Friday, 18 September 2015

Guest Author Lidia Branch of Moncton, NB

The series of NB Authors is winding down with three more installments. Today you will meet Lidia Branch.


Originally from The Netherlands,
Lidia Branch is now a Canadian citizen living in Moncton, New Brunswick with her husband Brian and two children, Jonah and Maika. A former birth doula and midwife assistant, Lidia now enjoys writing, being a writing coach for children and mother/manager of her daughter, Maika, who has become a successful author at the age of eleven. Lidia loves journaling about her life and hopes to one day turn those journals and stories into future fiction and non-fiction books.






An excerpt from Baby Jonah.


Chapter 5: Tubes and Wires 

 



After the initial shock of seeing our son’s face for the first time, and the disappointment of not being allowed to hold him, I somehow still was in good hopes that he was going to be OK. I was still expecting to find my baby in a little crib nicely tucked in under a blue striped blanket. By now he is probably sucking his knuckles ready to latch on for some milk, I thought as I was getting ready to freshen up. I had been waiting for this moment forever. The first shower after seven hours of labor and giving birth was the best shower I had in my entire life. I was just standing there, relaxing my sore tired body under the warm flow of hot water. It felt so good to wash away all the body fluids from giving birth. It took me a few minutes to process the miracle that just occurred. What an experience, what a rush! Yes it was true what they say, it was no fun to have those contractions but you know what? I would do it again in a heartbeat. The reward of holding my baby was going to be worth all the pain. I was sure of it. It is unbelievable that a child can grow in your belly, inside of your body. It starts with two cells you cannot even see, created by love, and turns into a little human being! A baby with arms, legs, fingers, and a beating heart. And when he grows up he will look like me or Brian or a bit of both. He will walk and talk and have his own personality.

      Life grew inside of me. Every time I think about this it gives me goosebumps. 
 

      While in the shower, Nobody bugged me. It was just me and my thoughts and the calming sound and warmth of the water. Although I felt tired – it was in the middle of the night after all – I was excited at the same time and couldn’t wait to go over to the NICU to hold him. And then it started to sink in. I am a mother. I did it! So tired and happy at the same time. The only worry I had was my son’s face.

      As usual Brian helped me to dry and get dressed. As I opened the door back to the delivery room my nurse appeared around the blue curtain with a wheelchair to bring me to the NICU. The wheelchair had an inviting clean white and pink flannel on it which the nurse used to turn me into a human cocoon. For once in my life I felt I really accomplished something and allowed myself to be pampered for a change.

      Brian pushed me through the long corridor. The hallway was nicely decorated with beautiful framed photographs of happy moms and dads with the cutest babies. Black babies, babies with Christmas hats on, twins... the hallway seemed endless. We halted in front of a door with a big hexagon sign saying: STOP! Parents and grand parents only. Another one proclaimed: Please be quiet, babies sleeping! The nurse pressed a buzzer and a voice on the other side said: “Yes?”


      Our nurse replied: “I have the mom and dad of baby boy Branch with me.” Another heavy door on the side opened widely and we all entered the hallway. The bright white walls were plastered with baby photos, hundreds of them. But we didn’t waste any time taking a closer look. At the end of the hallway was a small cozy family room to the right and a scrub room to the left. In the centre of this room stood a big metal sink. The nurse started to explain how to scrub our hands and prepare to go inside of the unit. “See there are two giant buttons here, one for the soap and one or the water. You press them with your knee. While we washed our hands following her instructions she went on, saying: “Here are some masks and over there you can grab one of our “pretty” yellow lab coats. Brian put one on and the nurse helped him to attach it to the back. I had to laugh, “Bri babe, you look like a doctor.” The nurse draped one over me as well when I sat back in the chair.

      As soon as we opened the door to the unit we noticed the hot dry air and the medical scent that filled our noses, no doubt a mix of disinfectant, clean laundry and new diapers. It was a strange place with dimmed lights, beeping machines and incubators with tiny babies sleeping in some of them. We just entered a very strange place. On the floor we saw white painted footsteps we were supposed to follow. We saw the nurse’s station on the left and heard some mumbling and papers rustling. The sound died down as we passed the counter. Nurses who were working behind the counter looked up and greeted the three of us with a friendly nod. Our nurse walked ahead and directed us to a high, strange-looking table with a bright overhead light shining on it. There was no crib, and no cute blue striped blankets either. Slowly I lifted myself out of the wheelchair, leaning with one hand on Brian’s shoulder. Our little baby boy was laying in the centre of the table. It seemed as if there were little tubes and wires going in and coming out of every little hole of his tiny body, which in return were attached to all kinds of large beeping and flashing machines.

      As forewarned, he had the three electrodes attached to his tiny chest. The electrodes were connected to a machine. He was lying on a white pad with a light blue border and had a rolled up terry washcloth under his neck to support his little head. There were two other larger rolled up white towels next to him to support his little body.

      One of the ICU nurses approached us and put her hand on my shoulder. She had a smile on her face and whispered: “Congratulations you two, isn’t he cute?” I looked at Brian and couldn’t help starting sobbing as I thought, Cute? What does she mean? A full-term baby, now that is cute, this isn’t. “Does he have a name?” the nurse asked us.

      “Sorry, what?”

      “Does he have a name yet?” she repeated.

      “Oh uh yes... His name... is Jonah,” I answered while wiping my tears with the sleeve of my lab coat. The nurse offered to explain what all the machines were for. We appreciated that and listened as the nurse began to point at the different machines. “Your baby is laying on something we call a baby warmer, or warming table. On this side we have the most important machine: The ventilator, without that your Jonah would not be able to breathe. Oh you... did know he was intubated right?” We shook our heads. I was so shocked to hear this that I had to put my hand on my chest in an unconscious attempt to make the pounding stop.
 
 
 
 
Thank you Lidia for sharing this very touching excerpt. Learn more about her book and Baby Jonah here


Next week the NB Authors Series will include myself and the continuation of the beginning of my latest novel - The Wall of War. To date, I have shared the first three episodes of the opening text. Watch for the closing segment of the epilogue.

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