As I have mentioned in a previous post, Andrew was still involved with the LCP production of Three Musketeers while all this was going on, and sadly, (although it was a fantastic production) his visiting time in the NICU was limited due to both his day job and rehearsals for the show. Community theatre doesn’t have understudies so when you commit you’d better be serious about it! Vaughan was born about 2 weeks before opening night and a few short days after all of our excitement, Andrew put in two 10+ hour days at the theatre for things like a costume parade, cue-to-cue, and full scale dress rehearsals. I have no idea what half of those things are, I’m not the actor in the family, but I do know that it was hard on Andrew to be away.
Due to his various commitments, I made my first solo visit to the NICU that Saturday afternoon and it was definitely lonely as I sanitized myself and got ready for some quality one-on-one with our little guy. Even after a few short days, I was used to having Andrew by my side to ‘Oohh’ and ‘Ahh’ over baby V and back me up when I was harassing the nursing staff or doctors.
The NICU is a busy place There are various medical professionals running amok in organized chaos, monitors going off, parents/grandparents/’insert-random-family-member-here’ visiting, laughing, crying, etc. It is a place where in 5 minutes you can witness the highest or lowest point of a person’s life. It’s a scary and wonderful place that definitely took some time to get used to, and for some reason I always felt like I was intruding when I first went in. For Vaughan’s first few days all I could do was hold his tiny hand, V depended on other, more capable professionals and machines for his necessities of life. It’s so sad, as a parent, to feel that you’re a superfluous observer to your child’s hectic world, but maybe it’s just good training for when they hit the teenage years…at least that’s the story I’m sticking with!
Anyways, I cleaned myself up, signed in and made my way to the busy back room where V had been resting for the past 3 days. Each isolette had a pink or blue sign on it stating the child’s name, date of birth, weight, and parent’s names. I approached V’s bedside; however, as I reached to lift the cover, my eye was caught on the attached pink sticker…um what? My breath literally caught in my throat…this was not my baby! I looked around to make sure I was in the right bay, maybe I was confused? Nope, this was his spot! There was no nurse in the immediate vicinity and I must admit I had a mini-panic attack. Where was Vaughan?? Why didn’t anyone call me? Is he okay? This was all followed by an internal litany of ‘ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod…’
Okay, deep breath. First order of business was to find someone, anyone, who could tell me what the heck was going on here. I also caved under a huge tidal wave of shame, how could I not know where my child was? As a new mother, can you imagine the horror of not knowing where you baby is and if he is safe? I felt like I had failed him, something had happened while I was gone and I hadn’t been there for him! I crept up to the nurses desk, flushed and embarrassed, dreading what I could possibly be told, and quietly attracted the attention of the nearest nurse. I almost whispered because I was afraid of the other nurses or parents judging me, the horrible Mommy who didn’t know where her baby was. ‘I can’t find my baby.’ I told her. She looked at me, for a full second, and then asked me for his name. After I provided the information she smiled (thank goodness) and informed me that he’d been doing so well that he’d been moved to one of the front rooms! YAY!! My thoughts did an internal happy dance and I frantically turned around to V’s new room, directly behind me. There he was, safe and sound, chillin’ in his new location. He was now in a three baby room, had a corner spot, and shared a nurse with one other tiny miracle. I breathed a sigh of relief and quickly sanitized (again) before reaching in to give him a little pat.