The nurse knew my baby’s heart was still before they told me.
Elijah was born silently, and shortly after, I was brought to the ICU.
There was talk of not allowing babies in that unit, and at that moment, as horrible as it sounds, I prayed that Elijah didn’t count as a real baby because he never took a breath. Surely, they would have to make an exception this one time.
When transport came, I handed my precious son to the nurse. Gently, she supported his head and cradled him close like she would have done with any of the other babies in the nursery that evening. She requested my camera, and promised Elijah would not be left alone.
As I was wheeled out of the room, she noted his name and birth weight and promised he would be brought to me soon.
Somewhere in my imagination, I pretended my baby was simply being taken to the nursery to be cared for until I could hold him again. Maybe when he was brought to my bedside, he would be pink instead of the dusky shade of purple that was overtaking his body.
A little pretending is okay when you come close to dying yourself.
Once I was poked and prodded, with a PICC line inserted in my neck, my nurse brought Elijah down to me, swaddled in blankets to keep his little body warm. She set my camera down beside me. It was filled with pictures of him dressed in a tiny christening gown and posed with a teddy bear bigger than him. His hands and feet were stained with ink and a box of memories sat where a bassinet should have.
While the doctors took care of me to make me whole again, my son was treated with love and respect.
I don’t remember her name and her features are blurred in my mind, but she left an impression on my heart. That, I can never forget.