• Alexandra Smith

A Beautiful Day With My Best Friend

I may sound archaic by mentioning Yo Gabba Gabba!, a popular children's television show in the early 2010s. It didn't last long, but it had a great soundtrack. A lot of well-known alternative bands would guest star on the show and play songs that were more child-oriented.

One of my favorite songs that I have on a playlist for Gwen is "A Beautiful Day With My Best Friend" by Jimmy Eat World. I sing this song constantly. It's how I feel about every day because my best friend is here. I even sing it on days when I can't see her.

I had an emotional episode on Saturday. A lot of things were bubbling up. I heard a woman cry because she couldn't take her child to walk around Target during the COVID-19 pandemic. All I could think of was, "She is upset because she can't take her child to Target, but I can't even see my child."

That was followed up by Gwen having a different neonatologist tend to her and push back her CPAP trial. While I appreciated this neonatologist hopping on the phone with me to answer some questions, he said the one phrase that fills me with pain and regret: "She's still supposed to be inside you." Yes, I know, and I couldn't keep her there.

This all culminated into a 3:00 a.m. call to check in on Gwen and hearing from her night nurse that she had been having events throughout the night. I lost it. I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to see my child right then. I called the nurse again and told her that there was nothing the hospital could do. I was seeing my baby right then and I would come home, nap, and see my baby again later. I told her the hospital couldn't stop me and that they'd have to arrest me if they weren't going to let me see my baby. I suggested that if Nicholas Cage could steal The Declaration of Independence that I could remove my child from the hospital. I was in histerics. Then came the dehydration and sleep that I would lack throughout the rest of the night. Then the two missed pumps. Then it was finally time to go see Gwen.

I was so tired I could barely focus on the road. I shouldn't have driven to the hospital. Alas, there I was. Immediately, Gwen's nurse got her out for me to hold. She slept. Then I pumped so much that it overflowed the catch container within 10 minutes. I held her again, skin-to-skin, but I was so tired. I couldn't stay awake. I started to feel dizzy. Then Gwen's neonatologist came in. He wasn't wanting to get down to business immediately. He wanted to talk about me and how he could relate to my situation. It was nice. After that, he gave us some great news: Gwen was getting trialed off CPAP!

As you can imagine, I was awake. Gwen didn't like her CPAP being taken off at first. She kept feeling at her cheeks for the mask, then started pouting because it was gone. She finally settled in, though, and was all smiles for her care and feed. It was so good to see her face without a mask. A beautiful day with my best friend.

Currently, Gwen is still off her CPAP machine. She's been drifty in her oxygen levels, but she has been alert today, exhibited prolonged periods of being awake, has taken to rooting on pacifiers and her daddy's finger, and has kept a consistent respiratory rate. Zach got to give her a bath today, and Gwen officially got her security tag. If she stays off CPAP through tomorrow then her daddy will give her that coveted first bottle. Zach gets beautiful days with his best friend, too.

As for me, I'm starting back at work this week. Zach's going to be at the hospital a lot more these first couple of days while I get back into the swing of things. While it stinks not being there with her, it has felt so good to get back to work. Not only do I still feel like a good, supportive mom, but I also feel like me again. I love what I do. I just have two jobs now, and I need to find that new normal for me.

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