The First Pictures | The Speckled Goat: The First Pictures


The First Pictures

Dear Baby,

Going through the thousands of pictures of you is a momentous task. Thousands of pictures, each one with a tiny nuance or slightly different facial expression and how can I possibly choose which to keep and which to delete into digital nothingness?

I'm getting there, slowly, but there's a folder of pictures I just don't like to open. Not yet. It's the folder of the first photos of you.

I avoid looking at them, even now, because it's just too hard, yet.

September and October.

I just don't want to see them.

It may not be the healthiest thing, but I'm still somewhat in denial that those months in the NICU were real. If I don't remember those days, if I don't think about it, it seems more like a bad dream and less like a hard reality of your story.

It's not fair, really.

First pictures are supposed to be happy- proud sweaty mother on a hospital bed, round pudgy squishy baby all pink and warm next to her, father's arm encompassing them both, everyone exhausted and full of joy.

Your first picture is not like that. The first picture ever taken of you, you look shell shocked. There is a tiny oxygen mask over your skinny precious face, your eyes are tightly closed. There are cords and wires running everywhere, and a stranger's gloved fingers are holding your hand.

And when I see that picture, I feel the loss of that special moment, of holding you for the first time, of comforting you in your transition into this world. I remember the silence in the operating room after they whisked you away, lying on the table just waiting. I remember how a nurse called from the other room, "We have a crying baby over here!" and the relief of what that meant.

Your aunt took the first picture on her phone. She brought it over to me, and it was the first time I saw your little face. On a phone screen. Later- other first pictures- the first time I saw your father holding you, the first time I saw your eyes open, all on phone screens. I wasn't there for those moments. And that hurts.

And even almost a year later, those newborn pictures, they still hurt to look at.

When Miss Grace came and took the gorgeous pictures of you when you were two weeks old- oh those pictures are so precious. But I'm still not ready to really look at them. They look so painful.

There is tape on your face holding oxygen lines and feeding tubes- tape that would later be removed while you screamed in pain. There's an almost unnoticeable prick on the back of your hand, but I see it. It's where a nurse finally was able to place an IV in your tiny vein. She tried to place that IV several times, poking you over and over as you cried. That IV that went bad after only two hours, but the scar lasted more than two months.

That beautiful photo session was the first time I held you in front of someone who wasn't a nurse. I remember thinking that you were so big... and now I look at how your tiny head fit into my hand and you seem so impossibly small.

This is all part of your story. I know your journey so far has been a tough one. You've overcome so much. Shots every day for that awful ten days, heel pokes, feeding tubes, tape on your face and sticky sensors on your chest that tore your skin, being denied food for days so your tiny stomach could heal, and two surgeries. You spent your first months in a sterile hospital room.

You've overcome it all. You're full of easy smiles and giggles, the happiest baby. You're my tiny hero, the toughest person I've ever met.

I just hate that you had to be so tough, that you had to do it all.

I look at the pictures and I remember the hard parts- those 53 long days of worry and stress and nurses coming in every three hours and I remember the sound that couch-turned-bed made when I sunk into it almost every night.

Someday, I will look at those pictures again. I will be struck afresh by your strength and your resilience. I will marvel at how tiny you were,  how much you've grown and how far you've come.

But today, I will leave that folder on my computer unopened.

Today I will enjoy your antics and snuggle your precious now-chunky cheeks. I will sing you your special song and watch your face light up as you recognize it. I will praise God for your health and the gift of who you are. Today I will watch you bang spoons on pots and look up at me in delight at all the noise. I'll be here to witness your exploration of this grand world we've been given. I'll nibble your toes to make you giggle.

Yes, that folder will stay closed for another day.

Those were some of the hardest days... but this day is yet another one to be thankful for.

Related Posts:

Dear NICU Mom

I Hate Periodic Breathing, and Other Confessions of a Preemie Mom

Little E's Birth Story

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