Leaving the Hospital Without Baby


It isn’t the way I wanted to leave-with my bag still containing that sweet “coming home” outfit and a pair of too small socks.

I didn’t want to leave that way. Where walking out the door feels like an abandoning and criminal is what I never thought I’d be.

Of course, it isn’t my fault. He doesn’t breathe well. He doesn’t eat. He makes these choices young and there isn’t a thing in the world I can do. They tell me this because they are used to guilty tears-it isn’t my fault. But naturally, I believe something else entirely about the way a mother is in charge of feeding her baby, so somehow it just feels like…
They take him in the middle of the night and I follow, even though it has been just hours since I fought so hard and won. I felt strong then, as if labor that loud meant I could give him anything. Now it’s all weakness and I follow wondering if I can find my way back.

There is a line on the floor connecting my room to his. I wake up in a panic, knowing before I open my eyes that he isn’t there. I stumble out looking for something to follow and there it is, steady blue. Steady but worn down by countless mothers who have walked this line before. I follow the line in gratitude that to the person who perceived that mothers don’t always know how to get back their strength. Sometimes a steady line painted blue on the floor is an act of compassionate grace. 
And he lays there warm with breath breathed for him, but I get all cold seeing him that way. I look at him with distant love because I don’t really know him yet. How can I know him like this? I hold him close but awkwardly, tubes coming between us, and I put my face close. I can smell the cold oxygen that escapes the tube and I stay that way just to breath the same air.

This is our first communion.

They let me stay another night, but even hospital rooms move on. I know that sleep can mean the difference between perspective and panic, so I go home with lead in my heart and sleep the kind of unconsciousness reserved for the washed out weary.

In the days to come we settle in strong, and I decide that my expectations are in everyone’s way. I resolve to know nothing but a small world of beeping monitors and silent vigils beside tiny cribs. In this way we control what little we can and leave expectations to the stronger and wiser.

He comes home late to a small party of pajama clad siblings-a deferred homecoming, but we huddle around him in relief and some worry. He sleeps away the days like he still can’t decide which is better-womb or world. I have little doubt that we will convince him that he is meant for this world and the world for him.


  1. Note to self: Never read Christin’s writings at work, because then you have to explain red eyes and runny noses to coworkers.

    Although sometimes it the ‘unable to stop laughing’ that you have to explain – just depends on the story.

    All I really know is that your stories, your wisdoms, your writings – never do they leave me untouched.

    Keep writing, you have a true gift.

    PS – Skye is just the cutest little thing since Jude and Wren.

    • Aunt Candy, you are always so encouraging, thank you! I hear that my interest in writing comes down the family line, wink wink 🙂

  2. This just made my heart melt. My cousin went through a similar situation, and we “shared” the journey with her, though I could never quite understand what it felt like to be in her shoes, especially before having a child of my own.

    This describes it so poetically that it really helps to understand what moms go through during a time like this. That blue line that so many moms walked along to their babies. So sad and hopeful at the same time.

    Your children are so lucky to have a mom who feels, notices, appreciates, and can describe so beautifully what it’s like to be a mom — all the love and worry. I just loved this so much.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here