My baby was baptized in the NICU.

Post date: Dec 8, 2011 4:13:19 PM

It’s not something I talk about. It’s not something I write about. I’m not proud of the way that I acted that day. But could you blame me?

They’d just taken my baby from our safe, cozy little hospital room in my cozy little hometown, and transported her by ambulance to the NICU in the hospital in a foreign land. OK, it really wasn’t a foreign land, but it was a town that I did not frequent, in an area of the town that I’d never been to. Today, however, I could drive the route with my eyes closed.

We’d been trying to have our little peanut for 3 long years. I charted my cycle, using my Natural Family Planning training (we attended as part of our Pre-Cana Marriage classes). I took my temp daily and every month when I wasn't pregnant, I mourned. We’d been together 11 years by this point, married for 3. We thought that the hard part was over. I finally stayed pregnant. My body didn’t reject this pregnancy! Oh, wait, it did. Pre-eclampsia is evil.

I delivered 5 weeks early. My hormones were a wreck. I was sweating. All. The. Time. Why was I wearing a sweater? Why was it over 70 degrees in October?

So there we were:

-With a yellow peanut for a baby.

-Standing over her in the NICU.

-Wondering why the bili-lights weren’t working.

-Hearing words like “Biliary Atresia,” “cholangiogram,” “Mayo clinic,” “the best team in Chicago.”

-Seeing our baby with a shaved head. They could not find a decent vein before the transport. So they shaved her head and put an IV in it. They put a fricking IV in my baby girl’s head!

“We need to call Father John,” said my dad. He’d gone through this when I was 4, burying my baby sister after she was born with “Transposition of the Great Vessels” in the 80’s.

In my head that’s what was happening.

I was reliving my very first memory. I was 4 and my mother was telling me that Bridget, my baby sister, was in heaven. But now I was 26. As a matter of fact, my birthday has just been a few days prior.

I ignored him.

He pressed on.

I relented.

But I wasn’t happy about it. This was not like I had wanted it to be. It was not like I had planned it to be. And I don’t have a single picture of it.

My baby was baptized in the NICU.

And as the water poured over her head, I was calmed. And as I watched Fr. John pour the tiniest drops of water over Natalie’s head, my own soul began to be healed. (I am not saying I was able to give it all up to God at that moment, but it was a changing point in my internal torment.)

PS – She celebrates her First Reconciliation this week!