Thank you to everyone who has signed up to play Blogger Bingo. Not just because it took three showers and a car drive to mentally piece together all the elements of the game, but because it is an enormous distraction right now. We are worried about some appointments this week; lay-in-bed-and-stare-at-the-ceiling-at-2-a.m. worried. But in the end, it's not my story to tell, therefore, I don't feel like I can be the one to tell it here.
I have tried other distractions. We cleaned the house tonight in preparation for a friend coming over, our heads down over piles of paper, sorting and tossing and filing and speaking about nothing. Cleaning is usually enough for me; organizing, settling, straightening. But after a half hour, we both stopped. I apologize in advance to my friend for the shoes in the front hallway but I'm not going to bother with them tonight.
Instead of focusing on what is happening this week, I will transport you back five years ago to this very time period, when the twins were finishing up their stint in the NICU. Some time during their second week in the NICU, I had bumped into a nurse practitioner by the elevators around 11 p.m. She asked me how I was and I sort of did that head nod thing you do when you don't trust yourself to speak because you're afraid you're going to cry.
Even though I was on my way to pump (oh for the love, I was always on my way to pump), she steered me towards her office and had me unload all of my fears, starting with the smallest ones (that my breast milk would never come in...which...er...turned out to be true) to the largest ones (that the twins would die). And tucked somewhere in the middle of no breast milk and death was this event looming inside my head--my son's bris.
The reality is that no mohel would touch him. He was two pounds with an inability to regulate his body temperature for longer than twenty minutes. I didn't blame them and I knew we were exempt from the 8 day rule with circumcision, but I was terrified of putting him through a bris at home. He came home on a heart monitor for tachycardia and I couldn't imagine how we'd get through the service emotionally. Not when he was so small, so fragile (and at the same time, so ornery, so feisty).
The nurse practitioner, an orthodox Jewish woman, told me that she couldn't help with the breast milk thing and she couldn't make promises about their future health, but she could solve the bris problem. We could hold the bris in the hospital on the day before they went home.
And that is how we held my son's bris in the conference room at a Jesuit, crucifix-on-the-wall hospital. We found a mohelet who was also a surgeon. The nurses came down to help us care for the twins and be there in the event of an emergency (and one exclaimed afterward in her thick Southern accent that she was just so tickled to be part of something so exciting!). We brought some family and items from the two men the twins are named after. We had the traditional Jewish service and the nurses sensitively turned off his heart monitor for the moment of the circumcision so we wouldn't need to hear the alarms going off when we all knew they would be going off.
After all of the worrying, all of the fretting, in the end, I got the traditional Jewish service I wanted. The service I needed. It may not have looked like the service we planned when they were still in-utero, but it was beautiful and unique and we made it our own.
I am distracting myself from everything going on this week by remembering how things have always turned out fine in the end; that people have helped us through and that the important things have always been cushioned with a safe landing. That so much of the worrying (except that damn breast milk thing) has never come to fruition. That humans are flexible and we roll with new information because we have no choice but to roll with new information. That we have been lucky. That regardless of anything else, coming through that beginning, we are one of the lucky ones.
The bris itself is the better story. More than how I locked myself in the bathroom and the mohelet had to come inside and listen to me cry for a half hour and only charged us her regular rate even though she also provided some on-the-spot therapy. Or how I was insane by that point, a reaction to the Reglan I was taking for the non-existent breast milk. Those aren't really pleasant things to talk about and I am distracting right now.
I am placing my head back in the sand. Thinking about the bris. My grandfather's hat on a chair. The melting ice cream. The ChickieNob's head tucked under my chin as I bit my lip.