She looked like a character from Rocky and Bullwinkle with her tiny gray goggles.
I called her my squirrel.
Let’s be honest. No one – myself included – wants to hear any of the special details reserved only for birthing stories. All you need to know is that when Olivia entered this world, she was strong, healthy, beautiful,
and seven pounds of something I wanted to pick up and throw out the nearest window.
Wrong reaction? Well, none of it felt right. I barely knew this tiny, wrinkled stranger and I was supposed to let her do WHAT with my boobs?
I needed a plan. Quick-like. My survival was to make one small decision at a time.
A) pull the nearest fire alarm. risky.
B) push this thing back in. painful.
C) learn to feed it. keep it alive. it’s the right thing to do.
I was in doubt. When in doubt, choose C.
Somehow we got through the first night, oh miracle of miracles. These things sleep a lot, who knew?
But then, she turned yellow.
It happened so fast that the doctors opted to treat her aggressively. It shouldn’t happen so fast. That’s what I think they kept telling me.
With little warning, our shoebox room was overtaken by a behemoth of a box.
A clear, plastic “bili box.” It’s a type of light therapy for babies with jaundice, but all I could see was the way it swallowed my squirrel whole.
She was splayed out like a frog in science class. Nothing to protect her but a tiny diaper
and her gray goggles.
There was a small, round hole at the side of the box that we could reach through to touch her, but we couldn’t take her out. She was sequestered to a baby tanning bed which would have been the stuff of a great joke if the joke hadn’t been on her.
How do you console a brand new life that is flailing around, blindly grasping and kicking for the soothing comfort of a swaddle?
That second night was unbearable. The screaming. Oh, the screaming. Of strong, healthy, beautiful lungs.
I needed a plan. Quick-like.
I eased my tired self out of bed and unfolded the metal chair from behind our door.
Lowering myself down, I tested the strength of my legs, the courage of my mind, and the pain of new wounds.
I scooted myself and that metal folding chair as close to her box as I could and let the warmth of the healing lights take me for just
With the care of someone with no clue what to do next, I twisted my arm through that small, round hole at the side of the box and placed my pinky finger into her tiny, desperate mouth.
I was shouting so loudly inside I couldn’t tell if the words were coming from my own mouth or my head
I AM A MOTHER RIGHT NOW!
And I hoped my heart wouldn’t wake the baby.