The Closer You Are To Fine

June 14, 2008

We spent most of the afternoon, yesterday, at the hospital. It is not a happy experience, taking your baby to the hospital. Even when you’ve mentally psyched yourself and have told yourself that it’s nothing it’s nothing it’s nothing it’s just tests they’re just being cautious it’s just tests there’s nothing wrong, it’s rough. When they tell you that you need to bring your baby to the hospital for tests, that they need to check his spine, that he has some markers for spinal problems, for serious things but maybe nothing but still maybe serious, that it might not be anything but maybe it’s something so it must be checked, it must, your heart constricts and you hold your breath.

And you can manage the constricted heart and the withholding of breath until you get there, to the hospital, but once your baby – your tiny, tiny baby – has been stripped of his tiny clothes and is laying naked on the hospital bed – a vast expanse of cold sheet beneath his tiny frame – the machines looming, menacing, around him, you struggle. You crouch beside him, cradling his head and nuzzling his cheek, babbling whispers of love into his ear, willing him to not cry, to not squirm, to let this be over, fast.

And when he does begin to cry and squirm it feels as though your heart has retracted into the furthest recesses of your chest to cower and hide.

You say to the ultrasound technician, can I lay down beneath him, put him on my belly, my chest? Can we do it that way? He’ll be calmer. And you think, I’ll be calmer.

So you remove your shirt and lay yourself down and ease your naked, struggling baby onto your own naked belly and you cradle his head between your breasts and you breath. And you breath. And you breath. And he settles into you, letting his little body relax from the arch and flex of discomfort and fear and settle, softly, into the curves of your belly and breast and lay there, eyes fluttering, cries turning to gurgles and squawks, and he rests. Happy now, safe now.

And it occurs to you, as you lay in the dark, on the hospital bed, an ultrasound wand hovering above your body, the light from the screen of the sonograph flickering just out of sight, that this is just as it was some weeks ago, before he arrived, when he was still in your belly, tucked away safe in your belly, and you were wishing with all your heart that he’d come out soon so that you could hold him your arms and nuzzle his little head and keep him safe here, in the outside, out in the big wide world but always, always pressed close to your heart.

And he did, and you do. And you tell him, in the softest of whispers – and you tell yourself, in the loudest of internal cries – that he is safe, that you will keep him safe, and that it will all be fine, no matter what.

And he is, and you do, and it will be. It will be.

(We don’t know the results of the ultrasound. We probably won’t know for another week. I’m choosing to not dwell on it. I’m choosing to simply believe that it will all be fine.)

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    pacalaga June 14, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Yes definitely. He will be fine.

    Heather June 14, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I’ve been in your shoes…babies should never be sick. I have my fingers crossed that the doctors will confirm that he’s fine.

    NycMom June 14, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    my fingers and toes are crossed for you! What a gorgeous baby.

    divrchk June 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Good luck and why the hell does it take an entire week for a radiologist to read an ultrasound report?

    Susan June 14, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    It will be fine, it will be fine. Thinking of you, it will be fine.

    Christine Klocek-Lim June 14, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Modern medicine is amazing. My son is alive now, 11 years old, because of it, after open heart surgery. Your son will be fine, too. Even if he isn’t fine, he will be fine and so will you because neither of you have any choice. You love. That’s enough.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, my son has had so many ultrasounds, and EKGs, and CAT scans, and MRIs, that I tell you from experience: you can usually tell by the technician’s demeanor when something isn’t right. And generally they call you sooner. So if you find yourself waiting, that probably means there’s nothing wrong.

    followthatdog June 14, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’m thinking about you. I am so sorry you have to go through this. I’m sending all of my “he’s going to be fine” vibes your direction.

    Karen Sugarpants June 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I feel your heartache in your words Mama and pray that everything will be okay.

    Adventures In Babywearing June 14, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I know so well and hate so much the hospital. With baby. With toddler. With uncaring doctors and nurses and with super sweet ones you just want to snuggle. No matter what something inside you will take over and it will be ok. It will just be ok and you’ll get through this. I have seriously been praying for your little one all morning since your tweet.


