I really look forward to my birthday each year; after all, it's the only day of the year when the entire world is focused on me. It is, isn't it? But this year I just wasn't feeling it. 30 sounds so old. I don't feel 30. I don't want to be 30! I want to be forever young, maybe 24 forever? 24 is a good age. Or even 26. But 30, ugh. Too old. So I was feeling a little glum, a little blue. Then I had two or three friends drop by with sweet and thoughtful bday presents. So nice. I have the nicest friends ever. They cheered me up pretty good, just by letting me know that they were thinking about me on my special day. THEN I got the phone call. It was Clayton.
Ok, somewhere along the line, Clayton's cell phone number was registered at the hospital as being our home phone number. Even though we've corrected it or thought that we've corrected it several times, the nurses still occasionally call Clayton first instead of me. Which is fine, except that sometimes Clayton can't answer his phone at work. So he gets a call from Elsie's primary nurse Bethany (whom we LOVE), who tells him that if we can come to the hospital, then we can hold Elsie. Clayton can't leave work, so he passes the message onto me. At first, I was kinda hesitant, because I didn't have a babysitter for Evje, I'd driven to SLC the last two days in a row and it gets to be a long and boring drive, it had snowed earlier so I didn't know how crappy the roads would be, and the last time that I had gotten to "hold" Elsie, I simply held her in my hands for like 5 seconds. I didn't know if it would be worth it for me to go to all of the trouble to get there if I was only going to be able to hold her in my hands for 5 seconds. I mean, I love my baby and I WANT to hold her, don't get me wrong. But it's a lot of work for me to get to the hospital. So I called Bethany to find out what was going on.
Turns out that every two weeks, they switch the babies' beds. You see, with all of the humidity and moisture involved in an incubator, there is the opportunity for mold, fungus, and other yuckiness to grow in the bed. So every two weeks, they switch the babies to a new, sterilized bed and then get the used beds cleaned. Today just happened to be the day that they were moving Elsie to a clean bed, and since they were going to be lifting her up and moving her anyway, it was the perfect opportunity for me to come in and hold her. And not just with my hands. Bethany said that I could hold her in my arms, for as long as Elsie tolerated it. Um, yes, I'll be right there.
Thank heavens for my wonderful friend Heidi who immediately dropped everything to come babysit Evje. Heidi is golden. I don't know what I'd do without friends like her. I texted my sister Mona to see if she wanted to come with me, because if Clayton couldn't be there, then it would be nice to have someone else with me. I raced into SLC. I hurried through the hospital lobby and into the elevators, this whole time with a huge grin on my face at the thought of what was to come. I probably looked kinda crazy, but I didn't care. I scrub my arms and hands very carefully, and then rushed into the NBICU Room 1. And then this happened:
|Mommy and Elsie :)|
We had to be really careful with her breathing tube and feeding tube that were still down her throat. The nurse explained that when she graduates off the ventilator & breathing tube and only uses a CPAP to help her breathe, then we can hold her more often. But now, if the breathing tube were to accidentally come out, that's bad.
She had her mouth gaping open like this for the longest time, even though she was sound asleep. It was soo funny. She looked like a little baby bird. While I held her, an alarm on one of the machines kept going off, telling us that her oxygen levels were high. Bethany explained that this was good, that it meant that Elsie was happy and content. I don't really understand the correlation between the two, but I'll take it. As long as her heart rate was normal and her oxygen levels were stable, then I could keep holding her. I whispered softly to my little Thumbelina that this was the best birthday present that I'd ever gotten. I got to hold her for about 45 wonderful minutes. Then the nurse took Elsie's temperature to make sure that she was staying warm enough, and unfortunately, she was getting pretty cold. I guess that's what happens when you have no body fat. So I had to give her back to the incubator.
On the long drive home, I spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking about Elsie and what a miracle it is that she is alive and well. Feeling the joy of finally being able to hold her in my arms. As I drove alongside the Great Salt Lake, the clouds opened up and for the first time in what seems like months, the sun came out and there was a big section of blue sky. It's been a long, cold, gray and gloomy winter. To see the sun shining on a blue sky seemed almost like a miracle to me. And at that moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I felt the love that Heavenly Father has for me and for Elsie. He knows us and He loves us. I felt it so strongly. I saw the beautiful mountains covered with snow, against the shimmering backdrop of the lake. God's creations are so beautiful. All of them. Elsie, even though she is too tiny to live on her own, is perfect and beautiful, because she was made in God's image. And if I have joy at being able to hold her in my arms today, I can't even imagine the joy that we will feel someday when we are in God's arms.
I guess 30 ain't so bad after all.