Our beautiful son T was born suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, surprising everyone with his arrival, overwhelming us with the power of new love, and teaching us the meaning of hope. T was born healthy and strong, but with fluid on his lungs he’s having trouble clearing out. Since he was born he’s been in an oxygen tent and though he gains strength every day, he’s still not well enough to be able to come home, or even to be held in our arms. 72hours after the birth of my baby I am yet to hold him close, to breathe the scent of his being. The pain at sitting next to an incubator, watching your baby cry and being unable to console them, resisting the urge forcing your arms to reach in and pick him up, going against all instinct and just sitting, stroking his skin, is indescribable. It makes your heart break. But sitting in NICU, being able to touch our son, tokenly though it may be, makes us lucky and blessed.
In the weeks leading up to birth, we focus on the birth itself, the baby’s entrance into this transitionary world they’ll share with us. We select the hospital for its labour policy and post natal mother-child approach, and along the way, swept up in the emotions of excitement at the way we will meet our child, we forget -again-that’s it’s out of our hands, all of it, that the NICU may matter most and that all we can do is hold our hands up in prayer.
Until Wednesday, neither G nor I really knew what is meant to have hope. When Allah delivered us our son he also gave us this other gift, one we weren’t aware we would ask for, but which every parent needs. Our son was born screaming, waving arms around and sucking intuitively. Though he was taken straight away from me, I felt he was going to be ok, fear didn’t overtake or doubt taint the words the doctors said. I felt from the minute of his birth, hope; hope to hold him soon, to bring him home. Yesterday as we left him behind to go pick up M, we clung to that hope and felt it blossom into our strength.
I saw T earlier today and alhamduillah he is doing great. His skin is now pink and healthy, lips no longer black and he’s opened his deep dark blue eyes. His movements are assertive and his lungs are clearing, slowly but surely, as hours pass. Since Thursday he has been drinking pumped breastmilk, feeding hungrily, keeping most down and if he continues this way, with Allah’s blessing we’ll have him home in a matter of days. Through the toughest of moments being away from our son, we’ve been granted this blessing of hope.
Every step on our journey through life is guided by a hand greater than ours. Meaning isn’t always easy to find but if we look hard enough, trust deep enough, surrender to the faith that the reason is there, the steps we take will surely lead us where we’re meant to head toward in the end. Hope, the most inconspicuous of gifts, provides the strength we need to take these steps until we hold T in our arms and introduce M to his brother as we so terribly ache now to do, and so for hope we are grateful and hold our hearts open in prayer.