Her days are filled with poking and prodding. Doctors and nurses keep a watchful eye over our little darling as they adjust and administer medications. Every moment her tiny heart beats is one more moment we have with her.
My days are filled with learning hospital jargon as I sit in the brightly painted rocking chair near my daughter's NICU bed. Today, I get to hold herbut only for a brief time. She's so tiny, frail, and weak. Her six-week-old body has survived one surgery, and only God knows how many more will be required to mend her malformed heart. The God-given talents of special surgeons will make her heart right. The second surgery will happen as soon as the doctors believe she can handle it. We call her Faith because we have Faith in God that he will restore her frail and ailing body.
The nurse lifts Faith from the crib and places her gently into my arms. A tangle of monitor wires and IV tubes extends from her little body and cascade to the floor. I'm careful how I rock, so as not to disrupt the flow of necessary fluids or the recording of any information.
I look into my baby's sweet face and I think of how everyone looks to me as a hero. They see me as a tireless woman who has sacrificed selflessly to spend every moment possible at my baby's beside or in the NICU waiting room. When I greet visitors, I most often do so with a smile. I do this not only to hide my tears, but because I'm glad someone has taken the time to minister to meas well as Faith. Also, it's great to see a friendly face so far from home.
Living here is difficult. We traded our nice, comfortable home for a cramped travel trailer in the back lot of the hospital, and we are the lucky ones. Many families with babies here have no choice but to live in the waiting room because they can't afford a motel.
When friends do visit, it's sometimes hard to swallow the constant lump that sits in my throat, especially when I get those pitiful looks from them. And if I hear another, 'God is in this,' or 'He'll bring you through,' I'm liable to scream. I know He's in this and He'll sustain us. I just wish He would have found another way to make His point than giving my baby a malformed heart.
No, I'm not a hero. I'm just a mother trying to survive, knowing there is nothing I can do for my sick baby. The real hero here is Faith. She's the one who doesn't give up. She's the one who takes the breaths necessary to stay with us another minute, another hour, another day. I kiss her tiny head and stroke her precious cheek. Two of the smallest, darkest eyes I've ever seen open and stare at me. A distorted smile forms around the tubes taped to her face. From under her blanket, a fist appears and flexes open. I place my finger inside and she clamps her fingers shut around it.
Yes, Faith is the real hero.
(c) 2007, Rhonda Clark
Rhonda Clark is a stay at home mom of two and a freelance writer. She and her family makes their home in Bartlett, TN. For more information about her writing visit: www.freewebs.com/rhondaclark or contact her through www.faithwriters.com