The nurse told me she would take me to Mariana as soon as she could get me in the chair. There was a restriction on moving me because of the anesthesia, but the nurse said if I could get to the chair, she would push it. Slowly the medicine was wearing off, at least it was enough to get to the chair. She pushed me the endless distance to the NICU where I couldn't wait to hold my baby.
The NICU was beautiful and less clinical than I expected. It was a quiet, dark place with few babies. Mariana's incubator was in front of the nurses station. I was told I wouldn't be able to hold her, and instead introduced my face to my baby. I stroked her chubby cheek and mourned the reunion I expected to have. It was strange how I felt. I felt like I was watching myself in a play. The numbness may have been residual from the c-section. The anesthetist gave me something to help me relax, I am not sure though. I do know that it was difficult not to grab up my baby and do all the loving things that mothers do when they first hold the baby. My arms never felt so empty.
In my room I would think carefully about the benefits to Mariana's NICU stay. I would consider the pain I was in physically and the benefits of having good, solid rest instead of waking every two hours to feed her. I would carefully list the care she was given and the things I would not have to do once she was released because they had done them already. I pumped and watched my milk come in. I was thoroughly receptive to the kindnesses offered and the grace that poured out. The whole time I felt the precipice of fear beside me and the crook of the Good Shepherd keeping me safe.