Today was the three month birthday of our precious baby girl Ilse. She brings so much joy to us, and that's why we named her Ilse Joy.
She snuggles so close to me when I hold her, and I can always make her comfy, make her stop crying, and I always know what's wrong with her. It definitely took some learning, but now I feel like I know her. I know her expressions, I know her wants, I know every single detail of what she likes. I know that when she is upset, she likes to be still and not be bounced. She is like me. :) I know when she is going to cry at the first, tiniest little hint. I know when she is hungry and when she just needs her Mommy.
I missed the first whole month of Ilse's life. It was filled with tears, sadness, hurting, loneliness, and questions. I heard many times that something was my fault, or, 'don't hold her like that!' Or, 'don't pick her up,' or 'don't disturb her,' or 'you can't spend the night here,' or 'she's just going to be hurting and scream.'
We missed so much and hurt so much; it will never be forgotten and I don't know that the scars will ever go away. I didn't get to give Ilse her first bath. I had to send my three week old baby into surgery, and I didn't know if she'd come out since she was so tiny. I nearly ripped her g-tube out because some doctor made me cry to the point of not seeing it there since he refused to take my concern about her cataracts seriously. I went to change her diaper one day and her little butt hole was bleeding and the nurses weren't doing anything about it. Another day her butt was yellow-- yellow, because the nurses didn't wipe her properly and her poop stained her. No matter how much I wiped the color wouldn't change back. Turning around and leaving her at that NICU so many times was unbearable. I pushed my recovery just so I could be with her. I drove five days after surgery and had no more pain by six days. I needed to see her. I can't imagine how she felt laying there in the NICU with the person she'd spend the last 7 1/2 months with gone. I'm so thankful that she mostly slept. Many times I'd be up at the hospital past 11 at night, just because I couldn't make myself leave. I'd cry on the way to the hospital sometimes, feeling incredible guilt, because I had taken till 10am to get back up there. I bought her so many blankets because that was all I could give her. She barfed so much that she used upwards of six blankets a day, a good day. I was washing giant loads of her blankets every other day, and I couldn't bear not to take them up to her. At first the hospital wrapped her in a horribly faded brown and pink blanket, and they didn't understand why I didn't want her to use it. It wasn't soft enough or cute enough for someone loved as much as my Ilse. I hatched a plan to lose that blanket since it kept showing up at her bed; finally I brought it home to wash it and I never took it back. Someday I'll burn it. :) I know I bought so much stuff for her room to make it up to her that she was in an ugly NICU for a month, and for having medical problems. I made her a tree so that her room wouldn't be ugly.
Most parents have lots of stuff to say to their babies. All I had for the longest time was "Ilse, you're ok! I'm not going to let anything happen to you." Empty words. Now I just remind her that she's mommy's baby. Mommy's baby Ilse. Mommy's peach. Mommy's peachy baby Ilse. :)
Some doctors told me that Ilse was so incredibly behind developmentally. Some nurses ruined the birth day for my family. I left a phone charger up at the Allen hospital, and three months later I still can't make myself go back up to that hospital to get it.
Even though the experience of Ilse's first month was horrible and so far, unforgettable, my Ilse is perfect. She is exactly the way God made her, and she is mine. (Ours, but really mine, since I have the milk, you know.) I know she is God's but he gave her to me and I am going to cherish her, teach her, and I'm determined not to miss another minute of her precious life. She is God's gift to me, and she is daily proof of his love.
I'm so thankful that now she is home where she belongs.