There are no smiles. Eyes that open up occasionally but look into the distance, unfocussed. Teddy bear plasters that hold the canula in place on her hand, her foot. A theatre frock with farm animals. A baby on an adult stretcher in A&E.
I cling to the things that are the same. Her longing for touch, for the soothing rhythmic suckling. Her feeds are prolonged for comfort until she drifts off to sleep again. It's impossible to lay her down in her cot, she wakes the moment she touches the sheet, aware that she is no longer cradled by me. Two nights spent in the breastfeeding mum's armchair, the only luxury in this hospital room, spent rocking and nursing her to sleep. Then a kind nurse offered to arrange the bedding so she can safely sleep in my visitor bed. We both got some better quality sleep, only to be told off in the morning by the doctor. I'm too fragile to counter her, and she was gentle so I decided to let it go. Still, I can't help but feel that if it hadn't been for having her in my bed in the first place, she may no longer be with us now.
I trace the pattern of veins on her eyelids, the gentle pattern her hair draws on her head. I look at her with an intensity that is spurred by the fear of losing her, the panic that every look at her may be the last, that she may just slip through my fingers.
Tomorrow she'll be 11 weeks. For most of the 10th week of her life I feared she may never make it to 11 weeks.
She smiles, generously handing it out to everyone. She even giggles. There are no words to describe the preciousness of this smile. I tease it out of her every waking minute.
Her smile is my world.
We are still in hospital for another week so blogging will be suspended while I catch every one of these precious smiles.