Babies and More Babies
I see babies everyday at work as an RN in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I suppose there are days when I get enough of babies--babies crying, babies with poop-ie diapers, babies wanting to eat when they should be sleeping and babies sleeping when they should be eating--12-hour days with babies can be enough.
There are times when I would rather hold and rock a baby, or watch a newborn's facial expressions than take a coffee break. Like most women my age, and all of my co-workers, I like babies.
When I was a young, divorced Mom, working as a waitress and going to nursing school, I had had enough of babies. Life was not easy and having a baby did not make it easier. I decided I would not be having any more babies.
There were other reasons. I worried about my carbon footprint before it was called a carbon footprint. I was afraid my second marriage would fall apart like my first and I would again be a struggling, single Mom. I was happy with my one little boy, whom I had fought legal battles to keep. One baby was enough, thank you very much.
Many years passed and my son and his girlfriend presented my husband and me with a granddaughter. She was a darling, beautiful baby, that we doted upon. I took her shopping, to swimming lessons and to Disneyland. We played with Barbies and baby dolls. As a little girl, she liked me to wrap her up snug like a baby in the NICU and she would laugh as she tried to get out of her blanket tucked like a burrito.
Then things kind of fell apart. Our granddaughter turned out not to be the biological daughter of my son. Her mother moved, taking our granddaughter far away. Later our granddaughter's mother stopped taking our phone calls and letting us visit.
It has been a couple of years since our granddaughter's departure and I have learned to accept what I cannot change. I patiently wait for my son to find the right person and perhaps give us another grandchild to love. If he chooses instead not to have children, I will understand.
Babies grow up. Sometimes they move away and sometimes they leave forever. However, there will probably always be babies in the NICU, helpless and impatiently waiting for their immediate needs to be met--medical needs and everyday baby needs--like feeding, diapering and holding. Babies come to the NICU, stay in the NICU and leave the NICU. Most babies leave with their parents or other loving care-givers and a very few babies leave with the angels. Most of the babies I take care of I will never see again. I routinely attach and detach, in 12-hour increments. In the unreal reality of the baby-populated NICU, the babies never really grow up and never really go away. I think I like things best that way.
And no, I do not get enough of babies.