I apologize, I have had a few things come up and didn’t have time to get to writing the last two days.
Hope you like this,
Phillis silently watched Sharon, smiling, recognizing that special bond between Mommy and Baby. As she looked at Billy, she knew she was looking at a baby not yet a year old, just lager. He had moved backward again. When she looked at her daughter, she saw a Mommy thoroughly in love with her baby boy. It warmed her heart to see Sharon able to see past his physical age and provide the love and care that this special infant needed.
Regretting the need to interrupt this intimate moment, she asked “Sweety, what do you want me to tell Rick? Should he bring Becky back?” not knowing if Sharon would want Becky to see Billy breastfeeding.
Sharon looked up at her mom. She didn’t know how Becky would take this, but she definitely wanted her to see her brother before the night fell. That was important to her. “Yes, please tell him to bring her back.” she answered.
Before Phillis could move, April spoke up. “She is twelve years old isn’t she?” with an exaggerated look on her face.
Not understanding what April was trying to get across with her expression, Phillis started to answer “Well, n….”
Before she could get the answer out, April said again “She IS twelve years old isn’t she? Because you have to be twelve in order to visit in the PICU.” Emphasizing the one word.
With sudden understanding, Phillis said “Oh! Of course she is.”.
With a smile, April replied “I thought she was, but hospital policy you know, I had to ask.” winking at Sharon.
Sharon felt lucky, once again, to have this very special person helping them through this difficult time as she gave her a grateful smile.
Phillis said “I’ll be right back.” and left the room.
April moved toward Sharon and suggested “It might be a good idea to get that bra off, it can’t be comfortable.”.
Sharon winced a bit as she thought about it. “Yeah, good idea.”
April, without hesitation, reached behind her and undid the clasp on her back that held it in place.
As April looked at her, Sharon with resignation told her “Just cut it.”.
With that April pulled the collar of her shirt to one side, pulled her scissors out and cut first one strap, then the other.
Careful not to disturb Billy, she reached under the shirt and pulled the bra free. “That feels better!” she said with a relieved sigh, and looked at the bag hanging from her neck. It was almost empty. It was silly, she knew, but while the contents weren’t from her body, she felt joy in knowing that he was nursing from her to get it.
Rick sat in the waiting area with Becky.
He didn’t know what was happening back in the PICU, Phillis had gone back twenty minutes ago.
Becky had been sitting, quietly reading a book she had brought. She didn’t know what to expect when she saw him, but she hoped Billy was alright. The last time she’d seen him, he’d been carried from the house by her aunt and her mom.
Dr. Richardson was walking up the hall toward the PICU doors when he spotted Rick sitting at a table. He veered toward him and said “How are you doing?” offering his hand to Rick.
Rick stood and shook the offered hand. “Doing OK. How are things back there?” he asked.
“Well, we’ve taken a couple more steps back ward from what I’ve seen on the monitor.” he answered, purposely keeping his response vague having noticed Becky.
“We kind of expected that ,didn’t we?” Rick asked.
Peter grinned and replied “Yes we did.” letting Rick know that things were still under control.
Turning, Rick put his hand on Becky’s shoulder, and introduced Peter. “Pumpkin, this is Dr. Richardson, Billy’s doctor. He’s been doing a really great job of taking care of your brother.” with a smile.
Becky put her book down, stood up and took Peter’s offered hand. “Hi, I’m Becky, Billy’s older sister. It’s nice to meet you Dr. Richardson.” she said shaking his hand.
“You can call me Peter, Becky.” he told her.
“Mr. Peter.” Rick added with a look that told her clearly that this was not an option.
“Mr. Peter, how’s my little brother?” she asked with concern on her face.
“Well, he’s had surgery, but right now he’s snuggling with Mommy.” he told her.
The image of holding Billy while she gave him his ba-ba came into her mind and she smiled. “Will I be able to hold him? I did it yesterday and gave him hi ba-ba and he liked that.” she said.
“Hmmm….” Peter sounded. “I think we’ll have to see when you get inside what your mommy thinks. Everybody knows mommy knows best.” he told her with a smile.
Rick gave him a grateful look. He was glad Peter had deferred to Sharon.
Becky smiled back at that kind face. “When will we be able to go see Billy?” she asked.
Phillis came into view at that moment and told her “You’ll be able to go back in just a couple of minutes. Can you sit here quietly for a moment while Daddy and I talk for a moment?”.
“Sure.” Becky answered.
“Thank you Sweety, we’ll be around the corner for just a bit.” her grandmother told her as she motioned Rick to walk with her.
Peter, knowing it would make it harder for curious ears to listen, said “What are you reading, Becky?”.
“Oh, Redwall Mr. Peter.” she answered, looking a bit disappointed.
