The first day of spring was Sunday. At the pond behind the hospital that is the temporary home for our newest family member, the trees are beginning to bud. It is still not warm but the buds are signs of progress from winter into spring and hold the promise of beautiful days to come.
The tiny baby who joined our family almost 3 weeks ago is getting stronger. She has monitors attached to her chest and foot which are there to alert the nurses to any difficulties she might encounter. In spite of the electronic monitoring, we watch her very closely. And in watching her, we are rewarded with new developments each day. First, she showed us that she was getting stronger and no longer needed assistance with breathing. Her intake of her mothers’ milk grew large enough that she no longer needed calories to be delivered through IV in order to grow. And her ability to coordinate her sucking and swallowing reflexes is improving each day so that more of that milk can be fed to her by bottle and less by feeding tube. These are medical milestones that move us closer to the day when the view of this pond is not a daily sight. But embedded in each of these medical milestones is something more. As each medical device is removed, the time her parents are able to hold their baby is increased. As our tiny girl grows stronger, she is awake a bit longer and increasingly aware and alert during those waking moments. Many more of those waking moments are spent in her mother’s arms. As I sit nearby and watch this tiny girl look up at her mommy, I see beauty and the promise of even more beautiful days to come.