Wednesday, August 17, 2011
At bedtime I wrangled her always dancing body into her nightgown, gave her her meds, and slathered her with lotion and medicated cream. Soon it was time to turn off the lights (and the incessant talk) and get down to the business of sleeping. We settled down , under my favorite deep red quilted bedspread, and adjusted our bodies to create the perfect mother daughter fit. Noelle instinctively knows how to wriggle her body just so, in order to fit her head, wild itchy hair and all, neatly under my chin and press her little legs against mine. She even maneuvers my arms to get them positioned just right across her torso. She does all of this in a matter of seconds.
I often wonder if her body remembers being in my womb with her twin. They were always tightly curled together and it took more than an average amount of investigation to determine where one baby started and the other ended. After several weeks of being on the job of strict bed rest, I learned to wait patiently and think of other things as hospital staff poked and prodded me for what seemed like eons. More often than not, it was Noelle who was the culprit hiding under or behind her sister.
There we were in the dark of my room, nestled together whispering about all that is important to a four year old girl. Noelle whispered about how she missed her brothers. She asked me questions about where Daddy was and why I turned off the light when she was going to do it. I recall slightly one-sided conversations about a "my little pony" wish list, antics of her stuffed dog Aimee and how Patrick from Sponge Bob was "kinda dumb". Eventually I quieted her down by saying, " Let me tell you the story of when you were born."
Once upon a time there was a little itty baby named Noelle who was born in October. She only weighed 2 pounds when she was born, and when she peed-peed for the first time, she weighed only 1 pound and a few ounces. Noelle was the smallest baby in the whole hospital. But she was the loudest!
One day Mommy came to visit Noelle in the hospital, and before she even got to the baby room, she heard this loud crying from the long hallway outside. Although mommy never heard Noelle really cry before, she knew it was her. Noelle sounded like an angry baby cat, a kitten. Mommy called to the nurse, "Is that my baby?!" And the nursed laughed and said, yes it is!"
Because Noelle was such a little bits, Mommy and Daddy could not pick her up until she was about 5 days old. It was a happy day when the Drs said that as long as Mommy and Daddy were very careful they could pick up their little baby. Noelle had tubes and wires coming from everywhere on her little body. Even her head! And it was easy to tell because Noelle was almost completely BALD!
Daddy was the first one to hold Noelle. He was so surprised at how tiny she was. Noelle was the size of a banana! But instead of being bright yellow and smooth like a banana - she was pink and wrinkly. Daddy whispered, "Hi Baby Girl - Hi Noelle." And guess what? Noelle opened her eyes and gave her Daddy a great big smile!
The nurses said that babies really don't smile. "They are just learning how to work their little faces". Well. All I can say is that baby smiled everytime Daddy said her name.
Noelle was so small she could not drink milk from mommy. The hospital had to feed her through a special tube. One day the nurse told Mommy to try to get Noelle to drink from her breast. Everyone warned mommy that, "She probably will not be strong enough to drink - but your warm body will help her grow." Mommy put itty bitty naked Noelle on her breast. And that wonderful tiny baby started sucking and drinking right away. She was drinking so fast and so much that mommy called out to the nurse, "She's drinking here..." and the nurse ran right over. They had to stop Noelle from drinking all mommy's milk because her tummy was so small.
Noelle stayed in the hospital for 72 days. She came home on December 23rd and was the best Christmas Present ever. Mommy was so happy that she carried Noelle all around. Do you know what Mommy's most favorite thing was? It was to gently gather Noelle up in her arms and to sway and dance while she sang, "The First Noel."
Noelle is a big 4 year old now. She has lots of hair, still loves to dance and still smiles each and every time she sees her Daddy.
I wish I could say that after our bedtime story, Noelle drifted off into a peaceful sleep. However, that's not the case. She asked me question after question about "when I was born" . She asked about her sister that didn't get to come home. She wanted to know if who was bigger and what she looked like. She couldn't quite grasp the idea that they were identical, but no matter, we talked on and on into the night. Noelle asked what "nipples" were. I laughed because she pulled her nightgown up and called hers, "pimples."
It made me reallize that, when it comes to my children, time has both stood still and moved on at lightning speed.
Noelle often asks me to tell her the "when I was born" story. I tell it - and will tell it - everytime she asks.