Your small forehead wrinkles and reminds me of the lines that make the sage brow of an elephant. These care-worn creases, usually reserved for the weathered and old, wrap around your small spherical eyes. Your flapping tongue gives away the fact that the ventilater tube inside your small mouth is irritating and invading. It flicks back and forth, next to the tube and then touchdown on your bottom lip. Your tiny nose is giving shape to your face -- a perfect blend of your mother and father. I look at you and you are a three-dimensional puzzle --there is Andrea's eyes and cheeks, there is Courtney's ears and nose, and do I detect the round chin that is prominent on your grandmother and great-grandmother?
A small miracle that is what you are. One day you will grow into a man, but now we revel in the tufts of curly dark hair on your head and the minute fingernails. We giggle a bit at the feet that have grown to a size that appears too big and out of proportion with your 15-inch baby body. You smile or coo and you melt our hearts. You cover your face or mischievously touch the tape on your face and we laugh at the intelligence and personality you already display.
We came to see you, speaking your name over and over like butterflies departing from our lips. A sacred hush or om because there is religiousness that is appropriate while you are in the hospital and we spend time at the side of your little NICU altar. We are waiting, and praying, for your true life to begin. You will have a life beyond these shiny white walls and sparkling tan floors. We are waiting for you. So many of us.
When you open your eyes it is like watching a Super Nova appear through the lens of Hubble. We are amazed and wonder at the incredible awe and power of nature. Every few minutes we glance away from your angelic face and look at the various monitors around your altar, displaying numbers that tell us of your progress and health. 22. 64. 82. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. All of this information is all once hope and concern. If the numberology tells us your future is bright we are excited and hope for the best, but deep down we still have conern because we have not heard the tension of your angry my-diaper-is-wet cry or the soft belch after a filling meal. We still haven't had the glee of passing you around to the seemingly alien hands of family members. We haven't had the chance to nap with you limp and asleep on our chests.
There is a crowd awaiting your arrival. We all pray and think of your baby skin and can't wait to inhale the sweet scent of your baby breath. We are waiting. And, the day you come home can never be soon enough.
My nephew, Corron, and his twin, Correll, were born at 24 weeks. Both were born so early they had not yet opened their eyes. They both fought for their lives vehemently from when they first exited my sister's womb. Correll lost his battle at two weeks and we mourned a life that was lost and never had the chance to truly begin. Corron continues to fight. He was born 1 pound, 1 ounce and is now 3 pounds, 2 ounces. Every minute I get to see him is a blessing. We hope he will be home in July.