I have nearly peeled off my skin by rubbing it so vigorously probably for the thousandth time. Since Levi is doing okay, the doctor has allowed us to meet him and have some bonding time with him.
This is the best thing which I have heard since last night because finally, we will be able to meet my baby. But at the same time, I am anxious as hell.
Baby’s immune system is not very strong and Levi being a preemie makes him even more prone to catching germs and infections.
I don’t want him to catch any viruses or germs, so I am making sure that I am thoroughly cleaned before I touch him.
I even made Nathan have a shower twice because I can’t take any chances with my Levi’s health. Also, there will be other tiny tots around him, even their life is precious so I can’t afford to put any of them in danger because of us.
I know I might be overreacting, but I can’t help it. The protective streak in me as at its peak, and I am in my full mama bear mode.
“Ready?” Nathan asks while excitement to meet Levi shining vividly in his eyes.
“One minute.” I raise my finger to stop him.
Taking a deep breath, I try to calm my nerves.
“Okay, now, I am ready.” I breathe out as a smile breaks onto my lips.
He chuckles as he wraps his arm around my shoulder supporting me as we walk towards the special nursery.
A nurse has told me that the hospital doesn’t allow toys, but we can tap pictures on the outside of the incubator to give it a personal touch. So, I am tightly clutching a polaroid picture of Nathan and me with Noel which I will stick to Levi’s incubator so that in some way his family will be with him until he is healthy enough to be with us.
The feeling of excitement and anxiousness is bubbling inside me, as we reach the NICU. We were asked to wash our hands before entering inside, I will not lie I have washed my hands nearly thrice, and when I look at the nurse instead of being annoyed she warmly smiles at me making me feel relaxed at once.
Stepping inside the NICU, I feel overwhelmed and anxious when I take in all the equipment surrounding the room. My heart aches when I look around, all the babies looking so small and vulnerable while so many tubes and wires are attached to their tiny bodies.
The mother in me wants to hold them to give them comfort and take away their pain.
Looking at them, I send a silent prayer for their speedy recovery as well as a long and healthy life.
Nathan lightly squeezes my shoulder which makes me realize that I have stopped walking and I am standing in the middle of the room.
"All these daunting machines are helping these babies to get better." The nurse gives me a comforting smile looking at my heartbroken expression.
Slightly, nodding my head, I wipe the tear which has escaped from my eye.
She guides us to the second incubator from the right corner, where another nurse is writing something on the clipboard.
She brightly smiles when she looks at us, and place the clipboard on the small table adjacent to the incubator.
"Levi's mommy and daddy have come to meet him." She smiles at us.
My heart is hammering against my ribcage as I get a glimpse of my baby from the hard plastic which is surrounding him. This is the second time, I have seen him in front of my eyes.
A sob passes through my lips as my feet take me to him, placing my hand on the plastic I look at him through the barrier which is separating us.
"Baby... my baby," I whisper as tears stream down my face, "My precious little baby."
Thankfully, not many wires or tubes are connected to him like most of the babies around here, but still, thinking about him in here is clenching my heart painfully.
Nathan is standing beside me, even his eyes are fixed on Levi as he is attempting to hold back his emotions.
"You hold him first," I ask Nathan, which makes him look at me in surprise.
"No, I..." He shakes his head looking nervous, "He is so small, I might hurt him."
"You can't hurt him." I smile at him.
I want him to hold Levi first because I know just like me even he has been waiting anxiously for this moment. Being away from Levi is not easy for him as well because I know how protective he is when it comes to Noel. So, of course, he must be feeling the same protectiveness even over him.
Moreover, I will spend more time with Levi, as they will help me with skin-to-skin and even breastfeeding. And I don't want him to wait for so long to hold his son.
He reluctantly looks at me, but when I give him an encouraging smile, his excitement overpowers his nervousness as he nods his head.
The nurse whose name I have discovered Riley takes out Levi from the incubator and carefully places him in Nathan's waiting arms.
The feeling of bliss overtakes his expression as a content sigh passes through his lips, holding his son in his arms.
My heart aches beautifully at the sight of them, as tears continuously flow from my eyes.
"Damn, he is so small." Nathan chuckles as he blinks to dry his tears, "He looks like a nugget." He shifts him in his arms, cradling him against his chest.
"Oh, God! You are going to call him nugget." My eyes widen as I shake my head at him, to which he simply shrugs his eyes not moving away from Levi's face.
"We already have a potato, now we have a nugget in our family. I think we should change our surname from Knight to McDonald's." I roll my eyes with a smile as Riley and Nathan quietly laugh.
"You are forgetting cupcake." Nathan winks as he places a feather-light kiss on his head, his lips barely making a contact with his skin.
We stop talking instantly when Levi opens his eyes, as we both watch him in awe.
He looks exactly like Noel when he was born, but he is just smaller than him.
"Hey, Levi! It is your dad." Nathan breathes when Levi looks at him, making me momentarily jealous as he is looking at him with such concentration.
"Levi Theodore Knight, my little impatient guy, welcome to the world." I caress his hair with my fingers as a lump forms in my throat. Leaning my head against Nathan's arm, we fill our hearts with the sight of our baby together.
Nathan nods at me with a small smile because he senses my anticipation to hold Levi. Sitting on the rocking chair near his incubator, I eagerly wait to hold him.
Riley helps me with my shirt and then carefully places Levi on my chest after that she places a small blanket covering Levi to keep him warm.
I completely break down at the moment I feel him against my chest. Holding him against my heart just feels like my heart has reunited with its lost piece.
Nathan rubs soothing circles on my arm, as I kiss Levi's head taking in his sweet scent.
Warmth encases my entire being when he snuggles closer to me, as he has recognized me.
"Levi, I love you," I whisper and can't help but smile when he turns to glance at me when he hears my voice as my heart swells with love. "I love and your brother more than anything in this world."
Closing my eyes, I gently rock him while holding him against me. His small body fills the void which I was feeling inside me as all my pain vanishes just by having him in my arms.
My heart feels at peace while I feel complete because I have got the piece of my heart back with me.