fire hydrants of tasty mama-love

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It was 3 AM. The moment I’d opened my eyes I recognized the sensation, that familiar heaviness. Bagfuls of marbles, as I know they get for me. But there’s liquid gold in them there marbles. Now despite everything I can be useful. I can contribute to healing instead of just going down there and falling apart.

In the darkness I fumbled for the pen and blindly wrote fire hydrants of tasty mama love on a piece of paper, suddenly optimistic at the prospect of milk, at something being normal. We’re searching for peace, desperately. Every morning we call down to the NICU in hopes of hearing news of an uneventful night — these days, to hear ‘uneventful’ is like winning the lottery. One more spell of no-steps-back, a chance for the boys to gain a little of something — strength, momentum or just plain rest.

Today Liam will have another brain scan to judge the state of his hemorrhage and to assess the damage it’s caused. He is still deep purple but less puffy today than he was (the sight of which sent me into a tailspin yesterday morning). I have started being able to talk to him, to find words. Ben continues to breathe on his own, cranky old man that he is… bless him. He’d been tugging at the tube until they took it out yesterday, replaced it with a mask which is much less invasive. Both boys are under the lights to address hemoglobin and blood cell issues, wearing their tiny sunglasses as they kick back at ‘the beach’.

The sight of them, the machines and tubes and wires, still takes the wind out of me like a punch to the stomach. I’m exhausted of crying. I have to be brave enough to see potential in both of our boys. To push aside our own anxieties so that we can see the life underneath all the props. Easier said than done… self-preservation and hope are uneasy bedfellows. Sometimes I rest my head against the plastic, my voice pressed up to the access hole, and close my eyes, just sensing them, and letting them sense me. They can’t see me, and I can’t see them. It calms me like a skittish horse with blinders. Helps me to just coo to them, to slip into being their mama.

Thank you for being here. Your kind words, your own experiences, and your solidarity mean so much. It’s 7 AM now and I’m off to pump, to see what sweetness these explosive jubblies have to offer. I’ll sit here and think back to the blissed-out squeaks Evan used to make while nursing, and my shoulders will unclench. And our family will mine for gold wrapped in the light of friendship.