    Stimey June 14, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    It is a scary thing to have your child in the hospital for a maybe. I’ve been there. It worked out fine for us. Hoping that it works out the same for you. Thinking of you.

    Shannon Nelson June 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I can relate to this story. Days after my firstborn came home he started throwing up all the time and dr.’s wagged their finger at me that I was overfeeding him. I begged them to do tests, but they refused. After 6 weeks my husband and I took him to the ER out of pure frustration and exhaustion. It was a scary place–a 6 week old in a place of people not well. The did an ultrasound and showed he had pyloric stenosis and was in surgery a few hours later. He’s fine and 9 years old now. But still—it was scary worrying and wondering and watching him.

    I don’t envy you. I know how it feels. I’ll be praying that your little one is alright.

    ThatGirl June 14, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    If the tech was worried they would have called the doctor in the room, pronto. I personally don’t think they saw anything and the rest is precautionary.

    You’re a good momma for laying there with him, and being his advocate. I’ve clocked a lot of hours in hospitals and I know you have to speak up.

    Well done.

    Crunchy Domestic Goddess June 14, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    sending lots of positive thoughts and energy your way. big hugs to you, mama.

    mamatulip June 14, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Sending you and your beautiful boy strength and positivity.

    Hang in there, love. Thinking of you.


    daysgoby June 14, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Giant, overwhelming love to you and your sweet family.

    We’re with you.

    Dan June 14, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I will keep your family in my prayers this week. Everything will be okay.

    Niksmom June 14, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    THinking of you and sending good, healthy thoughts. Try not to make the length of time or the tech’s demeanor or any of that stuff “mean” something. The delay could be as simple as your pediatrician hasn’t seen the results yet. Sometimes a call to nudge them is in order. We’ve had to do that many times.

    Keep breathing and loving your beautiful boy…and his sister, too!

    slouching mom June 14, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    what a beautiful post, c.

    he’ll be fine, i know he will.

    Candygirlflies June 14, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    It WILL all be fine.


    Love to you, HBM…

    xoxo CGF

    Alice June 14, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    I agree that it will be fine, so you know it will. Hang in there, sweetheart.

    Kimberly June 14, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Oh my goodness. What a perfect post describing how a mommy loves her little one. I cried. I mean, I am 12 weeks preggo, so not unexpected, but I think I would have cried anyway.

    Hugs to you Mommy!

    Jenn June 14, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Think happy thoughts and try not to worry , I know it’s hard to do but it’s better then driving yourself crazy think bad ones. I’ll think of you and I hope everything turns out just fine.

    ScientistMother June 14, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    gosh I do not know how you can put to words the feeling and thoughts of mothers so eloquently. thinking of you and sending good thoughts to sprout et al. it will be ok.

    Her Bad Mother June 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    ThatGirl, they did have a doctor in. But still – it will be fine.

    wherewiller June 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    So scary when the little ones get sick. Sending good thoughts…

    Jezer June 14, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I echo another commenter with my own mantra: Everything will be OK. And even if it’s NOT OK, it will be O. K.

    Prayers and thoughts for you and sweet Jasper.

    Fairly Odd Mother June 14, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    You are such a good mom, to give him comfort like that. Hoping all the news is good news.

    Amy June 14, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    You are such a wonderful mother.

    When my oldest was born she had a hematoma on her head. As it started to shrink (naturally, from healing) the doctor was feeling it at an appointment and said, sort of off-handedly, “Gee, I wonder if her skull formed under here?” I couldn’t breathe. Fortunately he got us in for an ultrasound right away, and it was nothing, but I know that feeling. It’s so scary to think that something might be wrong, and outside of your control.

    Prayers coming your way. I’m hopeful that, like my kiddo, he’ll be fine.

    Amy @

    Jennifer June 14, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Sending lots of love and positive enegy (and kisses for that gorgeous little boy)

    Kyla June 14, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Does he have a pilonidal dimple? Are they checking to be sure the spine fused?

    I went through that concern with BubTar when he was just a tiny, tiny babe. I was all of 18. It was my first time inside the Children’s Hospital, the one where we’ve logged so many hours with KayTar, the child with zero concerns at birth. And BubTar? He was and always has been just fine.

