Teddy's Story

Chapter 21: Teddy’s First Christmas

When you are pregnant, you begin to imagine all the 1st your child will have. Their first smile, first steps and their first Christmas. My mother had made Christmas and holidays so magical for us and I dreamed of doing the same for my children. What I never imagined was my child’s first Christmas involving breathing tubes, chest tubes, dangerous complications, and a NICU hospital bed. We tried to do what we could to make it festive. We had a Christmas tree above his bed. We sang him Christmas carols. The NICU staff decorated and wore festive items. At the apartment we were staying, I made a “Christmas tree” out of green file folders and post-it tabs. We wrapped presents and placed them “under” the tree. While that helped us be a little more in the Christmas spirit, our hearts weren’t in it. We were scared and overwhelmed. We hadn’t held our baby in a month and since he had a breathing tube and chest tube, we were told it would probably be awhile before we could hold him. 

On Christmas eve, we spent the day just as we had last month. Waking up by 5am, so we could make 6am rounds, to hear what they were saying. He still had a lot of fluid coming out of the chest tube, so the leak was still very active. We hung out by his bedside, helping with his cares, singing, and reading to him. We took turns eating meals and I pumped. We talked to the nurses and therapists and smiled as fellow parents sharing in our unexpected and hard Christmases. As the night shift came, not much had changed. Teddy was thankfully much more comfortable, but still unable to wean off of the breathing tube. 

I was so happy to see Teddy’s amazing primary night nurse was on duty, because I knew she would make it special for him. She knew how much we were struggling and then gave us the best Christmas present we could have ever imagined. She got permission to let us hold Teddy! Like actually hold him in our arms, snuggling and kissing him. I can remember how she called over two other nurses to help her. How gentle and careful they were when they were picking him up and placing him in our arms. This was such a big risk, because if the breathing tube or chest tube had been pulled out or moved it could have caused serious issues, but she knew how much we needed this. The feeling of having him back in my arms was indescribable. It immediately set my soul at ease. I felt complete again. I couldn’t snuggle him to my chest and hug him tight, but he could feel me and I could feel him giving us both comfort. When my turn was up, they gently did it all again and placed him in Jason’s arms. That truly was the best Christmas present.  We both left that night feeling so much better.  

The next morning, we woke up bright and early just like we did every morning and headed to the NICU. I wanted to make sure to be there before he was really awake and try and make Christmas morning as special as possible. We walked into the NICU, turned the corner to Teddy’s bay, and both got the biggest smiles on our faces.  That night, Santa had come and Teddy’s bed was decorated with his Christmas trees and Santa had also brought so many presents! Through donations, the hospital had so many fun presents they gave all the kids, including blankets, toys, and more! It was so very special and we were so grateful for his nurse and the entire NICU staff. We spent Christmas day by his bedside, singing, smiling, and even got to hold him again. While it may not have been what we imagined, it was definitely special and a Christmas we will never forget.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *