SPECIAL CARE

…………The baby was placed into one in the corner. I felt sick again as I quickly sensed this was a high intensity environment. Each incubator had a small baby inside with tubes poking into their tiny little bodies. Other devices attached to them monitored heart rate, blood flow, oxygen saturation. There were alarms going off and monitors with digital readouts and different coloured lights. Our baby was hooked up to a battery of monitors and an oxygen mask placed over her face. Another nurse explained that she needed warming up and I saw her adjust the temperature controls on the side of the incubator. Then she asked my permission to take blood samples which I agreed to although I winced when they stabbed her little foot with a needle. I noticed as they left her in the plastic incubator that her breathing was deep and erratic. I asked what was the matter and a nurse said she was irritable. I wondered about that word for weeks after. What does irritable mean? I associated it with an adult who was bothered by some external problem such as the weather or an item on the news. How could a baby be irritable, she was barely able to breathe let alone consider any troubling environmental problems. I said I wanted to hold the baby. The nurse looked at me but my expression must have convinced her not to argue. Instinct was driving me now as well as knowledge about the birth process and the need for a baby to have a sense of security. Especially a Caesarean who had not experienced the force of vaginal muscles pushing her out into the World. So I was handed the baby after I put on a sterile gown and washed my hands.

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