I think it was the second time we visited Jacob after I was discharged from the hospital. I was still hurting a lot, even with more pain medicine that I was really comfortable taking. My moods were all over the place. We came into the dark, noisy (so much beeping!) NICU, scrubbed in, and walked over to Jacob’s isolette. We talked with the nurse, and got ready to “kangaroo” – which means I take off my shirt and they put Jacob on my skin and cover us up with blankets. We stayed for an hour, or a little more. I slept, Craig took pictures and read to us. Then it was time to go.
As we walked out of the hospital, I began to realize: my pain was practically gone. My mood had lifted – there was no danger of a flood of tears at the moment. It had never occurred to me till that moment: the drug my body needed was my baby.
Of course I have known, in my mind, the importance of mom and baby being together, but I usually thought of it as being for the sake of the baby more so than the mother. Then I remembered going back to work after I had Lucy, and again after I had Samantha, and how hard it was to hand them off to someone else for a little while. But I hadn’t had such a visceral reminder in a long time of how much we need each other. My body never forgot. It’s amazing how I make twice, three times as much milk if Jacob is in the room than if he’s not. My body knows.
It’s a lesson I’ve learned before. My body knows how to birth. My body knows how to care for a newborn. It knows how to heal. We are all truly fearfully and wonderfully made, gifted with bodies that, if we listen, tell us how to care for ourselves and each other. Such a gift God has given us.
And still, as much as I loved being home with my other children the rest of the day, as much as I loved spending the evenings with Craig, the hour or two I spent in the hospital with my baby brought peace to my day. I just kept looking forward to bringing our feisty little bundle of peace home with us.