guilt. More Guilt.
Ryan needs me. I don’t know what it is, but there is something different about him. There is something different about him. He needs me. Those words are forever etched in my mind. To this day, these words I think about often. It’s the whole reason I’m writing this.
There is something different about him. Did I know in my hearts of hearts then that he would be different. Why had I thought that?
I’ve been strongly bonded to Ryan since I was able to hold him. Not more than my beautiful daughter. But it is a different bond and something I haven’t yet been able to explain or put into even vague words. I just knew that he would need me and need me in a different way. A sixth sense? Mother’s instincts? God preparing me for our journey that was ahead? I don’t know but that moment is forever etched in my brain. Staring at him in the NICU. Watching him sleep. Holding his tiny hand and promising him that whatever it is he needed from me, I would give it to him.
These past few weeks, I have been coming to term with my son’s diagnosis of Autism. I’ve been processing it quietly – in the confines of my mind. But over the past few weeks, those words keep echoing in my head. There is something different about him. He needs me. My beautiful son. My laughing son. My rambunctious son. My happy son. He needs me…. but I think I need him more than he needs me. I love you, Ryan Scott Grover.