My life consists of waiting. Waiting in doctors’ and specialists’ offices, hospital waiting rooms….waiting to find out just how much Noah’s brain injury has affected him and our hopes for his future.
We sit next to other parents, just like us. We’re united by a distinct commonality. We know what it’s like to wait. Sitting for hours next to a tiny glass isolette, only the beep beep beep of our baby’s and his or her neighbors’ machines for company. We know what it’s like to wait for hours for a 20 minute doctor’s appointment. Waiting to hear results.
We share glances and smiles at each other. Even though our children may have a different diagnosis, we can relate to each other on a different and deeper level than just a random stranger walking by on the street. I am always curious about their story. What brought them there? But it’s rude to ask. So instead I look away.
The days that we spent waiting for Noah to pass away were absolute, pure torture. 3 full days, we spent in a psychotic limbo. We passed out rather than intentionally falling asleep. We only left the room to use the bathroom down the hall. Thankfully our families brought us food, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have eaten. We expected every breath to be his last, every slight twitch to be a sign that his little body was shutting down.
I bring that up only because today (and tomorrow) we are at the Stollery. While we were waiting for Noah to be done with his MRI, I went to the cafeteria by myself to get us breakfast. Since it’s mid-November already, everything is Christmas-fied. This is the first time we’ve been back at the hospital when it’s been all decorated up and “cheery”, since those awful 7 days we spent there shortly after he was born. I already have a hard enough time without it bringing me back so specifically. All I needed was “Mistletoe” by Colbie Calliet playing over an intercom and I probably would have burst into tears….I was having a hard enough time just walking to the cafeteria!
Tomorrow Noah has an EEG. We’re going to visit his tree again and the NICU too. I have a new picture card thing to put on the “Graduate” wall. It’s going to be hard. Smelling those smells, hearing the familiar beeps.
Maybe I’ll see some fellow HIE parents, just starting on their journey. Maybe I will see some who had the same news as us. Perhaps I’ll recognize that look in their eyes, that look that says that they think they’ve completely cried themselves out, and that their world is crashing around them. In some ways they are right. No matter the outcome, their lives are changed forever. Only time will tell if they will walk out with empty arms or a full carseat. That diversion from their previous path will teach them more about life and love than they ever thought possible. They have many more tears left to cry.
But for now, all they can do is wait.