Friday, April 11, 2008

Perfection Disguised

I'm not a writer. I've never claimed to be. Yes, I'd love to be one, but the talent is just not there. However, pounding out my thoughts and feelings in this blog is my form of therapy. Granted, I probably need 'real' therapy, but I digress...

I was called back to work at the inpatient hospice unit today, tomorrow and Sunday. This morning while I sat to listen to the ramblings of the night nurse on the voice recorder giving shift report, I was looking over my paperwork for my 'wing' of the unit, and I discovered that I would have a 9 day old baby in my care. A dying 9 day old baby. I sat stunned for quite a while, just wanting to run from the room to the elevator and out the front door to my car. A dying baby. The words 'dying' and 'baby' should never go together. My perspective on life and this world as I know it has changed. Forever.

The baby had not yet arrived when I started my shift, in fact, he didn't arrive until 15 minutes before my shift was over. But, each time I walked by the room that would be his, I was drawn to look at the tiny diapers stacked in the bottom of a pure white bassinet. My heart skipped a beat when I finally saw the admissions nurse walking with a mom carrying a tiny little bundle, and behind her, a father pushing a stroller with a car seat containing another newborn baby. The babies are identical twins. Both appear to be perfect. Sadly, under the disguise of perfection, one baby is terminally ill and will die. Soon.

When I entered the room to meet the family, there was not the blanket of sadness and grief I expected. Mom was very talkative and loved showing me her babies. She was fussing with the monitors and wires still attached to her precious little bundle and cradling him ever so softly. I helped them to settle in and then excused myself to the nurse's station where tears welled up in my eyes and my throat burned from holding them in. I was so thankful to be leaving there. I will return tomorrow...not knowing if he will still be there. If he is, heartbreaking as it will be, I will do everything in my humble power to care for this little boy as he passes into heaven.

Signing off now--the kids are all over the place and needing my supervision. And really, I want to hold them a little closer...

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