In the past week, my daughter Audrey gave birth to twins, our school schedule has been upset and we rearranged bedrooms. All of this has put my son, Rafal, into super sensitive, hyperactive and hypersensitive mode.
On the way to the hospital to visit the new twins, Rafal asked several questions about his beginnings. He wanted to know if he had been to the hospital before, if he were born in a hospital, what I knew about his birth. When I answered some of the questions with, “We just talked about that the other day,” he asked the question again. I reminded him of his cleft-palate surgery which was performed in a hospital close to the one Audrey was in.
We pulled into the into the parking lot and he asked, “Did I get my cleft-palate surgery here?”
“No, Rafal, I just said…” and I explained it again. He was unsure of the whole birth of the twins event and this had put him into hypervigilant mode. When he is in this mode, he often doesn’t hear the answer to the question that he asked. Often he just hears a few of the words. He may hear, “blah blah blah hospital, blah blah blah surgery.”
Since he had no foundation of a wonderful birth story, Audrey being in the hospital scared him to death. He had asked me on the way there, “Can Audrey talk?”
“Yes, Rafal, she is fine, she can walk around and eat.” When she had been in the hospital earlier in the pregnancy for pre-term labor, I took Rafal to visit her when her contractions had calmed down. My son-in-law Adam, patiently explained what all of the equipment was and how the staff had been monitoring the babies. Rafal clasped his hands in front of him and rocked back and forth, staring at the remnants of cranberry sauce in a plastic bowl on Audrey’s dinner tray.
“Is that blood!?” he asked.
“No, it is cranberry sauce,” Audrey said. Adam reassured him that hospitals don’t keep blood lying around, they clean it up right away.
The recent birth event has brought many questions to mind for Rafal and even though he doesn’t often remember the answers, I still try my best to give him all the information I have. Unfortunately, I do not have a heartwarming story to tell him, it is a gut wrenching, heart breaking story that no human being, much less a newborn should ever have to endure.
Rafal was born prematurely in a hospital in Poland, where he was left under the care of doctors and nurses for four months at which point he was transferred to an orphanage. He had no Mom there to comfort him, no Dad to pick him up and swaddle him. When he was poked, prodded and tested, he didn’t have parents to comfort him. The first touch he experienced on a regular basis was infused with pain and he is still MAD about it. Because he doesn’t know who he should be ANGRY at, it is usually me or
other family members.
When the twins had to have some tests run after their birth, Audrey told me that she knew that they would be okay, she would be there to comfort them, but she teared up she thinking of Rafal being alone. I tear up every time I think of it. Yes, I am crying now.
At the dinner table this evening, Rafal hammered the questions at us again. He wanted to know how long he was in the hospital when he was born. When I reminded him that we had just talked about the time frame the other day, I asked him to guess. His guess? THREE YEARS. He was adopted at seventeen months.
I wish I could back in time and change his past. I can’t. I told him after everyone had left the dinner table, “God must love you so much. He wanted you to live and he made sure you had a family.” I can’t change his past, but God can heal his broken heart.
As I watched him at the hospital hold his tiny nephew, a new life, a new hope, as he shares in these new lives, I know he will find healing. As he loves these new babies, he will know that is how he should have been loved. He will see that he has a family that loves him that way, right now.