What do you call an unwelcome visitor in the midst of the busiest season of the year?
Pneumonia. In a two month old baby.
The hospital room contained three noises: the rattle and choke of Landon's mucousy lungs as he tried to fall asleep in my arms, the intermittent pump of his IV, and the rasp of the rocking chair's rear upswing as we rocked.
Justin slumped in a deep chair across the room from us, closing his eyes against the morning's stress. If I had to guess what he was seeing behind his eyelids, I'd say it was a combination of the doctor's face as she urged us to go to the hospital and the way Landon looked so helpless on the exam table as nurses tried to take urine and blood samples and start an IV.
His veins were entirely too small for anything like success to happen, and after six needle pokes in five locations on his tender limbs, the nurse finally got a line started on his head. For 45 minutes in the exam room, Landon lay on his back while they extracted the necessary bodily fluids to diagnose his condition. His eyes -- crying with real tears -- almost never left their lock on my own. I knew exactly what he was saying to me as I watched the nurses' progress.
Pick me up, mama. Please, hold me. Make this stop.
And I would have. Except I was desperate to know what was causing my sweet boy such distress. Days of choking coughs followed by fevers and inconsolable crying. He was pale. He wouldn't nurse. He wouldn't relax. He barely slept. He just cried, in an exhausted, inevitable way.
So we went to the hospital, and settled in for a nice, December visit. The chest x-ray showed pneumonia.
I couldn't stand the silence of those three noises. They were an orchestra of sadness and worry. So I started singing a lullaby to help ease Landon into restfulness.
Lightly row, lightly row
o'er the flashing waves we go.
Smoothly glide, smoothly glide
On the silent tide.
Let the wind and waters be
mingled with a melody.
Sing and float, sing and float
in our little boat.
He slept and rattled, while across the room, Justin fell asleep to the lullaby as well. Eventually, my sweet baby boy nursed and smiled. Overnight, he pinkened up again.
And we went home, late the next night. Tired and thankful. The lullaby feels like a talisman now -- I sing it against the sickness and against the winter and against the worry. It soothes us all.