“And how is Matthias now?” he asked.
With a smile, she exclaimed “You read this?”.
He smiled back. “Of course! It’s a wonderful book!” he declared.
As they continued to discuss the merits of Matthias and the terrible deeds of Cluny the Scourge, Rick followed his mother in law around the corner.
“What’s up Mom?” he asked.
“Well, he’s taken a couple more steps back. The medicine he’s taking really increased his anxiety, and he was refusing his bottle and his binky. Sharon was at her wits end when she tried something I would never have thought of, she nursed Billy.” she explained.
“At her breast?” he asked dumbfounded and immediately blushed as she answered.
“That’s usually how it’s done dear.” Phillis said with a smile.
Thinking about it for a second, he asked “Did it help?”.
“It worked wonders Rick. He’s not crying anymore. What’s more, April brought in a contraption that lets Billy take his Pediasure from a small tube while he’s nursing. I wanted to let you know all of this so when Becky saw it, you weren’t at a loss.” she offered.
“She’s the mommy, that’s her call. I don’t have a problem with this if it helps her comfort him.”
“You are such a good man, Richard Avery!” she said, giving him a hug.
“I wish everyone felt that way.” he replied with a chuckle. “Lets get inside. I want Becky to have some time to be with her brother.”.
Neither one of them wanted to think about the reason for that. As they rounded the corner, Rick smiled as he saw Becky animatedly telling Peter about her book. “He’s a good man.” Rick thought.
About a minute later, Becky was walking into Billy’s hospital room. She stopped, mouth open, eyes wide, having no idea why her mom would have her breast uncovered with Billy attached to it.
Sharon, seeing Becky’s expression, said “Come here Honey.” with a smile. It hadn’t occurred to her that Becky had not seen a nursing baby before.
Phillis, seeing that Becky was still standing still, gently guided her forward until she stood looking down on her little brother with his mouth rhythmically working at Sharon’s nipple.
Becky, still speechless, stood and stared.
“Sweety, this is how some mommies feed their babies.” Sharon started.
Rick thanked God he didn’t have to give this explanation. He wouldn’t want to do that for all the money in the world.
“How?” Becky asked with a mixed expression of curiosity and revulsion.
“Well, when a mommy gets pregnant, and has a baby in her tummy, her breasts start to produce milk. When the baby is born, just like a bottle, the baby nurses on it’s mommy’s breast and gets their milk that way.” Sharon explained.
“Doesn’t it hurt?” Becky asked.
“No Baby, it doesn’t hurt. The other thing it does, is help to calm the baby because he’s able to get very close to mommy, and nursing is soothing for a baby. You probably don’t remember, but you nursed at my breast, and so did you brother up until he was a year old.” she told Becky.
“Yes you did.” Sharon replied with a smile.
“Is he getting milk from you now?” Becky asked fascinated.
“No Honey, not from me, from this tube, see?” as she ran her finger down the tube to where it went into Billy’s mouth. “He’s getting comfort from nursing, the tube is giving him food.”.
“Neat!” Becky said with a smile. The smile disappeared when she noticed his bandaged head. “Is his head alright?” she asked.
“Well, they had to operate on his head and take out what was making him sick.” her mom answered.
“Did it hurt?” she asked with concern.
Peter answered her. “No Becky, it didn’t hurt him, he slept through it.”.
Sharon gave him a grateful look and a smile.
Becky turned to Peter and asked “Will he be alright?”.
This was the hard one for Peter. He hated lying to kids, they always knew when you weren’t telling the truth. He tried to sidestep the issue. “Well, you know how you were all home on Christmas morning?” he asked her
“He was taking his Binky and drinking his ba-ba, and wearing a diaper, right?”
“Was he talking like a baby?”
“When he had his binky he was.”
“But what about when he didn’t have his binky?”
“No, he was talking normal.”
“That’s because he was a nine year old playing at being a baby. Sweety, when he got sick, it made it so he was a baby, inside, here.” he told Becky touching her gently on the temple. "You see, he’s not playing now, he’s become a baby.
That frightened her. With tears in her eyes, she asked “Will he go back?”. Holding him and giving him his bottle was fine when he was still Billy, but the baby she saw laying there in Mommy’s arms didn’t act like him at all.
“Just like Becky to get to the heart of it.” Sharon thought.
“We think so, Honey. We’re giving him medicine to try and make that happen.” he told her, reaching out to wipe her tears from her left cheek with his thumb.
Scared, sensing compassion and strength in this man, she grabbed him in a hug and told him “Make him better!” crying now. “Fix it. Please! Make it better.” she begged.
Not able to keep his tears from falling, “I’m trying Sweetheart, I’m trying with all my heart.” he told her.