Folded white blanket. Two yellow jumpers. One fluffy giraffe. Noah’s ark mobile. Wooden rocking chair. Baby powder scent. Empty white crib. Six more weeks. Michael kisses belly. So much love. Two years trying. I’m finally pregnant. Boy or girl? We don’t know. Knitting blue blankets. Sewing pink quilts. Honey yellow bibs. Lots of excitement. Everything is ready. Baby’s coming soon.
Tuesday doctor appointment. Something is wrong. Baby in distress. Premature labor begins. Michael’s not there. Stuck in traffic. Sharp contracting pains. Gasping and crying. No pain relief. Suddenly contractions change. Pressure increases greatly. Need to push. Still no Michael. Doctor’s eyes darken. What is wrong? I watch monitor. Heartbeat is dropping. Not too late. Emergency cesarean section. Praying to God. Don’t take baby. Please Holy Father. Michael finally arrives. Holding my hand. Machines beep endlessly. Surgery is long. Longer than bearable. Baby is born. Covered in blood. Most beautiful sight. It’s a girl. Not a sound. Mouth suctioned out. More painful waiting. Then the sound/our baby wailing. Her voice protesting. Tears on cheeks. We cry happiness.
Low Apgar score. Loud voices increase. Baby stops moving. More tests needed. I watch horrified. Praying for help. Save our baby. She’s so little. Michael is solemn. I feel alone. Sewn back up. Waiting in recovery. No good news. No bad news. Nothing is heard. My heart aches. Never held her. She needs named. Ruth Estaline Adams. “Ruthie” for short. Michael seeks news. Ruthie’s in danger. Born too early. In neonatal ICU. Praying so hard. God, a miracle. All I ask. I need you. Save our baby.
I’m allowed in. Tubes sticking out. Leg wrapped tight. IV tucked beneath. Ruthie is hidden. Tiny eyes closed. I haven’t seen. What color eyes? Why our baby? What sin committed? Watching my baby. Chest slowly rises. Chest slowly falls. Tears are silent. Prayers are constant. Night comes quickly. Baby isn’t changing. Not much hope. Gather the family. Won’t survive night. Pleading with God. Please, please, please! Save little Ruthie. Crying with Michael. Want to hold. Want to kiss. Touch our baby.
Early in morning. Ruthie is fading. Prayers are desperate. Please Holy Father. I’ll do anything. Wanna keep her. Stats go up. God is listening. He answers prayers. Ruthie is stable. Tears of joy. Baby gets stronger. Each day better. Holding little Ruthie. Bright green eyes. Tiny little fingers. Ten soft toes. Perfect little baby.
Four weeks later. Ruthie goes home. Sleeps in crib. Spits on giraffe. Pees through jumpers. Swaddled in blanket. Rocks in chair. Sleeps in arms. Sweet baby girl. Crying at night. Feeding through night. Loving our baby. Thankful for gift. Kisses at night. Kisses at sunrise. So very grateful.
One year old. Bouncing baby girl. Brown matted curls. My spitting image. Sticky little fingers. Munching purple crayons. First full sentence. “I want cookie!” Learning to walk. Tripping over feet. Drying her tears. Pink little dresses. Butterfly kisses together. Michael’s piggyback rides. Rides on shoulders. Giggles with Ruthie. Smiles at us. Pouts at bedtime. Soft pink lips. Never really works. Reading giraffe stories. Loving our baby. Not always happy. Three ear infections. Coughing throughout night. Drippy little nose. Cuddling my Ruthie. Prayers to God. What is wrong? Let her stay. Keep germs away.
Life is fast. The terrible two’s. Ruthie comes first. Walks in park. Tantrums at store. Prayers at lunch. Little hands folded. I love her. Michael’s bear hugs. Dates on Tuesday. Sitter paid $20. Shopping for diapers. Calling home twice. Napping during movie. Dinner at home. Ruthie spitting peas. Loves her apples. Health is weak. More sick nights. Ruthie has pneumonia. She gets better. Then another cold. Cries at night. Never harsh words. Only soft tones. Giving up job. Staying with baby. Prayers every night. Thank you, Father. I love you. I love Michael. I love Ruthie.
Three years old. Tears all around. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Months of treatment. Bald little head. Chemotherapy – radiation – nothing. Bone marrow donor/no match found. I’m always here. High medical bills. Michel’s night job. He sleeps little. Prayers at night. Why our baby? Don’t take her. I won’t forgive. Please, not Ruthie. Kisses in morning. Never giving up.
Hospital at four. Last little birthday. Dirty old giraffe. Yellowed white blanket. Tattered pink quilt. Ruthie lays quiet. Barely smiles anymore. Oxygen through nose. Miserable little girl. I kiss cheeks. Promise to love. Ruthie prays aloud. “Thanks for giraffes. Peanut butter, jelly. I love Mom. I love Dad.” I read stories. Tell of Jesus. Jesus loves her. Waiting in heaven. “I love you.” Sitting that night. Prayers once again. God, I understand. I am thankful. Four more years. Better than none. Love my baby. Keep her safe. Always sleeping now. Ruthie is fading. No more giggles. No more kisses. Takes last breath. Michael hugs me. My heart’s broken. But faith remains. I’ll always love. I’ll always remember. God’s precious gift. Our little Ruthie.
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