“You are my Sunshine” was always a favorite song of mine. When I was pregnant with Max, I wanted to sing to him so he would recognize my voice and calm to my voice after he was born. I didn’t really know any lullabyes well enough to sing the words so I started singing “You are my Sunshine.” I only knew the chorus and the first verse (kind of), but the first verse seemed applicable:
“The other night as I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms,
But when I woke up, I was mistaken
And I hung my head and I cried.”
It seemed to express the joy and excitement that I felt to meet this child growing inside of me, and my anticipation to hold him as he looked up at me. And after Max was born the song became even more relevant to my emotions. Upon arriving at the children’s hospital NICU, I again wanted to sing to Max to comfort him and assure him of my presence. I longed to hold him so much. My arms ached for him. He was knocked out with narcotics and anti-seizure meds (the only way he would stand the total body cooling), so he didn’t respond, I’m not even sure if he could hear me. But I sang, for him and for me. And as I reached the verse, I sang “held you in my arms,” my voice broke, and the tears came. And there was no stopping them.
Five days later when I finally did get to hold him, the tears started pouring again. This time tears of joy. I was finally holding my baby! Something I’d only dreamed of doing for nine long months.
To this day I can’t hear or sing that song without remembering how I sat on a bar-stool type chair so I was high enough to see into the isolate that held my very sick baby – aching to hold him in my arms. Hoping that everything would be alright, but knowing deep down that it wasn’t.
And now we are making up for lost time. At 18-months, I still hold my son for several hours a day. Unlike any other child his age, Max would like nothing more than to be held in his mother or father’s arms (Grandpa and Grandma work pretty nicely too!) all. day. long. When my back starts screaming, and my patience for holding a baby starts to wane, I try to remind myself: this is special; other moms don’t get this cuddle time. And most of the time when I hear that song, the tears start pouring again, and when the verse starts, I hug my Max a little tighter…because now I can.