“Would you like me to sit with him while you go out/sleep/shower/cook/do washing/cry/tidy up/read/or any number of other things?”
Literally from the minute that little human escapes your body people are lining up to take him off your hands. I get it, you love him, love babies, love their smell, warmth, weight, comfort. And we love that you love it. Please, keep coming over, cuddle him like crazy, play with him!
But I’ve waited a long time for this little blob. Waited years for it to be the right time to create them, months for them to grow, not nearly enough months, but still months. Waited/anguished a few (few makes it feel short, it sure as hell wasn’t) hellish months for him to escape his incubator, a few more for him to escape the hospital.
Granted I probably look like shit. Haven’t slept more than two and a half hours in a row in months, while spending every other hour pretty highly stressed. And so perhaps giving off the vibe that I could do with a break?
Seriously, thanks, but no thanks.
There’s the obvious one that he’s our baby, I want to hold him, squeeze him, soak him all up into my pores so this little soft, warm, rubbery, pudgy stage is ingrained in my soul forever.
But then there’s the leftover ones from the road we have been on, the ones that you didn’t fully realise were there until someone offered to take your baby.
For so long we couldn’t be his parents in the way that we wanted, needed, to. We finally have this chance now that we are home and even though it’s been weeks and weeks we still haven’t had enough. He had nurses and doctors and therapists comforting him during procedures when he should have had us, so when he’s distressed all I want is for his mum and dad to be at his side in a heartbeat so he knows we are there. No matter what. No matter when. No matter how. We are there.
And the one that is possibly the hardest as it has no end point in sight yet. You don’t know him like we do.
There’s the practical side of things, using the feeding pump, troubleshooting when it occludes (is it pump or tube?), how many cm his tube sits at and where that is instinctively because all the numbers have all but smudged off, when to vent him or aspirate, how long after a feed until it’s safe out of the spew zone, what cry is bubbles in tummy, and which is bubbles in bowels.
And then there’s all his little quirks. How to put that dummy in his mouth at the right time, place, speed so he doesn’t throw up, how to rub between his eyebrows to calm him as a feed goes in, while using your little fingers to settle his arms so they don’t touch his face. How to snuggle him onto his side so he’s safe, from suffocation and from aspirating his vomit. How to catch that vomit with a flannel and manage to keep it off his pjs, wrap and bed (it’s taken us weeks but we finally have it!!). The sound that means you need to get your butt in that room ASAP or the boy is going to be swimming in his own spew. It sounds fussy, like, my kid needs all these special things and if he doesn’t get them he will be damaged forever. Which I know isn’t true. But is it so wrong to want to give him it all right now? To want him to have the least distress, the most routine and consistency in his care so that after all the up and down and round and round, he knows he’s safe from harm?
I don’t think it is.
But that’s just me.
So thank you so much for offering to sit by him so that I can eat my dinner, or get some sleep but I am truly happy and okay where I am right now. And I’m comfortable knowing that our boy is experiencing things in a way that he expects and understands. This is one more thing that I’m not ready to relinquish control over. We clawed at control for months, trying to hold onto it, keep it with us. Finally there are some things that are now our own. I’m going to hold them close a little longer if that’s okay.
And when we do need a babysitter i promise I’ll keep the “looking after Oliver list” down to an absolute max of 20 pages.