Last night I spent a good amount of time putting Emma's oxygen tubes back on her because she just wasn't keeping it on. Each time her alarms went off because her SATS went below 87 I would go back in, hook her back up, and sit with her as she'd calm back down from crying (or maybe it's just yelling at me?). I'd go in there and gently put the cannula back in her nose, wrap it back around her ears and tighten it under her chin... she'd grind her teeth (I'd put a bib up to her mouth so she could grind on that instead), she'd bat at me to push me away, and she'd holler.
I went to bed, albeit a bit late because I was waiting for Mike to get home, then her alarms began again and after a few trips out to her room I took up residence on the bed in the girls' room. One of the times that I got up to 'help' her my heart dropped. She looked at me and started crying. Not because I was holding a syringe or the O2 tubing, or the monitor box... she cries at the sight of those... in fact, I wasn't holding anything. She just knew what I was going to do.
For a parents of an adopted child the whole bonding process is a very significant part of early attachment and family life for the new child(ren). I was so happy the morning that Emma first smiled when she just SAW me and I hadn't done any motion to pick her up yet. She knew who I was and why I was there, she wanted to be held and she was glad to see me. Last night I realized that her medical issues have backed us up. No, she's not very smiley in general right now and hasn't been since her surgery-- understandably, it HURTS. But last night when she saw me and cried, well, that HURTS too.
I put her cannula back in, I gave her some Tylenol (on the off-chance that she really was in pain...) and I scooped her up. She cried. And cried. She breathed quick and with spurts of holding her breath like she does when she is upset at the doctors' offices. She flicked her fingers, popped her knee, attempted to scratch at her face and ears. I bounced, her, rocked her, patted her, held her tightly, held her loosely, rubbed her back, then plopped down- exhausted- on the bed and let her loose to roll off me. She pushed away with force and rolled to face the bedrail.
I knew I couldn't just "give up" and I needed to comfort her somehow. After all, she was upset, and whether she likes it (right now) or not I'm her Mommy. I curled her tiny little body back onto my chest, arranged the pillows so we could sit like that for some time, and I began to massage her little shoulders, back, waist, legs, feet. I did this a few times then used a firm pressure to just rub her arms, legs, back. I laid still but embraced her closely, then loosened my hold and started again- massage, rub, hold. About 5 minutes later when I loosened my hold on her I felt her little arm begin to rest. She was no longer flicking. No longer scratching.
I continued anonther 5 minutes, lessening the pressure of the massage, lessening the intensity of the rub, lessening the hold. It was working. She was relaxing. I woke up about 30 minutes later and laid my sleeping sweetheart back in her crib. She finally relaxed, finally trusted.
No, the medical difficulties and the fact that Mommy has to be the morning/evening and overnight nurse in addition to the caretaker and nurturer is no fun. No, it doesn't help the ability to trust, to bond, to feel secure. But all I wanted was my baby back. The one that smiled when she saw me in the morning and was happy to know that everything is going to be ok. I hope she'll resurface soon. And in the mean time? I'll relish the moments like that 3am snuggle where she decides, once again, that Mommy's arms are a safe place to be.