Michael was born four weeks ago today.
He is a blessing and been such a trooper. One day soon (very soon, oh please) he'll be home. And then we can start figuring out how our new family configuration will work. We can find a new rhythm for our family of four all under one roof. It will be difficult and scary, but it has to be better than the past four weeks.
I sometimes feel like I'm just scratching the surface of how I really feel about all of this. About the pregnancy complications and Michael's being born so early, about the back and forth from the hospital and the worry and the uncertainty.
We're supposed to have another month, four more weeks, before he's even born and yet he's four weeks old today.
Four weeks in which I have learned an entire language full of terms I never cared to know about.
Four weeks of late night phone calls to near-strangers to find out how my baby is.
Four weeks of learning to navigate a hospital that was once a maze to me. Now I believe I could lead tours there in my sleep. My feet walk on automatic pilot to the parking garage, the cafeteria, the rooms where the breast pumps are kept. I know what the paintings look like outside the elevators on each floor. I know where I have to wave my hand in front of a sensor to open a door, where I have to push a button, where I just keep walking and the doors open on their own. I know the patterns of the carpet and the tile in too many hallways.
After four weeks of this strangeness, this apartness, I wonder how I'll get to feeling normal again. Stable. Not be holding my breath, ready for some unforeseen disaster to come strolling around the corner. Not need so much help.
I am surprised, stunned, by the random things that upset me.
In the parking garage elevator, a woman complains about how difficult it is to get to the doctors' offices in the hospital. She's says, offhandedly, how she's glad she only has to come once a year. Tears spring to my eyes as I think of the number of times I've been there in a month.
American's Funniest Home Videos is on television tonight and we see a woman reading a card at Christmas, finding out she is going to have another grandchild. I cry thinking of how we'll never make that kind of announcement again.
As I'm rocking Michael this afternoon, careful not to bother his IV or the suction tube keeping his stomach empty, it suddenly occurs to me that we never took a picture when I was pregnant with him. Not one in which you could see that I was pregnant. I remember posing in the kitchen, big-bellied and full of nervous excitement, the morning we went to the hospital to have Harper. No one thinks to hurry up and take that picture when you are only 27 weeks. The nurse notices my tears and leaves me a box of tissues.
I feel like I should say something uplifting now, like how wonderful it is that we got to meet Michael and see his sweet face for all this extra time. . . but mostly I just feel cheated out of the way this should have been.