Last night Neylan was hiding behind some of my old Fine Arts dresses from college. He looked out from behind a blue and black dress saying, “I see you, Daddy.” He then hid himself behind dress again. The Husband looked up from his work and replied, “I can’t see you. The dress is over your face.” And so Ney looked out from the dress at me and said, “I see you, Mommy.” He then laughed hysterically while still looking at me. “I see you, Neylan.” I said.
Looking my child in the eye and seeing him means so much more than I can even describe to you. Why does it mean so much? Because looking him in the eye and stroking his head were all I had for about 2 1/2 weeks.
I was very blessed to be able to hold my child to my heart after he was born. He nursed like it was instinct, but was taken away from me to another hospital soon after. At 2:30 in the morning on the 11th of July, I cried myself to sleep because the one I just gave birth to was 70 miles away.
Anyone who has been following us knows that he had surgery the morning after his birth and was put into gallows traction with his legs at a 90 degree angle for almost 3 weeks. Looking back I am extremely glad they put him in traction because his repair didn’t fail and his hips are doing amazingly well. I will not lie to you; It was not easy.
For the first week after his surgery he was on major pain medication. The doctors had him on a vent to keep his lungs open. His eyes were closed and he didn’t even really know that I was there. I couldn’t hold him. I couldn’t nurse him. One nurse even told me not to touch him because he would wake up a bit and feel the pain, but I touched him once in a while any way when I knew she wasn’t looking. If he, even for a minute, woke up and felt my touch, he knew that I was there. He knew that he wasn’t alone. He knew that Mommy loved him.
After about a week and a half the doctors started to wean him off the meds. My boy started to spend more time awake and when he was awake, I was right by him. I held his hand, rubbed his head, and booped his little nose. I talked to him telling him how much I loved him, how proud I was that he was such a fighter, and that he was such a cute baby. No matter what I was doing, we were looking right at each other. Eye contact. Many of the doctors and nurses were amazed at just how observant he was, but more so about just how intently he stared at Mama. He looked at me when I talked to him and when I said nothing at all… he just stared at me. I wonder if he thought “That is my mama.”, but I know that he knew that he could trust me to be there.
A little over 2 1/2 weeks into his hospital stay, they did one more quick procedure to see how his bladder had healed and then took him out of the traction. You would not even be able to believe the joy I had in my heart when I finally got to hold my boy again. As the nurse passed him to me and he looked up at me I broke down crying. Tears of absolute joy were streaming down my cheeks. I wasn’t the only one crying. The nurses seeing my reaction to this occurrence, wept with me. It wasn’t until I got myself calmed down a bit and sitting in a rocking chair that I realized that the nurse who handed him to me was watching us, also wiping away silent tears.
I have been told multiple times since that it is amazing how my child looks at me with such intent eyes. I’ve heard it from friends, family, Ney’s pediatrician, lactation consultants, occupational therapists… and so many others. I found it pretty amazing myself.
When it’s all you have, it’s how you learn to connect.
Megan A.K.A. “Mom”