Seven weeks prematurely, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we adopted our second daughter.
In the NICU, the environment was caring and protective while also solemn. Everyone is doing the best the can. Because of COVID, only one adult can be with each baby at a time.
My second visit to our daughter Madison, I watched as a young mother wept while touching her fragile 2-pound newborn through the incubator. She cried quietly in her chair while a nurse wrapped an arm around her. She then left quietly. Several minutes later, a tall young man walked in, clearly distraught, and went over to the same incubator. He asked the nurse if his wife had been crying. He then went to 'hold' his small daughter through the arm holes in the incubator, and also wept.
I am grateful that Madison was able to safely come home with us to where we were staying near her hospital. I still remember how our NICU nurse Shelby helped us fasten in the car seat. At that moment, we entered this wonderful new phase of our life.
We have not left the 'house' nor returned home to New York City since the start of the pandemic. The hospital where Madison was born is now a center for COVID cases, and I worry about all the medical professionals who attended to our baby in the NICU, including Shelby. I FaceTime with friends as they salute first responders in NYC, because I want to be part of that. And I still feel the joy of welcoming Madison and her bio parents to our family.