The month of January is always a time of reflection for me. Not just because it is the start of a new year, but also because it is Mighty Z’s birthday month. I remember like it was yesterday how I was so ready for her to be born, not a thought of ‘would she be alright?’ even entered my head. I had done all the prenatal tests and they had all come back perfectly, so what was there to fear? I remember getting up early on January 22 and heading to the hospital excited to meet Miss Z.
Everything went beautifully; the only hiccup was that my blood pressure was a bit high and they gave me some medication that made me kind of loopy. When Z finally arrived, the nurses gave her to me and pronounced her perfect.
You know hindsight is 20/20, and I remember Z kept wanting to fall asleep when I was holding her. Her nurse kept saying ‘wake her up; she needs to be awake.’ Yet that was easier said than done-- Z kept nodding off no matter what I did. The nurses, still unworried, took her to the nursery and they sent me up to my room where I waited and waited and waited for someone, anyone, to come to my room and tell me something.
My husband, my mom, everyone had forgotten about me and I had no idea why. Finally my husband came into my room and fell on top of me in a puddle of tears and said they have taken our sweet Z to the intensive care unit because she wouldn’t breathe on her own.
I have always been one to take charge and this time was no different. I demanded that I go and see our Z. The nurses said I could only go if I could walk around my room three times without throwing up. I remember I started walking and immediately threw up. Yet I tried again I walked around twice more and told my husband not to tell them I didn’t do the final third walk. They placed me in a wheelchair and up to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) we went.
The NICU is a dark and sad looking place, and there in the corner was my sweet Z in an isolette with tubes in her mouth and nose, and wires, wires everywhere. How could this be? The nurses not just a couple hours ago said she was perfect; how did we get from perfection to this place?
I remember touching Z and trying to sing to her. She flinched from my touch and started screaming. My heart broke into a tiny pieces in that moment. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a journey that no mother ever wants to travel.
Throughout this month I will walk you down the beginning of this journey as much as I can remember. There are times of great success and yet times of greater defeat and pain as the realization of why my baby wouldn’t breathe on her own finally started to dawn on me.