I happen to live within walking distance of Eliza's NCCU. This was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I could spend 20 hours a day in the NCCU and a curse because I could spend 20 hours a day in the NCCU. After about a week of spending 20 hours a day in the unit, showing up at 3 am, etc., one of the neonatologists took me aside and mentioned that I may want to consider going home to sleep, eat and bathe. I asked him what made him think I needed to sleep/eat/bathe. He very nicely informed that I was starting to look like a homeless heroine addict, red eyes and all. It was some of the best advice I had in that first week, and I managed to sleep a good ten hours without even moving. After that first week of no sleep I tried to always get a few hours sleep at night so I could better focus on Eliza.
During those first few weeks of not knowing from day to day how Eliza was going to fare, getting the middle of night calls that all was not well, being asked to sign consent forms for medications and procedures that were a blur, I began to have anxiety attacks. My OB prescribed xanax which helped immensely. My mother of course had her own ideas of how to deal with anxiety. My mother's answer to stress was to crochet. To her, crocheting was far superior to any drug for relieving anxiety. It didn't matter what you crocheted, because it was the calming repetition of crocheting that was the important thing. And so I began to crochet the blue blanket (yes Eliza is a girl and should have had a pink blanket, but blue wool was the wool on hand at the moment).
For the first few weeks I sat by Eliza's isolette crocheting like a mad woman. Unfortunately I could only crochet one thing, a plain, simple blanket. Although the nurses and I now laugh about how big the blanket got, the blue blanket actually served as a catalyst to making friends with the nurses and some of the other parents. With the ever-growing blue blanket there was always going to be something to talk about, other than Eliza or the other babies and their problems. Of course, after Eliza's discharge some of the nurse's confessed to thinking I was a bit batty for my 8 hour crocheting marathons at Eliza's isolette.
I finished the blue blanket shortly before Eliza's discharge. The blanket grew as Eliza grew. Eliza still has her blue blanket and one day I'll tell her the story of why a little girl has her very own blue blanket.
Photo: Eliza Grace 8 Days Old