This past week we ticked off a big milestone as parents, though it wasn’t one we looked forward to (and hoped to avoid) checking off: the first time having to bring one of our kids to the hospital.
Our littlest H-G munchkin, Cormac, had the misfortune of picking up a cold from his sister – one that on her 2.5 year old system just had the sound of an annoying cough and the look of a lot of snot. No big deal. But for Cormac’s 5 week old body it meant labored breathing, and a cough that made you hold your breath as you waited for him to take his next.
It was honestly really hard at the hospital. I know there are tons of parents out there that have had to take their children in to the hospital far more frequently than us, and heck, some start out parenthood in that state of fear and worry and why-is-this-happening when their child is first born. Hospital stays are tough, no matter the circumstances.
So when they said Cormac had to go on oxygen, and they placed the tubes and cannula on his face, my heart cracked a little.
And when they had to give him an IV in his tiny, tiny hand, I cried through the whole thing.
And when they kept me from nursing him for 11 hours, I cried, (and pumped while crying), and cursed. And when my milk supply decreased, I cried some more.
Brad and I made a point not to post about the hospital visit on social media. It’s overwhelming when you are in a situation of fear and anxiety and you have to then put on a brave face for the masses. Instead, we only told close family and friends so we could have that barrier of love and prayers surround us, without the added pressure of forced contentedness with a crappy situation.
So why talk about the visit now in this public space? I wanted to make sure that we were being authentic. I may not post about every cough and sniffle in our house, but sharing about the real life struggle of a hospital trip shows that there is more to the smiling selfies and profile updates that we present to the world. These are the broken moments that we work to overcome.
Through the nights of our stay, Cormac would have a tough time falling asleep or I’d worry about him spitting up once I laid him down, so we had a lot of hours of just holding him. There was a peacefulness to those late night or early morning hours – hospital staff didn’t stop in as frequently, the only lights were from the glow of the monitor showing Cormac’s vitals, and there was a quiet whisper of the oxygen flowing through his mask. I would flip through my usual songs I liked to sing, but found myself always coming back to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Jeff Buckley’s version of it is my absolute favorite.
Most of the little songs I sing to the kids are straight-up melancholy, sad songs. But I like melancholy songs – they’ve got that same authenticity of being real while in crummy situations. In the lyrics of Hallelujah, my voice would crack when getting to these lines:
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah
Loving on these littles can break us sometimes. And the love for those around us isn’t always this straight-forward fanfare of sunshine and perfect days; it can be whispered songs that echo in hospital rooms, or unslept hours watching them sleep in your arms, or murmured prayers when the door swings open with news from the doctor.
We’ve been home from the hospital a few days; Cormac is on the mend, my milk supply is showing improvement, and we’re attempting to recoup lost hours of sleep (doubtful, I know), but this milestone gave us a lot of perspective. The littles in our lives – whether they’re littles tucked in the safety of a womb, or active little munchkins, or big kids off to college – can leave us feeling broken sometimes, but you will muster up what you need to meet the challenge. The path of love can be cold and broken, but there can still be a whisper of hallelujah, a praise up to God for the pieces that remain intact and the guidance to put them back together.
We are forever thankful for the friends and family who fed us, cheered for Cormac, prayed over us, and kept us going.
Still singing Hallelujah,