my Posey girl.

you came home yesterday, four days old.

we were greedy, all a-clamour for early release, but by late Friday we had to admit that you had the orangey glow of an aging Beach Boy. you wore it with grace, kiddo, but had to spend 36 hours on the little tanning bed in the NICU. jaundice is an exhausting ordeal for a small body, and you stopped eating so well…started dropping off before you’d even begun to feed, became impossible to waken no matter how we tortured your wee toes. your pixie face stayed still, lips crenellated in a pucker like an old smoker. i missed your bright bird eyes, Posey.

and so we detoured into the bsheeeez-bhump rhythm of the breast pump and the measuring of tiny gains and losses – in milk production, in your less-than-six-pounds body weight, in rare moments of hospital sleep unbroken by call bells and feeding schedules and new roommates wheeled in at 4 am. it is an old story for us, your dad & i, true…but you are not your brothers, little girl. i dared hope, with you. you seemed so solidly, snugglily healthy at the root of it all that i found myself daydreaming of just running you out the door of the place. the great escape, with my pint-sized Sundance Kid.

i was too cocky, Posey.

we brought you home still lethargic, but free. you dozed through yesterday afternoon, though you woke to feed and suddenly, magically, were nursing like a champ. your brother welcomed you with pride and delight, kept bouncing back into the room to check on you, to kiss you, to tell you to wake up. the cat ignored you, except for one good smelling. i read you and Oscar a bedtime story beside his crib, my arms full, heart full. and then i took the time to bathe my stitches and put away gifts and oh, i was a fool, thinking this ain’t so hard, two kids.

you woke at midnight. screaming. you screamed whenever your mouth didn’t have some kind of nipple in it, and sometimes when it did. we fed for three hours straight, my milk just in…when i gave out, your father tried a bottle. and still you screamed, tiny girl. i was wrong in my early assessments of you as a quiet soul: when pressed, you put Yoko Ono to shame. but i hated seeing you pressed, Posey. you are so small, so new, for pain. holding you last night, unable to comfort or cure, i realized us as truly separate beings for the first time. and i dreamed fitfully in the rocking chair, spinning dragons to slay, heart broken with the truth that you are only nominally mine to guard, that at the core of things, i am helpless. like your brothers, daughter, your skin is your own, not mine.

i worry, though. about both of us, about the months to come. it has seemed so easy with you, ’til now. and i am wary, suddenly, of the prospect of colic, again, of the memory of my own despair in that long four months of crying and exhaustion. i know one night does not make things fore-ordained. i know too, very well, that there are far worse things than a colicky baby. i am shamed by my own dread, Posey. i am sorry, too. because holding you, warm and soft and feather-light, through the nights for a few months? all those long days i wanted you and hoped for you, i would have taken that. i will do my best to remember.

today we went back to the hospital for more blood tests, for a weight check…and the jaundice is creeping back as you lose weight from all that pain and crying. we got a prescription against the reflux i suspect is causing your misery; we’ve tried desperately to wake you all day, to feed you, to tire you. we’ve failed. but we are ready for another night, Posey.

welcome home, love.