    The Other Laura June 14, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    My best thoughts are with all of you and it will be fine, really.

    ewe are here June 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    He will be fine, no matter what the tests show, because he has you looking out for him.

    Love to all of you.

    Omaha Mama June 14, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    We did this very thing when my B was just two weeks old. Does your boy have a sacral dimple? Or something else. Well anyway, we ended up even having to do an MRI, then it was all fine and all of the pain and worry for not. I hope that you are able to stick to that ‘not dwelling on it’. Because that’s so hard! I think you are brilliant to ask to put him on your stomach, I wish I had thought of that. It must have left him much more comfortable.
    Best wishes.

    carrie June 14, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    It’ll be okay.

    Astacia June 14, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    (big hug and healthy vibes) for you little one. I know how scary that testing is. I have never been so frightened as when my daughter went through the gamet of chromosome screens and every genetic test known to man.
    Try to dwell on the good. Don’t worry about smothering your kids with snuggles. It’s the best antidote to worry.

    Amanda June 14, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    With a mom like you? He’s going to be just fine.

    Lady M June 14, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Sending you lots of love to share with the little one.

    The Estrogen Files June 14, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    (((HUGS))) You want to hold them safe on the outside when they are inside and then put them back inside when they are out. He’s got you as a mom – it’s all good.

    Chicky Chicky Baby June 14, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    Chicky had something like that when she was born. I don’t know what they spotted w/ Jasper but Chicky had a birth mark in just the right (wrong, actually) place on her back that alarmed the doctors. Everything turned out fine but it’s not what a new mother wants to hear. I know you understand.

    I’m sending good thoughts your way. And I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that it’s nothing.

    Black Hockey Jesus June 14, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t know how much you care about style right now, but you’re getting that difficult urgency across, that urgency that goes wherever those little people go. It’s coming through and it’s hard to do. Good luck to you & yours.

    b*babbler June 14, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Oh HBM, I’m so sorry that you’re dealing this now, instead of happily, blithely and blissfully enjoying his good health. Because despite your mantras of it’s ok, it’s going to be ok, and no matter what anyone tells you, the fact is that you *will* worry over the next week. That is what we do, as mothers.

    Sending hugs and good thoughts.

    Mayberry June 14, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    I’m sorry you have to go through another of these dreadful waits. Much love.

    mothergoosemouse June 14, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    Been thinking of you. Will continue to think of you. And your darling boy.

    Carmen June 14, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Catherine, I took a three day old baby to the ER because she was struggling to breathe. I also had a one month old need an ultrasound because he had the markers for a tethered spine.

    I’ll be hoping and praying for you. Email if you need to chat or vent – I’m here for you.

    nomotherearth June 14, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Breathe. It will be fine. It must be fine. Our thoughts and prayers are yours.

    librarychick77 June 14, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    I just had my second child, another girl, in April. Four days after she was born my firstborn (who is almost three) had to have her tonsils and adenoids removed. I left my brand new baby home with my mother so I could go with my husband and in-laws to take my little girl to surgery. As soon as they took her back to surgery I raced home to nurse my new baby and then raced back to the hospital so that I could be there when my bigger baby woke up.

    No matter how old or big they get, they are always our babies and we will always worry.

    Wishing you wonderful news and soon.

    Jenny, the Bloggess June 14, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    He will be fine. You, however, will be scarred forever. Babies should never get sick. They do it on purpose to screw with us I think. I don’t have any scientific data to back that up but I’m pretty sure it’s true.

    Samantha June 15, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Praying for you.

    Miscellaneous-Mum June 15, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Am sitting here, hoping and wishing all will be well, which I’m sure it will be.


    kittenpie June 15, 2008 at 4:03 am

    Pumpkinpie had some hip issues to be explored with ultrasound, too, and while not nearly as potentially serious, if you’re anything like me, there no way to NOT worry about future disaster. So even though the procedure is not invasive, even though you can feel pretty sure it will be okay, it’s still there, and it’s still not what any mom needs, but it’s good that they are being cautious.

    Hoping for good, good news soonest, with digits crossed for you.

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