Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: FUSSY (11/17/16)
TITLE: The Joy of Crying
By Karen Dick
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“I’m so glad you could all make it. I see most of you have your babies with you.” The instructor smiled.
A woman to my left leaned toward me. “I hope my baby isn’t fussy. I wouldn’t know what to do!” She giggled and held the infant close.
I swallowed and smiled.
“Babies love to be wrapped tightly in their blankets,” continued the instructor as she scanned the room. “It often prevents fussiness.” Her eyes met mine and her smile disappeared.
My cheeks burned as I stared down at my empty arms. A baby cried and the mother shook him gently.
The teacher suggested, “Rock your baby close to your body to comfort him. Go ahead and nurse him if he’s hungry.” She focused her attention away from me.
I cleared my throat and looked back at Roberta.
“Yes, Mrs. Thompson. Is everything all right?”
No, everything is not all right. I’m the only mother here without a baby!
“I’m feeling a little tired. I’d like to leave.”
She nodded, unlocked the brakes, and pushed me toward the door.
“Sorry you have to go,” the teacher said in her sing-song voice. “I hope the crying wasn’t bothering you.”
The crying is beautiful! I gave her a slight wave as I was wheeled out.
“Would you like to see your baby?” Roberta asked as she pushed me toward my room.
“That would be nice.” I smiled and sat up straight in my chair.
She wheeled me past my room and down the hall. Lord, please give me strength to endure whatever situation I face.
As we entered the Neonatal unit, a loud beeping noise sounded. I held my breath as a doctor and several nurses hurried past us. My heart raced when I realized the sound was coming from my baby’s incubator. I gripped the handles of the wheelchair as I watched them touching him, moving cords, and examining machinery. I stood in an effort to be with him, but Roberta gently pushed me back down.
“It’s better to stay out of the way.”
She handed a tissue to me. I dabbed the wetness on my cheeks and covered my mouth. Lord, help them.
Eventually, the nurses slowly left the small crib. One smiled and squeezed my shoulder as she walked by. I bowed my head. Thank you Lord.
When I looked up, the doctor motioned us over. Roberta pushed me slowly, until I was next to the incubator.
“He’s a great little fighter Mrs. Thompson. Fortunately, the respirator just needed a little adjusting. He’s fine."
His small chest rose up and down as the respirator pushed air into his lungs. Bandages across his little face held the breathing tube in place. Long cords were taped to his sides and tummy, connecting him to the heart and lung monitors. My eyes filled with tears as I reached out a shaky hand to touch his tiny palm.
“Have you held your baby yet?” The doctor asked quietly.
I shook my head. “Not yet, they said he was too fragile.”
“It’s probably best if you wait until he’s off of the respirator. That should be next week.”
I nodded and peered at the doctor through blurry eyes. “Does he ever act fussy?”
With furrowed brows the doctor said with a wink, “Not yet…but you just wait.”
The following week, I walked into the Neonatal unit and headed toward the familiar incubator. It was empty. My legs buckled and the room swayed. Somehow I made my way to the nurse’s station.
I gripped the counter and asked, “Where is he?”
Roberta smiled as she pointed to cribs on the opposite side of the room. “He’s over there. He graduated!”
I took deep breaths as I walked to my baby. The tubes and bandages had been removed, and a blue blanket was wrapped tightly around him.
“It’s okay to hold him today,” Roberta called.
With both arms I reached down, and carefully scooped him up. I laid my cheek against his tiny head, feeling the softness of his newborn skin. Then I whispered in his ear, “You can be just as fussy as you want.”
Based on a true event.
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