Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I was thinking of Lucy today. Lately I'm terrible with names and details of any sort. I can read the most interesting article or hear the most fascinating NPR segment and then be incapable of articulating what I read or heard to Ken later in the day.
Therefore, remembering that her name is Lucy feels significant.
Lucy is a nurse, or maybe an aide, who works nights in the hospital's maternity department. She was working after my first son was born. The first 24-hours after they are born, babies sleep a lot, but after that they're up, and to them, two o'clock in the morning doesn't seem like an unreasonable time to be awake. As it happened it was two o'clock in the morning. My new son and I were alone and he was crying. I was tired and sore and I couldn't make him stop. There's nothing that makes a new parent feel more insecure than finding themselves completely unable to console their baby. I didn't know what to do, so I did what I now know lots of new mothers do, I buzzed for the nurse. By this time I was crying too. Lucy came in. "I can't make him stop," I said. She took him - and instantly he was quite. I got back into bed. Lucy put my sleeping baby down. She said nothing and left the room. She was my hero. She was my baby whisperer. She didn't offer me any advice, perhaps because I would have been too tired to comprehend, but perhaps because she knew that figuring out how to console a baby is something we all learn for ourselves and something we all do differently, whatever works best depending on the situation.
Lucy was working when my second son was born as well. From the beginning H seemed to understand day verses night. The baby who came out crying, slept great at the hospital and has continued to sleep well ever since. I told Lucy the story of how she quieted my older son and how enormously thankful I was. She smiled and nodded and continued taking my vitals. She didn't remember, why would she? It was over two and-a-half years ago, I was one distraught mother out of hundreds she's helped. What was significant to me was routine to her.
I don't know what made me think of Lucy today. Maybe I'm on the cusp of forgetting her name, or of forgetting the entire incident, and writing it down is the only way I have of cementing her story as part of my story. Already I look at my four-year-old and can hardly believe he was ever the baby in the photos that hang in the stairwell. If that can happen in just four years what hope have I of remembering a nurse who came in my room in the middle of the night and helped get my son and I off on the right foot when I was drugged and groggy?

song: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds • artist: The Beatles

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