I've generally avoided explicitly personal writing on the blog (preferring instead to focus on matters whimsical & pop-cultural) but there's a time and a place for everything. That time is now. That place is here.
At 12.16 a.m., on Friday the 16th of January 2009, our daughter Willow emerged into the world – 6 weeks earlier than expected. Jess's labour was long and exhausting. Her strength and composure were (predictably) astonishing. She's always been my hero. She's now my idol.
As I write this, with pen & paper, it's "quiet time" in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The lights are dimmed, the blinds are drawn. Machines bleep and whirr. Tiny babies cry out and then fall silent. The white light from Willow's phototherapy lamp illuminates my notebook page.
Outside, January is doing its thing. Chucking down sleet and snow, clearing up for a time, then clouding over and darkening once more. Inside her incubator Willow sleeps serenely – naked and impossibly beautiful. Growing strong. Changing daily.
I've never been more aware of the inadequacy of language. Attempts to communicate precisely what we're feeling sound clichéd and platitudinous.
Music, laughter, and (buckets of) tears speak more eloquently than clumsy, clunky words. I sing to her every day, through the little portholes of her temporary home. It helps me, and (I know) it helps her. The tightened grips on my finger testify to that.
Love is such a physical force – deep and shattering. Beautifully painful.
6 Pounds, 3 Ounces: a great weight (I repeat endlessly to myself and others) for one so premature. She'll be home soon. I know this.
Here it all begins. A journey measured in minutes and hours. In feeds and measurements and cuddles and song. It's gut-wrenching beyond belief – but boy, is it wonderful.
January 19, 2009