The following is an excerpt of an essay I wrote about the experience on Halloween in 2010 and my daughter being transferred at 5-days-old from MO BAP in St. Louis to Children’s Hospital. If you missed the post two weeks ago, then you missed that my husband was dressed up as Riker from Star Trek The Next Generation for Halloween, while we were dealing with all the NICU stuff! This time of year, I always think about that experience because three years ago to the day, I was spending my time from morning to night at the NICU. But this is a bit of the lighter side of things. . .
An Excerpt from “Nothing Could Prepare Me”
by The Sandwich Lady (AKA Margo L. Dill)
But it soon became clear how being married to a Trekkie could help in even the worst situations. Eventually, the transport team had to move Katie, and they said it was best for us to go and meet them there. My husband was hungry, so down to the cafeteria we went. On the way to pay for our food, a surgeon stopped my husband and said, “I love your costume.” He had never seen one that looked so real. (Side note: My husband actually has a handmade Next Generation uniform from a Star Trek convention.) After the doc and Rick excitedly conversed for a few minutes, I smiled, took a deep breath, and realized that Katie going to Children’s Hospital was going to be the best thing, even though it was scary as hell. They had better equipment and specialists there. God was putting her in the right place.
When we finally got to see Katie at Children’s Hospital in a private room, a surgeon came in to talk to Captain Riker and me. He began a long and technical lecture about the many things that could be wrong with our baby girl. Words flew around the room: “surgery, preemies, problems, digestion, surgery, testing, surgery, nurses, surgery.” And I wasn’t the only one unhappy and freaking out—Katie had finally had enough of what this world was doing to her.
She started screaming.
So as Captain Riker, AKA Daddy, tried to listen to the surgeon and a nurse tried to tidy up Katie’s room, I watched my five-day-old daughter scream until she turned red, and NO ONE stopped moving or talking to help her.
“Stop,” I said. “Stop. I can’t listen to you until we get her to stop crying.”
An angel, AKA nurse with experience, ran in, put her hand on top of Katie’s head, cooed a few words, and convinced her to stop crying. The surgeon stopped. The other nurse stopped. Captain Riker looked scared to death—he had never encountered a preemie mother on the Starship Enterprise before.
Everyone took a deep breath, and we remembered why we were there—a precious baby needed our help. We took her to testing and soon thankfully discovered no surgery was needed. Nothing was wrong with her, except the fact that she was a preemie and just needed time and love.
Nothing could prepare me for my new, bonding relationship with my breast pump—pumping eight times a day so that my milk would stay in until Katie was ready to nurse. Nothing could prepare me for how I experienced a complete meltdown when I spilled two ounces of breast milk at midnight after working for twenty minutes to pump it. Nothing could prepare me for how proud I was when Katie passed her car seat test and was on the path to coming home.
But really the one that needs the preparation is poor Katie. Nothing could prepare her for her first Star Trek convention when she was 11-months-old, and her daddy, dressed once again as a weirdo (AKA Captain Riker), had her picture taken with Brent Spiner, Data from The Next Generation.
I’m sorry, Katie, Nothing could prepare you for having a Trekkie for a daddy. That’s Nothing with a capital N.