This is a story about little Timothy, aka “Tiny Tim.”  Jake’s first roommate. In the NICU.

Both brand new newborns, Tiny Tim was literally half the size of Mr. J (well most normal-sized newborns are half the size of mine, born nearly 11 pounds…) but like 16 times as loud.  The nurses joked that this little guy had a Napolean complex or something cause he would just belt it out when he was pissed.  Which was a lot.  We joked that TT & J should exchange info and meet up for drinks together on their 21st birthday, reminiscing about their tales from the NICU.

My husband and I spent almost every waking hour of Jake’s first few days of life with him in the NICU since he couldn’t be with us in my hospital room.  If you’ve never been before, the NICU is a relatively quiet place (except for TT – and Abby when she’d come running in yelling “HI BABY!”)… babies sleeping, worried parents doting on their tiny little ones.  So when we weren’t whispering to each other about who knows what, we just sat and rocked our boy as he slept. Lots of time to just sit, look at all the stuff going on around us and think.

So I kept a wandering eye on TT, wondering why he was there.  Not wanting to put anyone in a position to break any privacy laws, we never asked any questions.  But I felt like he was in pain.  His cry wasn’t like Jake’s hungry cry.  It was a pissed off, my body hurts cry.

On our second day, I realized that we’d not seen his parents.  Maybe TT had been in there awhile and his parents were at work?  He had regular clothes on, not the hospital stuff that our guy was wearing.  Maybe they were from his parents?  Surely, since the two of us had been sitting with our little man for every possible waking second, we would’ve seen them had they come.

By the third morning, I just wanted to cry for him.  And his mama.  Where was she?  New mamas have this physical NEED to be with their littles (or at least I do)… where’s his mama?  Does she miss him?  Does he miss her?  Does he know that she is not here?

It didn’t take long for me to give up hope and start to speculate at what his reality most likely looked like.  We were in a nice hospital – but not in a nice city.  The likely reasons this kid is small and his parents aren’t around probably aren’t good. Perhaps we haven’t seen the parents because they aren’t allowed to see him. Or maybe they didn’t care.  Or maybe they did… but for some reason, couldn’t.

My mom and I were there with Jake when DCF came to take Tiny Tim on our third afternoon.  It was just about the saddest transaction I’ve ever witnessed.  A nice-looking couple came, wearing their state badges, to bring him to some sort of foster situation. It was clear they were just driving him to the next place.  It was all so… business-like.  As though this child was not human but a stack of legal papers.

Did he have any toys?  Was he allowed to take the clothes with him?

I grew a new appreciation (over an already existing appreciation) for foster parents who raise these peanuts as their own. I hope TT finds the perfect family.  I hope he is able to rise above his rough start and is given every chance to live the life he deserves.

It’s just so cruel. Tiny Tim and Jake – in identical isolettes right next to each other. Each through no doing of their own. Neither have any idea of what their situation is.  Lying here with their whole lives in front of them – one with the odds stacked towards him, the other with the odds stacked against.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I hope it isn’t. Perhaps he and Jake will find each other one day when they’re both grown and successful and have that beer.

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I can only hope.

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