Normal (Literary Mama – April 2006)
He lies face down in a glass box, his tiny face glowing golden from the red and yellow lights of the monitor nearby. The neo-natal intensive care unit seems at first to be a peaceful place. The lights are always dimmed. Visitors and employees alike adopt a quiet tone when talking. The machines attached to my son hiccup a gentle beep in time with his heart, often lulling my husband and me into a peaceful daze. Until, that is, the trance is broken with a deafening alarm that signals that someone’s heart is not beating properly. Then a wave of panic erupts across the ward.
During the first few days of our child’s stay in the NICU, this alarm jolted our fight-or-flight response. Each tone caused my stomach to plummet. I found myself gripping the arms of my chair as I frantically tried to get a clear view of my son’s heart and lung monitor…
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