INITIALLY PUBLISHED: May 29, 2016
This morning I breastfed Julia Grace and then put her on my chest for some skin-to-skin time. She grabbed my thumb with her tiny hand and we stayed that way for 45 minutes. I felt fear rise up in my heart so strongly – fear from all we have been through and from the possibility that anything could ever go wrong with her again. Kids with Down syndrome can be fragile and the idea of anything happening to her makes me hyperventilate. Even the idea of leaving the hospital again without her makes me literally unable to breathe. The air chokes in my throat and I feel like I am having a panic attack. I reminded myself of my yogic breathing and that closing my heart has never made any sad thing less painful so I focused on opening my heart even more to this little sacred being and I was flooded with whatever cocktail of new mother hormones makes this experiences so intensely personal and so universal. Julia Grace and I both became so deeply relaxed that our bodies had no tension at all and I felt myself accessing theta brain waves, the deepest and most relaxing brain waves possible. I remembered that the night before our wedding, for my “bachelorette party” we went to a psychic who told me that I would have a girl child and she was meant to be my daughter and that she would be extremely special and spiritual and that I would write about our lives and our journey together. When the woman said that I immediately understood as I’ve always felt somewhere deep down that I would have a child with Down syndrome. While we lay there, I also remembered the bond that she and I have had from the beginning – how I was certain she was a girl, that there was something different about her, and how she would be fine during the fetal surgery and after. I remembered the visions I had that she would make it to us even after so many months and even years of infertility. And, being here in the NICU with her I have flashes of dejavu and I know that I’ve lived this before somehow, in the dream world, preparing to be strong and capable during this time.
I am certain that I sound like a sleep-deprived, hormone-fueled crazy new mom but this experience is one of the most spiritual of my life. I cannot identify emotions with clarity because they don’t arise from my mind. They are primal and instinctual and are based on being fully present in this moment without thought of one minute from now or one minute ago. I pray we can take her home soon and that I can stay with her every day and every night until then.