It has amazed and fascinated me, how one touch transformed me. An independent woman delighting in a career break, exploring and blogging my journey of being (http://lifeandagingercat.com/). Now an independent woman and fierce protector of the wee fella.
A good friend rightly questioned if I would bond easily with Zac; whether it would feel like I had a child or was a mother after Zac’s colourful arrival. For as Sime says this is remote parenting.
She didn’t need to worry because in one moment, placing my hand on Zac, I was hooked. I felt so many emotions, yes some uncertainty of the foreign NICU world, but mostly wonder at the small miracle in front of me. Love for Sime in together creating this little human, gratitude for the staff looking after Zac, amazement, delight, and joy at seeing my son, physically in front of me.
While in the past I had many places to be, things to do, people to see, I now feel little need to be anywhere else. I spend hours gazing at Zac. I can’t get enough of watching him stretching! I beam when he holds my little finger. If Sime & I could bottle the emotion created whilst Zac sleeps on our chests as a tonic, we wouldn’t need to eat or work again.
So here I am, over a month into this journey, delighting in this new world. Some may have grieved the lost of a further three months career break, of not carrying a child to term, of loosing the flexibility of ones day, yet I haven’t. Sime asked are you sure?
I won’t pretend that a baby in the NICU is easy, or that I would wish for others to have the experience of a child in intensive care, but life is not about what happens, it is how you respond. With a glass half full approach to life, this is an incredible journey to be a part of.
Every time I stand in the NICU, every touch of Zac, every cuddle, I feel love, gratitude, joy and privilege. Only 10% of the population have premature babies, there are not that many mothers who get to see, feel, experience their baby’s third trimester development in front of their eyes, as well as share that with their partner and loved ones.
I never imagined I would be described as a relaxed mother (I can see your raised eyebrows as you read this) but I guess it is all relative. In the NICU world, the nurses describe me as this. I think it helps that many of my strengths are being drawn on. Comfort with ambiguity, preference for the big picture, not sweating the small stuff, having the ability to reframe, take a bigger perspective, being adaptable, and someone who delights in new experiences to name a few.
My psychologist Rachel suggested this journey as the culmination of the work I have undertaken over the past few years to grow, develop and be more. For both Sime and I we were ready to flourish together through adversity.
I sit drafting this blog during quiet time, with Zac on my chest. His bottom fits snugly in my palm, his hands brushing my skin. I look down on his cherub face and my heart swells. His cheeks a little chubby from the milk, partially exposed under the bubbling CPAP snorkel. Dark black eyes gaze deep into my soul, seeming to know where I have come from, where we are today and where we are going. We have of course been on our journey together for over 7 months now.
Tomorrow, Zac is 32 weeks. He is a little over 1400 grams. Since birth he has put on more than 50% of his body weight demonstrating he is another member of the food loving tribe. Our family’s conversations on poo continue as his bowels are fully functional. Zac is as active today as he was in the womb, stretching and kicking against his nest (bedding).
He is described as being very placid (clearly inheriting that from Dad) only making his kitten like wail to voice his dissatisfaction, usually when being placed back in his kennel post cuddles. His next big milestone will be to decrease dependency on the CPAP, expected to happen over the next few weeks as his lungs, brain and body grow further with time.
Sime and I could not do this without you, our wonderful and dear friends and family.