Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
By Amanda Lynch
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See, Nora came into this world blue as a blueberry. After a few endless seconds, we heard her first cry. As her face turned from blue to pink, we relaxed confident that she was just fine. Twenty four hours later, the nurse came in to check on me.
“How are you doing?” she asked. “Has the doctor talked to you about Nora's color?”
“No,” I replied, waiting for more information. The nurse went on to tell me that it was probably nothing, but Nora looked a little jaundiced. If her bilirubin levels were high, she would spend a few hours basking in some ultraviolet lights, her first trip to a tanning bed.
The doctors weren't concerned and we were released a few hours later. Baby in arms, we left the hospital to introduce Nora to her big sister. On the way home we called our pediatrician, just to make sure that we didn't need to be concerned about the jaundice.
On the pediatrician's recommendation, we brought Nora in to have her levels checked and were sent home with a special “biliblanket” to treat Nora's now obvious jaundice. The next day, we returned to the hospital to have her levels checked again.
As I held Nora's tiny foot for the nurse to prick it, I prayed that the blanket had worked. All I wanted was to hold this tiny baby in my arms with no cords or lights attached. Ultimately, though, the blanket didn't work and we were readmitted to the hospital. Scared and alone, I sat in Nora's hospital room, praying that our visit would be short lived.
Nora was my second child, so I thought I had the parent thing down. I also knew that, with treatment, jaundice was not life threatening. Still, I sat in the room, looking at her tiny body lying in an incubator, wishing I could make it all better. As I prayed, I thanked God that I had a relatively healthy baby. I knew things could be so much worse, yet my arms longed to hold her close. I wanted to smell the new baby smells. I wanted to feel her soft skin. Instead, I smelled the sterile “non-smell” of the hospital and felt the hard plastic of an incubator.
I prayed for strength. How could I be brave and patient? God held me so close to him in that time. At one point on the first day, a co-worker arrived at the hospital, just to sit with me until my husband arrived. Later, God sent kind nurses to assure me we'd get Nora home soon. God ministered to me through the other parents in the Pediatric unit. He ministered to me through the peace that arrived as I lay in bed trying to sleep in the eerie blue light of the incubator.
Every few hours, nurses came in and pricked her tiny heel to check her levels. Twenty minutes later or so, a grim faced doctor would come in, shake her head and say, “The levels are still going up.” Eventually, Nora lay in an incubator with no clothes, no diaper, just the tiny sunglasses to protect her newly opened eyes from the light. We wanted every centimeter of skin to absorb the healing light.
Finally, the doctor came in with a smile. “Her levels dropped,” she said. It was working. I knew we were on the way home. It would take two more days for us to get to a place where we could safely bring Nora home. But each day, her yellow skin, faded closer to the creamy color of her sister's and we were fine. Now I look at my rainbow child and call her “Sunshine.” The yellow of her jaundice replaced by the yellow of the sun.
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