Updated: Apr 18
“It’s bad news...”
The nightmare words bolted me awake, just as they had every night for the past week. I stretch my stiff neck and back. Falling asleep in a chair was not ideal for my sore, healing body, but how could I leave my tiny sleeping angel.
I feel the fog begin to lift from my mind as the world swims back into focus. The reality of the nightmare that woke me settles in again. I look over at the tiny, sleeping form of the little human who, only a week ago, had been wiggling and squirming inside me. I feel that ache in my heart awaken as I watch my tiny newborn stir in her plastic crib, pulling slightly on the tubes and lines connecting her to the machines, making her look like a fly caught in a nasty spiderweb.
I look at the clock on the wall, it’s midnight but I won’t leave, I can’t. The warm glow of the heat lamp above the tiny form paints her cheeks a rosy red, making her look so alive while every second is a struggle. I stand up and stretch, moving to be closer. Looking down at what seems like the worlds smallest hand, I trace the tiny lines running over her upturned palm, watching her fingers curl up over mine, making me desperate to hold her.
I look around the room, suddenly more aware of how much movement and activity there is. So many nurses, each caring for another tiny human. I hear a few of the babies crying as they wait impatiently to be fed. I know it’s night but there is almost as much light as there is in the day, but the sick, sleeping babies don’t seem to notice. Most of the other parents have gone home for the night but I can’t leave. I can’t go home, waiting for the call to hear if my baby will live or die.
I feel a hand on my shoulder, comfort for tears I hadn’t even noticed. My face is damp and my nose begins to run. The longer I watch my tiny human struggle, the more I feel my heart breaking, shattering into a million shards that may never be pieced back together. To lose my little one will leave an empty chasm in my chest, which could never be filled.
I hear a distant phone ring and quick footsteps approach.
“We have a match.”
Everything moves so quick, the news we never thought would come is here. I hear sobbing in the distance but my brain is too overwhelmed with joy to take much notice. I barely feel even a pang of guilt for wishing this. Another baby has died but now they can give life to mine, a gift bigger than all others. The shards in my chest begin to dull, I know someone else’s heart is breaking, but in this moment I only care it’s not mine.