Mom For Now: What It Means to Be an 'Interim Boarding Care Provider'
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I don't ever feel sorry for the babies in my care. I truly consider them to be my babies. But at that moment, I did feel sorry for Jedidiah. I brought him in, I was holding him, feeding him, changing his diaper, but I wasn't his mother. In that moment, it was as if he didn't have a mother, didn't have anyone to make decisions about his care.
Jedidiah started to fall asleep in my arms. My chair was uncomfortable, so I placed him in the crib. "BEEP BEEP BEEP," one of the monitors screamed. He started to cry, so I picked him up. I wasn't sure which of the several monitors he was attached to were going off, so I adjusted them all. The beeping stopped, and he began to fall back asleep.
A few minutes later, I put him back down in the crib. He cried again. The monitor started beeping, again. I held him, adjusted those leads again, and re-set the monitor. I tried to find a comfortable position so I could continue to hold him until he fell asleep again. "Third time's the charm," I thought. And, once he was asleep, I placed him in the crib. But again, Beep beep beep beep!
I watched the numbers on the monitor rise: 183...196... Beep beep beep beep! He was crying again. Two nurses came in with our doctor. One nurse ran to the monitor. The doctor rushed over to the crib and started adjusting the leads. Jedidiah was still crying. 196...207…
"Can I pick him up?" I asked. No answer. "Can I hold him? Please?" My hands reached around Jed and I scooped him up. 207...203... I held him close to my chest, snuggling him between my shoulder and my neck. 203...196... I hummed into his ear as the numbers kept falling. 196...187... The beeping stopped.
"I'm just going to hold him," I said. "He'll be fine now."
I sat for the next couple of hours holding "my" baby in my arms as he slept. His heart rate remained stable, elevated only slightly due to his fever. He'd be fine. No one had to feel sorry for him. I, his "eema," would stay with him while the doctors and nurses worked to rid him of his infection. One day, I would tell his forever mom, whoever she turned out to be, all about his hospital stay. His infancy was going to be different than some other babies' because one woman brought him into the world, another woman cared for him in his earliest infancy, and another would parent him for the rest of his life.
Different. Not necessarily worse than or sadder than.
"Are you the mom?" they had asked me.
"I am today."
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