The feeling in the room was peaceful and quiet. Mom was sitting with her back to me, rocking and feeding her (very) tiny infant, and Dad was relaxing on the couch checking emails on his phone. They were happy to have company and intrigued by the idea of what I described as word medicine. Mom instantly asked for HOPE, and Dad brought me a chair so I could sit close to them as I drew.
Walking into such a bubble of serenity is nice, given how stressful a hospital stay can be for many people. I was glad for them that this encounter seemed to be without pain and trauma. But alas, things are not always what they seem.
I asked them to explain what prompted them to give me the word HOPE. Obviously having a premature baby requires a sense of hope that this little infant will have a long and healthy life, but I love to give people an opening to share what’s on their minds. It feeds my inner eye, and it definitely helps me “see" who I am with.
Mom explained that this was their rainbow baby; the term used to describe a baby born after the loss of another one. Five months before this baby was conceived, their previous pregnancy had gone full term to an unexpected stillbirth. Even as I recall this, I can feel the emotional thud of hearing that.
And then I heard something else. As I processed what I could only imagine about going through such a loss, this rainbow baby began making the cutest, most musical little sounds. Her unformed vocal chords were suddenly filling the room with messages that only she understood. Words fail to describe what they did to me, but I tingled with the sense of both babies being in the room. I didn’t say that, but I didn't have to.
When I handed HOPE to Mom, she saw it. She handed it to Dad and he saw it. They said they would frame and hang it in their baby’s room. It would be a constant reminder of the hope they already held in their hearts when I walked into this one.
Hope is born out of the most painful things sometimes. And when it fills the room with the music of its very first sounds, the angels must surely be smiling.
May your 2020 be guided by the sounds of HOPE.