The Perks of Having Charlotte in the Hospital:
The 9:00am hospitality cart with all manner of stale donuts
The chocolate covered pretzels in the cafeteria
The nurses who feed Charlotte while I sleep
The TV all to myself
Charlotte's heart rate, breathing and O2 sats being monitored 24 hours a day
The tumble form chair Charlotte loves
Having someone else make up the bottles
and change the diapers
Time to read
wearing jams all day and night
not going to work
not having to clean
not having to cook
not having to shower
At night I sometimes get up and go for a wander. I used to do it in highschool too, around the dark streets. I called it "walkabout." What a geek!
I walk past the mural of Jesus and the kids in the 3rd floor lobby and see if there is a free computer. I look at the faded art work of elementarty school kids in neon splatter paint frames. I might get a package of pretzels in the cafeteria. I look out the windows over the city on bridge and watch the Life Flight come in. I pass the locked NICU doors and am glad I haven't been inside since nursing school. I stand in front of a vending machine for 10 minutes. it is quiet. The lights are dim and anyone else in the hall is like me--a tired, stressed, lonely parent in yesterdays pajama bottoms and a pony tail. Sometimes i end up crying like a boob, for my baby, for myself, for the other parents and the other babies who are worse off-the ones with strong vital minds but sick little bodies. The ones with bald heads and masks on.
I end up back in Charlottes room, crying, taking out my contacts, wraping up in a blanket and kissing my baby girl. This is not how I imagined parenthood.